Suddenly dead chicken

by Debbie
(Suffolk England)

Question

Suddenly dead chicken: I have three chickens. Everything has been fine until yesterday. A week ago I fumigated their house with total mite kill.

Could this have anything to do with it?? I followed the instructions to the letter.

Yesterday one of the chickens didn't want to eat or get up. I came in and read and thought she might be egg bound so I bought her in stood her in hot water to steam her vent, rubbed round the vent with olive oil and gave her syringes of water and olive oil mixed.

This had no effect, but she did seem thirsty and wanted to keep drinking water. I kept her isolated and fed her natural yogurt mixed with aspirin as suggested by one site.

She recovered slightly, but this morning will not go out. So I fed her again the same concoction and will keep a close eye on her. The second chicken, I opened the coop this morning and she had mucus dripping from her beak and her eyes closed on the perch.

While I came in to read she died and I put her body in a plastic bag. What should I do and what has happened?

They have all been apparently healthy chooks until yesterday. The 3rd chook is wandering about on her own, what should I do with her?

Answer
Suddenly dead chicken: Anytime you use pesticides in a human or animal environment, there is a risk of exposure to toxins.

I’m so sorry this has happened. I’m sure you thought you were doing the best thing and may have accidentally exposed your flock to something harmful.

I can’t be sure if this is the problem, but since this is the event that changed in their environment, it very likely could be what caused the deaths.

To keep this mite treatment from harming your last hen, I would suggest cleaning out the coop and airing it out well.

They may have eaten traces of the mite treatment pecking through the floor litter or could have inhaled too much of the toxin from the environment.

Hopefully your last hen didn’t receive lethal doses of the toxin in the product.

In the future you should find a different product that is less of a risk, possibly opting for something safe to use on the chickens and in the environment, possibly a pyrethrin spray.

I sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth in the fresh floor litter to help with mite control.

It is not toxic, can dehydrate the eggs and larvae of parasites, can actually help with good digestion, mineral supplementation, and kill internal parasites as well.

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Sudden death in poultry

Question
Sudden death in poultry: I discovered my chickens discharge and watery feces. This happens often and they also have an inability to eat well which results in sudden death. What medication can I use to cure this?

Answer
It sounds like you have something very contagious in your chicken’s environment. To find the right treatment you need to know exactly what the problem is.

You could take a sample of the feces to a veterinarian, to see if there is some specific disease going on.

At that point they will be able to tell you the best treatment. Different antibiotics do different things, so choosing the wrong one will be a waste of money.

I hope you don’t lose any more chickens. If you plan to replace the ones you’ve lost you really need to find out what is causing this.

You wouldn’t want to expose anymore chickens to the area these sick chickens have been in and run the risk of losing them, too.


Many chicken diseases spread through feces, so a thorough cleaning of the coop, nests and areas they spend a lot of time in, is important before introducing any new chickens.

Removing all dirty floor litter and nesting and spraying surfaces with diluted bleach can kill most diseases and even some parasite eggs.

I would suggest giving your remaining chickens a good dose of probiotics. You can buy this at most feed stores.

Sometimes a good bacteria can balance out their system and stop the diarrhea. Severe diarrhea causes dehydration and malnutrition that results in weakness, lack of appetite, and can begin the dying process.

There are vitamin/electrolyte products at most feed stores, which can perk them up. Some of those contain pro biotics, too.

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