Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
Have you observed them in the days before they die? Are they kind of hunched with their tails drooping and not moving around a lot? If so there are 2 possibilities and there is nothing you can do to remedy either one, they are either egg bound or have had an egg break inside them. If this isn't the case they are just getting sick & dieing there is a product you can get at your feed store called Sulmet you add it to the drinking water, it's an antibacterial. This is what we use when we have any sick birds, if they are too sick it might not help that bird but it will keep the rest from getting too sick & dieing. This isn't something we use on a regular basis like vitamins we only use it if there is an obviously sick bird. We also have a small autofeeder that we keep oyster shells in so that they have ready access to a constant supply of calcium to keep the egg shells from getting soft or rubbery.
Thanks Karen for the reply,
Well currently the one that is sick is a Bantom and she just can't walk, she acts drunk. Comb is not discolored tail not dropped but if you touch her she falls to the side. The ones before all had discolored combs and the tails were dropped. This one is just different. I will get some of that Sulmet though, thank you. Any clue why she might be acting this way? all she does is sit in the yard. I picked her up and took her to the water and food at lunch and she ate and drank.
I honestly have no idea what it could be, we've had a couple that have done that and we brought them inside and for a few days got them to drink the water with the Sulmet in it one revived one was in worse shape and didn't the only other time we had that happen was half of the dozen chicks we had this spring we almost lost when they couldn't tolerate the chick starter I was feeding, 6 were doing wonderful on it the other 6 got to the point they stopped growing and couldn't walk without tipping over, I switched brands of chick starter and once they started doing a little better we added a little of the Sulmet to the water and they came right back into it and started growing just like the others - that is until what ever was preying on our birds got all but 1.
What do their living conditions look like? Is there bare dirt everywhere? Do you move them to a new area often? What is their winter housing? I would suggest deep bedding for winter housing. I just did a podcast on this subject today, check it out if you want: http://agriculturalinsights.com/archives/172 . Also, try to add some Diatomaceous Earth to their feed. This acts as a wormer, that is NON-TOXIC. Make sure you get food grade DE, if you do, you could eat it. They mix it with grain to prevent it from being ruined by bugs/pests. The DE and proper winter housing/rotation to new areas should improve the health of your chickens in no time. Please let me know if this works for you, good luck!
You can get DE on amazon.com or you can probably get it a local feed supply store. DE saved my chickens this summer, give it a try =D
We will look into the DE. I currently have a dirt floor in an open coop with nothing but laying boxes and they roam around the yard all day. We have a fenced in back yard and they just stay out. Sometimes they escape to the front yard but not much. The coop doesn't have a roof over it but in a few places. I started wondering if the ground getting wet with the poop would cause them to get sick? They roost in the pin and eat out of the hanging containers but thats about it. What are your thoughts?
I know that is probably an obvious one, but did you check their feet. Could there be an infection?
Good luck. Our just got attacked by a hawk and is recovering. It is sad to see them sick
She is pooping still, i haven't checked the poop though but is pooping regularly. She eats and drinks also. I haven't checked her feet though. She can't even stand and for some reason I never thought to look. Sorry to hear that yours got attacked by a hawk Sonja. My wife's families cat had been attacked years back by a hawk and I know how damaging they can be.
Check the feet then. We had some cases of bumble foot, which looks like a black thickened scap on their feet. It will kill them if not treated. The feet could be swollen and hot. I think antibiotics are the only way to go in that case. Surprisingly, our hen is still alive. She has a huge hole in her neck, but no major arteries were hit and it scapped over. She is eating and drinking and laying eggs. They are some tough birds. Good luck for yours.
The most likely reason your having these problems is due to their exposed dirt chicken run. Put down some straw, and keep laying more straw on top of it once the previous layer of straw has been soiled by the chickens. The straw, which is basically carbon at this point, will absorb and stabilize the pee/poop and a bacterial breakdown will start to occur, which will neutralize any harmful bacteria. You are basically composting their poop using this deep bedding method. The bacterial breakdown also releases heat, keep your hens warm! DE and this will hopefully fix your problem.
Hey Thanks, thats a great idea, I had wondered what might help with that and the straw is a great idea. I did check her feet like previously suggested and there are no sores on her feet or legs. It's like she can't use them very well but she can move them. Its really odd.