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20 chickens die overnight

ssgirl7855ssgirl7855 Junior Member
edited August 2009 in Poultry Health and Welfare
I am looking for someone with decent knowledge in raising chickens to help me with this one... I have been raising chickens and ducks for over 15 years and I have never seen anything like this before.

About 3 months ago I purchased 21 assorted breed chicks from Tractor Supply Co. All were happy healthy pullets who never had any signs of sickness at all. Two days ago, I woke up to find 20 of them dead in my yard with only one left alive under a tree; barely breathing and unable to stand. All of them were scattered around like they had died suddenly on the spot-some on their sides, some curled up in a ball next to each other, and some face first in the dirt. No markings or signs of injury were found on any of them. It was the most shocking thing I have ever seen.

Now the strange part: I have 5 other older chickens and 2 ducks kept in the same yard, but all of them are fine. They are all fed the same feed and drink the same water. This is why I do not believe it was bad feed, or anything in the water since the other chickens and ducks were unaffected.

The only difference between my pullets and the other chickens is the area in which they sleep. But during the day, they are all together. All are kept in a secure fenced area as well, so I am sure it was not an animal that killed them. Plus as I mentioned before, none had any injuries on them.

The one that survived I am keeping in a box on my porch to monitor. She does not have any function in her legs or body, and can only lay on her side. She cannot move except to eat and drink slowly, and occasionally kicks her legs. However, she seems to be getting better slowly, which is why I am worried that this may be a horrible disease of some sort.

To add to the worry, my brother found two dead birds earlier this week in my yard while cutting the grass.

So please, I am in desperate need of some help from someone who has maybe heard of this happening before or knows of any diseases that could possibly wipe out a whole flock of perfectly happy, friendly chickens in one night. Its the strangest thing I have ever seen in my life and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    West Nile virus?
  • edited July 2009
    Did anything unusaul happen that night - thunderstorm etc. Could they have died from fright. Could they have been poisoned by something?I did read somewhere that someone's chickens may have been poisoned by a toad getting into their water. Is this a possibility? I'm fairly new to chicken keeping so i'm no expert just trying some suggestions. Hope you work out a reason it must be very worrying not knowing. Good luck
  • ashgroveinnashgroveinn Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    Keep us posted. Keep this thread live, we can all learn something here. Maybe?
  • flintstoneflintstone Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    ssgirl7855 wrote:
    I am looking for someone with decent knowledge in raising chickens to help me with this one... I have been raising chickens and ducks for over 15 years and I have never seen anything like this before.

    About 3 months ago I purchased 21 assorted breed chicks from Tractor Supply Co. All were happy healthy pullets who never had any signs of sickness at all. Two days ago, I woke up to find 20 of them dead in my yard with only one left alive under a tree; barely breathing and unable to stand. All of them were scattered around like they had died suddenly on the spot-some on their sides, some curled up in a ball next to each other, and some face first in the dirt. No markings or signs of injury were found on any of them. It was the most shocking thing I have ever seen.

    Now the strange part: I have 5 other older chickens and 2 ducks kept in the same yard, but all of them are fine. They are all fed the same feed and drink the same water. This is why I do not believe it was bad feed, or anything in the water since the other chickens and ducks were unaffected.

    The only difference between my pullets and the other chickens is the area in which they sleep. But during the day, they are all together. All are kept in a secure fenced area as well, so I am sure it was not an animal that killed them. Plus as I mentioned before, none had any injuries on them.

    The one that survived I am keeping in a box on my porch to monitor. She does not have any function in her legs or body, and can only lay on her side. She cannot move except to eat and drink slowly, and occasionally kicks her legs. However, she seems to be getting better slowly, which is why I am worried that this may be a horrible disease of some sort.

    To add to the worry, my brother found two dead birds earlier this week in my yard while cutting the grass.

    So please, I am in desperate need of some help from someone who has maybe heard of this happening before or knows of any diseases that could possibly wipe out a whole flock of perfectly happy, friendly chickens in one night. Its the strangest thing I have ever seen in my life and any help would be greatly appreciated.
    I had a similiar experience some 10 years ago. I bought a pair of Indian game birds Healthy..... not a problem and some time later I had a huge amount of birds dead on the floor of the coop. I could not work it out but on closer inspection of the birds I had bought in early in the year I noticed that their heads were swollen. The area around the beaks was quite swollen and red. The eyes were running. I lost the male game bird but the hen survived. In those days I had around 250 - 300 birds and lost 50% of them. I never seemed to recover from the problem and continued to have deaths. I did not attend a vet and should have I guess. But in this less I would say anything you bring in should be left on its own in a cage for at least a month. I did all of this and no nothing else came in but I did hve a few die from the first disease I brought in and that was obvious.
  • randyNCrandyNC Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    Did you happen to have an electrical storm? I knew of a farmer who lost over 10 cows as they went for cover under a tree during a storm and they all got electricuted. The current goes down the tree and than up out of the ground and grounds on the animal. I don't know what you did with the ones already dead but if this last one dies I would open it up to see if it looks to have some fried organs. If at all possible I would open one of the dead ones as they got it good if that is the case. For chickens it wouldn't take much current. I think something like this happening sounds more realistic than all dying in one day of a disease.

    OR, Did you have these chickens anywhere near there was poison out? Chickens will eat mice and if mice ate poison, the chickens will die also. They were fine before this, right?

    Hope you get it figured out as mysteries can drive you crazy not knowing.
  • ssgirl7855ssgirl7855 Junior Member
    edited July 2009
    Thanks for all your help so far...

    There was no storm or anything the night they died, and unfortunately the place we took the dead chickens to be examined had to kill the last surviving one.

    However, I will have the results from the agricultural center in a few days so this will no longer be a mystery.

    Once again, thank you for all your help and interest in my situation. Check back on this thread in a few days.
  • randyNCrandyNC Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    ssgirl, I hope you share the results with us when the testing is done. So, so sorry this happened.
  • flintstoneflintstone Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    randyNC wrote:
    ssgirl, I hope you share the results with us when the testing is done. So, so sorry this happened.
    I would also like to know the results for my own interest as I have experience such a loss as well. very unexpalined
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    edited July 2009
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  • from field to forkfrom field to fork Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    Sandman wrote:
    West Nile virus?

    Not heard about this one for chickens Sandman - horses yes. Do you have any other info on it?
  • from field to forkfrom field to fork Senior Member
    edited July 2009
    What was the diagnosis ssgirl?
  • ssgirl7855ssgirl7855 Junior Member
    edited July 2009
    It will be another week before positive results, but so far I am told it appears to be a poisoning, but from what is not determined yet. More research and tests are being conducted on the chickens and I will post again when I have the final word.
    Thank you everyone for your concerns and wishes,
    Stefani
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    edited August 2009
    Stefani

    Did you ever find out what happened to your birds?
  • randyNCrandyNC Senior Member
    edited August 2009
    What were the results of the testing, does anyone know. This could be educational for us all to know what caused the fate of those chooks. :confused:
  • Have any results from the testing been posted?
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