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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Within the last 24 hours I have lost 4 of my 6 chickens. They were completely healthy Saturday morning and by the evening they were very lethargic and I had to carry them to their coop/boxes. At this time all combs were a normal color. In the morning those 4 were dead in the coop with legs stretched out behind them. Lots of diarrhea. 3 of the dead hens were 9 months old and 1 was about 2. All healthy otherwise and their coop is super clean/dry. They have grit, protein, calcium supplements, and can free range for greens.
My other 2, 2 year old hens were pretty sickly today and I gave them water and probiotics via a dropper. I fear they may also pass tonight. I also have 4 ducks and they seem unaffected.
I have no idea what’s going on and would love any advice. Thanks in advance, it’s never easy to lose your girls.
 

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No, it never is. No matter why you lose them.

For the entire flock to be affected in such a short time that sounds like poison of some sort. The only way to know for certain is to contact the state and have a necropsy done.

While your girls didn't have botulism you can try a molasses flush with the remaining girls to see if that helps. Here is a link about other flushes and how to use them. Internal Flushes For Chickens
 

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Did you check all the chickens for lice and mites?
Check for any standing puddles that look off?
Check to make sure they didn't ear anything bad?
Is the feed fresh ?
Birds are known to hide illness very well. It's possible they have been sick for a while
Sounds like either botulism or poisoning of some sort. Or mareks. You should have some of them tested for poisoning and mareks to be sure
 

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Sudden death can occur with many diseases. It could be bacterial, like acute fowl cholera, fowl typhoid, or St. Anthony's fire. But viral diseases like Newcastle Disease can also result in sudden death without the sign of any clinical symptoms. What did the droppings look like? Was it yellowish diarrhea?

Sorry for your losses. I hope the two other birds are recovering well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the advice everyone. Unfortunately the two other birds passed the next night. I had a necropsy performed on two of the birds and it came back totally negative for any ailments. No parasites, no mites, no organ issues, no tumors, and plenty of muscle and fat. The vet and I are both stumped as to what happened. The chickens did seem to have diarrhea before they died. That was truly the only symptom. When the chickens started to appear sick, they were very very tired/lethargic. Sleeping wherever they were placed. My ducks seem to be doing well, eating and drinking like normal. The ducks do seem a little tired too, though they are probably a little stressed by the whole ordeal.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear this, Sarah. Unfortunately, there are so many possible causes of sudden death. It's always heartbreaking when it wipes out an entire flock. It's tricky to place new birds in the coop if you don't know what is happening. There might be some parasites left. Some virulent viral diseases like Newcastle Disease also affect ducks. Newcastle disease is known to cause sudden deaths but is very rare in the US. Did you see any blood in the droppings?
 

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Blood tests can test for contagious diseases. Your vet should have advised you to send the other birds to the state for contagious disease testing.

I'm so sorry you lost your flock.

Keep the ducks away from the chicken coop and area.

Destroy all chicken feedes and bowls, throw out the chicken food, remove all chicken bedding and nest box bedding and either burn it all or bag it and dispose of it properly.

Get F10 disinfectant and disinfectant the entire coop.

Do not get any more chickens for at least a year.

Did you buy all these chickens from someone or buy any of them or did you raise then from babies?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I had had the chickens for about 7 months. They previously belonged to a student of mine. The vet didn't seem to think there was any risk of bird flu, especially since the ducks seem okay. I completed emptied and disinfected the coop and waterers and threw out all food. Hopefully the ducks stay healthy and I can raise some new chicks next year.
 
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