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Sadness..Sadness!

Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

A lot has happened since we last talked. Ive had several Family issues that have caused me to be on the road a lot. I leave before daylight and get home after dark. My poor chickens hardly ever see me during the day. All were doing so well and I had justed"weaned" the youngest to free ranging during the day and cooped during the night.
Friday a week ago was my monthly drive down to help my Parents , to help with my Dad. I rushed home from work to feed everyone and make sure they were penned for the weekend. Everything was good and secure.
I returned late Sunday evening to find that 2 of my youngest Silkies were running loose, and when I checked their pen I found one baby dead in their house and another baby out behind the pen just laying on the ground on its back dead. These were 4 month olds and plenty big enough that they could not have gotten through the chain link fence on their own ....so Im still wondering how they got out and what killed them. I took the last two babies and put them back into the large brooder run.
Monday morning I left everyone in their pens,since it was still dark, and went to work. When I came home I found Mae (West) my beautiful Serama Hen dead in her cage . more..................

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Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

.......Baby Serama "Puppy", who had been very healthy and staying very close to her Mama "Sweet Tater", was now acting very strange. She was all huddled up and wouldnt follow her mama. This photo was taken just a couple of days before and she was perfectly fine. I removed her and put her into a brooder aquarium under warming lights. She died that night.
I failed to mention that the temperature had dropped almost 20 degrees and it had been raining for 4 days, since thursday before.
Tuesday came with no rain , so I decided to go to work a little later so I could check the pens and let everyone free range in the sun. Ever one was so happy to leave their pens.............

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Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

Tues afternoon....found Brullee (pictured) , Marble (both Serama hens) and Vera my 5 month old Millefluer Cochin all dead and one of the baby Silkies (still in the brooder pen)that I had rescued two days before.
All were just laying on their backs in different places round the yard, as if they had just fallen over and died. No trauma , no apparent illness, no nothing.

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Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

So... now Im back down to Chicopea Serama, who is infertile due to her size and age. and of course you also see Onyx the Serama over Cochin roo. and................

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Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

Sweet Tater (minus little Puppy) who is a good mom....

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Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

Calico Millie, who is so tiny that she will also be infertile, and JoJo My tiny Serama Cochin Roo.........

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Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

I still have "Copperjack", "Carrot", "Speckles", and "LittleMan", all Serama Roos. Only one breeder hen to all those roos......(sigh).......Im right back where I started!!!!
After 3 years of trying to get going with Seramas and get show stock started I have only one little girl to show now for all my efforts. "Calico"
I still have my Lavender Splash Cochin Hen and two black over blue Roos.
Two pair of Modern games
A pair of BCMarans
Two Buff Orpington Hens
3 mixed breed LF hens
3 Silkie Hens and 1 roo
1 Huge LF Dark Brahma Roo "Wambli"
1 Dark Brahma Bantam Hen
So I still have chickens but Im nervous about what will happen next!!

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Bridgewater, ME

Do you have any idea as to what happened to them?Some sort of illness

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Oh Eufaula, I'm so sorry. What a heartbreaker. All I can think is toxin. Was there anything new in their lives? Different feed, or a new bag? Fertilizer or yard chemicals? I'm sorry I have no more helpful ideas, it's just so sad. You worked so hard, and they're just gone.
Wish I could help.

Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

Good morning Guys! No they were recieving the same feed from the same bags. they were roaming and cooped up in the same areas too! The only fifference was the temp and the rain. I am going to assume the little guys just couldnt hack the sudden change in the temps.
I just cant for the life of me think of any other thing. These babies were running around here all Summer long and have been fine until last weekend!

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Wonder if I will have trouble. Same temp scenario here :(. I don't have Seramas, but there are two young Silkies (which are probably mixes from their combs) I'll check on. They are in a coop with some standard Cochins, so may be warm enough....:)
40's this am, will be 80s later on.

Richmond, TX

How tragic! I never would have thought that they could be killed by a mere weather change when they were so healthy. Is it possible that some neighboring farm had been spraying? Probably not at this time of year...anyway I hope the plague has ended. I'm so sorry!

