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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I had another chicken die. The first one died from sour crop, I'm pretty sure. This one died this morning. There seemed to be nothing wrong with her. She is the lowest of the hen pecking order. Her crop was fine, she was fine yesterday, and her vent was clean. I did notice the coop was pretty strong smelling. Could that have caused her death?
 

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Probably not or there would be plenty of dead chickens all over the world from smelly coops.

It would be helpful if you could tell us the ages of the birds, how much and what you feed, what they live in, how you manage their health, what breeds you have, have you given medicines lately, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I feed them lots of kitchen scraps. I make my own feed. I have to be wheat free due to a severe allergy. So I blend corn, oats, buckwheat, soy, flax, multi vitamins, as well as oyster shell and grit. I also give them the weeds and stuff from my garden.
They are pullets. Got them in February. My first chicken died a couple months ago. She laid an egg and got into the garden. At that point they didn't have enough grit. Her crop got swollen and she started throwing up. Died the next day.

This chicken's vent, crop, and other body parts seemed fine. All the poop I've seen is healthy. But this chicken was definitely the bottom of the pecking order. My hubby said she was fine yesterday morning and had laid an egg. But she was found a couple hours later on her back a couple feet from her egg.

My coop is well ventilated. All the other chickens seem fine. I don't see any signs of rodents either. Maybe they haven't discovered my coop yet.
 

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Never heard of such a thing in chickens so young and also producing. The feed doesn't sound bad, but I wouldn't add the grit or OS but offer them free choice on the side.

Usually if you find one on their back they call it flip...another word for cardiac arrest in the chicken world. Was her comb very purple? Were there blood clots near her heart and in the lungs?

The soy and flax may be providing too much protein in the diet if not fed in moderation, so not sure of your feed amounts on those. Was there a lot of fat near the vent and around the organs?

Giving weeds from the garden and cut grass can pose a problem for birds who are starved for greens...they will eat bits that are too large and impact their crops or eat things they would normally leave alone if they had a choice. But, you've indicated that she didn't have an impacted crop.

Having two such deaths in such a short time would indicate a husbandry problem and not a breed or bird problem since these birds are mature but still very young, so the feed mix may be the likely source of the difficulty if there are imbalances in it that are causing organ failure.

What are your protein percentages in the feed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
50lb corn, 40lb oats, 10lb buckwheat in 1 can. Then 50lb soy and 15-17lb flax in the second can. We mix 3 parts grain to 1 part protein mix. Well mixed. Grit and shell free feed. And the vitamins go in the water. My husband and I researched quite extensively and he did the math so it's about 18% protein.

She wasn't fat. She might've been a bit skinny for her size. She was bullied some by the others. The shells of the eggs from the hens that are laying are hard, nicely shaped. The yokes are the most beautiful orange. I had 1 hen go broody on me even. She laid 17 eggs in my raspberries. :0) but not all my hens are laying yet.
 

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I would be concerned with the feed mixture. Where did you get your recipe ? I see you said you researched but was it from reputability sources ? Does your flock have access to the ground ? I'm not understanding why one would have died after getting into the garden. Grit is not something you have to provide, they get it themselves from the ground. What kind of vitamins are you giving and the amounts. If you figured out you are giving 18% protein are you positive they are getting the other nutrients they need in the amounts they need. I'm not trying to dog you, I'm just trying to help figure out the possible problem. Something is occurring since you've had two young birds pass.
 

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50lb corn, 40lb oats, 10lb buckwheat in 1 can. Then 50lb soy and 15-17lb flax in the second can. We mix 3 parts grain to 1 part protein mix. Well mixed. Grit and shell free feed. And the vitamins go in the water. My husband and I researched quite extensively and he did the math so it's about 18% protein.

She wasn't fat. She might've been a bit skinny for her size. She was bullied some by the others. The shells of the eggs from the hens that are laying are hard, nicely shaped. The yokes are the most beautiful orange. I had 1 hen go broody on me even. She laid 17 eggs in my raspberries. :0) but not all my hens are laying yet.
If my calculations are right..and they could be wrong...and if you are mixing equal parts of each grain in the 2/3 ration and equal parts high pro grains in the 1/3 ration, your mix looks to have 25.5% crude/total proteins.

At least..according to this chart:

Protein content in chicken feed ingredients

So you want to make a homemade starter/grower feed or a homemade layer feed, but you want to be able to mix and match some of the ingredients in a similar category. For example, you'd like to swap oats for wheat or fish meal for soybeans. How do you know how much protein the finished feed contains?

The chart below lists the percent protein in each of the main ingredients of chicken feed:

Ingredient
Percent protein
Dried fish flakes
76
Dried liver
76
Dried earthworms
76
Duckweed
50
Torula yeast
50
Brewers yeast
39
Soybeans (dry roasted)
37
Flaxseed
37
Alfalfa seed
35
Beef, lean
28
Earthworms
28
Fish
28
Sunflower seeds
26.3
Wheat germ
25
Peas and beans, dried
24.5
Sesame seed
19.3
Soybeans (boiled)
17
Wheat bran and/or middlings
16.6
Oats, whole
14
Rice polish
12.8
Rye
12.5
Wheat
12.5
Barley
12.3
Oats
12
Corn
9
Millet
9
Milo
9
Rice, brown
7.5
Milk
3
Whey
29 - 89

It's easy to determine the percent protein of your finished feed using this chart. For a 100 pound recipe, just multiply the percent protein of each ingredient (as a decimal) by the pounds of that ingredient in your recipe. For example, if you add 30 pounds of oats you would multiply by 0.14 and come up with 4.2. Add up the resulting numbers for each ingredient, and you have the percent protein of that batch of chicken feed.
Mixing your own feeds can be a tricky business. I never feed more than 16% protein and that only during peak laying months between Mar-June. After that I cut protein way down by mixing in a much lower protein grain that provides more fiber and less proteins.

Chickens cannot handle high protein for very long before it affects their livers, hearts and kidneys. If any one of these organs are diseased it wouldn't necessarily result in fat bird but one that could be even be skinny or average.

Your bird sounds like she died from heart failure and you hear of that symptom of birds found lying on their backs when dealing with people who feed high protein feeds to meat birds.

You may want to really reconsider your protein amounts in that mix...unless, of course, you want more dead birds.
 
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