Chickens

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eventerbabe

Well-Known Member
Dec 16, 2004
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Just wondering who here has chickens? We got our original 5 girls (2 bluebells, a blackrock, a buff leghorn and another breed I can't remember) in April 2017. Big ginger died in December 2018 on Christmas Day. Just keeled over in hen house. We then rehomed 4 ex battery hens. A few months later two of our original girls died (one stopped eating, lost ability to stand and then went, the other stopped eating and was back and forth to vets before I decided enough was enough). Then we lost one of our ex battery girls. Again slipped away suddenly overnight. Last week, my favourite ex battery hen keeled over in the run and was gone. No warning. My vets are awful with hens. No real interest in them and never optimistic. Hubby wants to rehome more ex battery girls. I'd love to, but I just can't cope with them dying on me! My vet says chickens just die and to get over it. Anyone else experience such a high mortality rate? No idea what I'm doing wrong. Our remaining 4 girls are thriving. They are on half an acre paddock with a spacious hen house too
 

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
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On an island
Iā€™m not sure who has them, I think @chunky monkey will know about šŸ“ chickens I could be wrong but Iā€™m sure sheā€™s mentioned them? I quite fancied some but have been put off, thereā€™s so much to go wrong potentially. I know wally had some too.
 

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
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I don't think you are doing anything wrong and sadly chickens are one of those animals that hide illness really well until they are very sick. You could try weighing your chickens every couple of weeks as weightloss could indicate the start of an issue alongside a really good health check. It's really gruesome (sorry) but a local college or uni may take the birds when they pass away to do a dissection if you ask, that may give you an answer as to why they passed away. We did this at my uni for our biology unit and it was really interesting, most of the ex battery hens were riddled with tumors, the pet birds had mainly had severe bumble foot and thought to be a complication from that or had just passed on from old age. Sorry for your losses though, but it sounds like your chickens have a lovely life and lots of space to roam
 

Sparky Lily

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2008
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Yell, Shetland
I have a mixed small flock. We bought 4 nine years ago and one of them is still alive and still laying a couple of eggs a week. Others have come and gone. Apart from the one who drowned in the poniesā€™ water trough, all have died naturally: some looking a little peaky for a day or two, others no warning at all. One old girl had just been ā€œhelpingā€ my husband dig a hole, then suddenly keeled over. One was less than a year old. At least we have not had to dispatch any injured ones, so far. We now have 14: 1 Welsommer, 3 Leghorns, 2 Light Sussex, 1 Maran, 1Bluebell, 2 Columbian Blacktails and 4 HyLine Reds. Pure Breeds are generally longer living, but hybrids are more productive in a shorter timespan, so we try to have a mix of both, though our options this year were more limited. I would guess your former battery hens are hybrids, with not the best start in life, so that could account for their early demise.
Mine are completely free range and not shut in at night ( no foxes in Shetland and the otters have not bothered us so far, fingers crossed), sharing a couple of acres with the ponies.
 
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Frances144

Remember me?
Dec 21, 2011
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Shetland, UK
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We go thru' phases. Our lot are all the same age so there is bound to be rather similar and close-to-each-other demises. Tis the way.

Don't over think this. Get chickens. Any rescued will be given a lovely life with you which is more than most.

Chickens are fab. And ducks are too (just sayin') but they are far smellier.
 
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Jane&Ziggy

Learning together!
Apr 30, 2010
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Surrey Hills
We have had birds that lived several years (until foxed) and others than pegged out without warning. I try not to get fond of them as I know they are liable to keel over.
 

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
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...la la land
Unlikely you are doing anything wrong. As others have said some make a good age, others just get ill. Ive generally have had point of lay chickens. Some have not lasted long others have gone on for years. Theres nothing wrong with rehoming battery hens but i think it takes its toll on them. But then some just cant adjust to there new found freedom.

I acquired two a few years ago from friends who having got them decided to then move and it was no pets allowed. They did us well. We got two other point of lay to go with them after about two years and the one just upd and died after only a month. The other lasted about 6 months then just died. So even having younger ones doesnt always go to plan.

The two i rehomed i had for a number of years until something got in and killed them. Likely a fox but could have been next doors cats.

Generally chickens dont like to be mixed. There never so happy if you try adding to the flock with replacements.

Im looking at getting some more soon but need to sort out new fencing to go round the garden plot. I cant have completely free range as there are two many foxes, and dog walkers who let the dogs run loose into my garden. Was looking at getting some more electric flexi netting. Checked the coup at the weekend when i was mowing the lawn and unfortunately it has gone rotten not having been used for a couple of years, so that will be finding a bonfire. So need to look at a new coup as well now.
 
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