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

what concerns me is the babies being out...... are you sure no one is coming by and doing something to them?? Someone that may know your comings and goings???
I am so sorry this has happened. It breaks my heart to hear

This message was edited Oct 16, 2011 8:01 AM

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

I assume you checked them over for marks (bites etc. ) that could have killed them. If nothing, then either they got into something that they ate----weeds or flower head gone to seed that turned poisenous (sp?), an unfriendly neighbor, or person.

I don't think lower temperatue would do it. My daughter raises hens for eggs and have a rooster that always roam free. This is WY and temp have already dipped to freezing with no harm to the animals.

It is sad to have something like that happen. Especially difficult when you don't know why it happened. You can't fix what you don't know. I hope you will figure it out.

Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

The possibility of someone coming when Im gone is very possible. I never have any trouble when Im home or at work becouse my Daughter is with me for a while. but last weekend she and I both were gone.
Yes I have pondered and tried to think on what and how the silkies got out , or scared them enough for them to scatter the way they obviously did. I did however observe a tee-tiny chihuahua (grown) in my driveway as I came home Sunday evening. Small enough to get under the gate of the pen???? Who knows, he may have thought the chickens were play toys and just chased and played them to death. I just dont know! No marks or blood on them. Just the strange way of finding them all laying on their backs , even the baby Serama in the brooder.
No spraying , I would know cause Im very sensitive to chemicals. Im just hoping no one tried feeding them something. None of the survivors are sick or showing any strange behavior. Hopefully the disasters are over . But there will be someone here to watch out for them from now on!!

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

So sorry for your losses. I know it must be so heartbreaking.

(Zone 6b)



As far as the weather temps, I know certain animals are more sensitive than others, but that many? I lost a rabbit for no reason once when a hard cold front came in. A lady that raises rabbits says those fronts often kill rabbits for some reason.

That certainly seems odd though.

Were they all free ranging when they were found dead?

This message was edited Oct 16, 2011 5:46 PM

Dahlonega, GA

I haven't checked this forum for awhile . Wish I could help , but can't . Sorry for the chicks and you . When it rains , it pours , it seems .

Mint Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

Sorry to hear about you chickens Eufaula. I hope we help you get it figured out.

I would suspect the little dog. My own dog got one of my own chickens and didn't leave an obvious mark...When I gutted it and put it in the freezer that is when I noticed that there were internal injuries. It looked like the liver (or gizzard - not sure which) was split open and then it bled to death inside the stomach cavity. My dog is a retriever so I think there should have been something outwardly that would have shown but there was nothing obvious. There was a few small punctures after I de-feathered, but nothing outwardly that would have told me what happened when all the feathers were still there. My roos make more a mess of the girls than my dog did. This chicken was the only one out at the time and both my dogs got out and chased it around until they caught it and killed it. He just let go after it was dead. He then ran down to the pond and drank some water like nothing ever happened. So I think he thought it was a play thing and just moved on after there was no more commotion.

That is just my guess.

Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

Oh my , so many losses and it keeps happening over and over....would much rather have an idea what is occurring. I could handle a disease or a predator, I can figure what steps to take, but this Mystery is just too much.
the thought that some human is releasing my babies , that is the one thing that bothers me . How did they get out of their pens??? and how did the gates get shut back. I guess I'll have to start padlocking everything and carrying a key ring!
Im just ranting now.... Im going to stick with the first impression and say it was the rain and temperature, until I know better. " sigh"

Dahlonega, GA

I couldn't remember her name , so went back and found Millie . So happy she wasn't one of the unfortunate . I really like her .

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

When needed, I use combination locks. Easier for me than remembering to bring keys....

Richmond, TX

I have never been able to work combination locks; it takes me two or three tries to get them to open - always! Now I'm beginning to have the same problem with zippers...
I certainly hope you can solve the mystery.

Mint Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

Maybe you can get one of these type of locks...

http://www.masterlock.com/apps/utilities/img.jsp?i=MLCOM_PRODUCT_1534D_black.jpg&w=600&u=1&cs=1&t=p

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Quote from Eufaula :
Im going to stick with the first impression and say it was the rain and temperature, until I know better. " sigh"


Rain can't open pens. It has to be a person who opens the pens and releases the hens, then give them poision since no marks on them. Do you have anyone complaining about the hens. How about footprints.

