Why our chooks are dying?

by Katrina Logan
(Brisbane, Australia)


Why our chooks are dying?: Over the past few weeks our chooks (chickens) have been dying. Their eyes become closed over, they become listless and eventually die.

We have had these chooks since Jan - they are a mix of Plymouth Rock, Aracauna, Rhode Island Red, Sussex and Wyandotte.

(This is the first time we have had these breeds - our last batch of chooks and roosters - 23 in total were killed by someone’s dog!) So we replaced them with fancier breeds.

One of the Aracaunas has an engorged throat just under her beak. We have had hens and roosters for over 4 years in this large pen and with the exception of the dog attack we have never lost hens like this before.
Hoping you can help :-)

So sorry to hear this. What you have described is not something I would connect with these breeds. Other than the Wyandottes I’ve had hearty healthy chickens of each breed you’ve mentioned.

(You possibly have Americaunas, as Aracaunas are not a very common/popular breed.)

The lump in the throat sounds like a backed up crop or craw. By feeling the neck and crop area you should be able to tell if it feels lumpy like soaked feed.

There may be something wrong with the feed, or possibly your chicken gorged herself on dry crumbles or pellets or seed and didn’t drink enough water to completely liquefy the contents of her crop.

She could have swallowed something that got caught in her throat, so I would check and see if it can loosen.

If a chicken goes too long being unable to digest its crop contents a condition called “sour crop” can start.

If the crop contents grow too much bacteria, the bacteria can actually eat through the crop lining and skin.

This toxic clog in the chicken’s digestion will stop nutrients being absorbed and cause malnutrition, dehydration, weakness and death.

If this is the problem, encouraging much warm water with about 1 tbsp cider vinegar per ½ cu water, can help moisturize and loosen the contents and kill some of the bacteria.

Gently massage the crop and throat mass to loosen it. If crop contents have a rotten smell it’s best to gently remove it through the chicken’s mouth, once the mass is softened.

Digesting this toxic stuff will be bad for the chicken.

Holding the chicken by the legs, upside down, and milking out the crop contents will help cure the sour crop condition.

Follow by adding cider vinegar, about 4 tablspoons per pint, to their drinking water for a couple of days. Feed well soaked feed and add a pro biotic product or live culture yogurt for a few days.

Make sure your chickens have access to vegetation as the fiber will help clean out their digestive system. Giving fruits like apples and berries can perk them up with the sugar contents and aid digestion.

You should also get a vitamin/electrolyte product to help energize, replace vitamins lost, and rehydrade them.

I’m not sure how old these birds are, but to lose several in such a short time, could mean there is disease. You might pay a visit to the supplier and ask some questions.

If you can get a sample of the droppings to a vet, a blood test done, or an exam of one of the birds that died, this will tell you of there is a specific disease that you can treat for.

This has got to be beyond frustrating. I wish I could say exactly what has caused this. I’m so sorry.

Please check your feed for any signs of contamination by rodents or possible water damage and spoiling.

I would also check around any areas your chickens have access to for anything toxic they might have gotten in to.

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Chooks are fine now :-)
by: Anonymous

Hi Brad,
Thank you for your feedback.
We managed to get our hands on some Oxy-Mav.B and have diluted this in the chooks drinking water and have now got on top of whatever was making the chooks sick...

Now we are just waiting for the sun to shine so we can spray their pens, nesting boxes etc with chlorine.

An old farm guy told me to get oxy-mav.b and then treat everything with chlorine :-)

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