There are several reasons why your chicken will start dying. Many small chicken farmers have high mortality rates in their chicken houses – which is a fancy way of saying “lots of dead chicks or chickens” in a cycle. The most common reasons are: 1. chicken house too hot, 2. Too cold, 3. Not enough water, 4. Too humid, 5. Disease. All of these reasons are avoidable and all of these are caused by poor poultry management. That is good news because it means that you can fix your dying chicken problem with the right care, procedures and poultry equipment.
A well managed chicken house will rarely suffer from any of the above reasons – and if they do, a poultry manager will pick the problem up long before the chickens start dying. Every chicken house should have at least 2 min max thermometers, and a wet dry thermometer to measure humidity. The person who is looking after the chickens should be in the house at least 3 times a day. He should use all 5 senses to monitor the house. He will see a problem if he is looking. He will smell a problem if he is aware. He should picking up random birds, and feeling for lumps and bumps, and looking at the chickens feet, eyes and body. If you walk into a chicken house you will quickly hear a happy flock, or if there is something amiss – the birds will tell you. Tasting the water your chickens are drinking will let you know soon enough if something is wrong – chickens are like humans – the taste and temperature of the water is important to them.
Disease is more difficult to control, but some basic procedures will stop most disease. Shower in and shower out – or at least have a foot bath at the entrance to your house. Make sure your litter is dry – leaking bell drinkers or nipples will cause no end of problems (if you smell a strong ammonia smell – your litter is too wet – look at your chickens feet and you will see problems) Wash all equipment, in fact anything that goes in and out of the house – every single time. Clear your house twice a day of dead birds – don’t allow the other birds to be exposed to sick or dead birds. Separate the chickens that are sick and monitor them – needs be – get a vet to have a look. Disease will spread like wild fire – I have seen a whole house die within 24 hours.
Maintain the temperature that is correct for the age of the bird. Remember young chicks need to be at least 10 degrees warmer than grown chickens. Use you curtains, fans and heaters to maintain the correct temperature.
Water is vital – make sure there is a constant supply of clean, fresh water. If your chickens start panting, or stop eating then water is the most likely cause. A chicken house that is too hot or humid will also cause your chickens to pant.
Looking after poultry is not rocket science – causes for your poultry dying, and chickens dying in your chicken houses usually has a simple, obvious reason. Common sense should prevail when you ask – why are my chickens dying? Using the right poultry equipment will help to make your life easier.