Use a padlock and place the key with y our car keys so you won't loose them.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

My gut feeling was predator too.. Very likely it could have been a dog! They don't die from wounds as much as trauma. A a cat would take them away more than likely. If it was weather, they would have been crouched together or in a corner somewhere trying to get warm.

Either way, it is tragic and sad.. I don't think it was neglect, so don't beat yourself up about not being there. Poor dear.. I know it's so hard. I have a Serama roo that is getting up there in age, and don't have one of his sons.. All the eggs I'm getting now are infertile, so I may have lost my chance.. :(

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Quote from ZZsBabiez :
My gut feeling was predator too.. Very likely it could have been a dog!


Dogs and other animals don't open pens

.

Richmond, TX

Is there any way the chickens could have gotten out of the pen on their own? If not there must have been a person involved. Perhaps a child wanted to visit them and then a dog took over? I hate unsolved mysteries!

(Zone 6b)

Hoping for you some new beautiful Seramas.



Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

After all the shock, I decided I needed to do another evaluation of the events and how I found them. I cant write with out deleting , it gets worse everytime I try to remember. All I know is that the little dog and another small dog belong to the neighbors. They run free all the time and I have caught them in my yared several times. The neighbors also have a teen boy that likes to "visit" when Im not home to look at the chickens. I think that is the root to my problems. I believe he went into the pen and the dogs got in too! This doesnt explain my hens though or the tiny Serama that died. I dont know but I have to go forward. Locks on pens and canstant vigilance I guess.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

A dog can scare them into quite a frenzy, I have seen mine get out of the pen without opening any doors! Remember, they are fearing for their life, they usually find a way out...

My neighbor was walking his dog and it got away from him.. a small dog.. started chasing my hens and the guy had NO CLUE the dog would kill them... He was laughing thinking it was cute! A normally intact fence really surprised me that there were so many ways out, (besides over)

So if a kid was over there, opened the gate, and the dog followed.. well, things could get ugly and out of control real fast.

(Zone 6b)

What kind of person is this teen?

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Eufaula, Neighborhood dogs can be a real problem. First, is there a leash law? Even where I live (in very rural SC) there is, but it isn't enforced willingly. I have tried talking to those who ;et their dogs run, with little success. I complain their dogs are after my chickens, and the general attitude is "thump 'em". Meaning kill them. That's not what i want to do, but it gives you an idea of the attitude. The other day there was a beaglish dog in the garden (where the chickens sometimes hang) and Joe chased it away. I told him next time to try and catch it. I'm tired of all this, and any animal I can catch will go to Animal Control. I haven't decide yet which county.....

Part of my annoyance probably stems from finding out that some of these "neighbors" have decided my land is open for hunting....

not

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm so sorry, Eufala. I lost one of my two chickens yesterday. I have recently adopted two dogs, and they killed her when she got out. No blood, no obvious marks. I can't be mad at the dogs -- what else would happen when a puppy encounters a free-range chicken? But now that the nights are getting cold, I will worry about Miss Jane, who is alone. :(

Dahlonega, GA

Brigid , I hope Miss Jane has a coop to go in and you can shut her up at night . Sorry for your and her loss . Maybe get her another friend ?

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

I think another chicken is in order. I plan to go by the feed store today or tomorrow.

(Zone 6b)

Guess I get to join your sadness party. Looks like my best hen was killed by the rooster I was trying to breed her with. She was a gorgeous white hen. Looks like I don't know much about chickens. :( I'm a bad chicken mother, and grieving a little here. I almost want to give up.

Richmond, TX

Oh, too bad! I had no idea a rooster would kill his mate! Very sad indeed.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

So sorry for your loss but don't give up. The failures only make the successes that much sweeter.

Dahlonega, GA

I've seen a lot of roosters with one hen kill it . Not intentional . Roosters got out of thier pen and she was gone before any help came .

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