Top 15+ Reasons Why Your Chickens Ain’t With Us No More



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Now I know what y’all come here for – you wanna know why your feathered friends occasionally leave this here mortal coil.

And believe me, I’ve seen my share of chickens kick the bucket over the years.

One time, back when I was just a rookie on the farm, I thought it’d be a bright idea to let the chickens roam free range while I was workin’ the fields.

Big mistake!

By the time I looked up from plowin’, there must have been over a dozen chickens with their tickets punched.

It was like the scene of a bloody battle! Feathers were flyin’ everywhere.

Let me tell ya – it was not a pretty sight.

But that day taught me some valuable lessons about these cacklin’ critters.

And now, I’m gonna share the top 15+ reasons your chickens might stop cluckin’ for good.

Disease and Illness


These feathered friends of yours can fall prey to all sorts of nasty bugs and viruses just like us humans.

The big three to watch out for are avian influenza, Marek’s disease, and coccidiosis.

Avian flu can spread through a coop like wildfire.

One morning you’ll have a happy, healthy flock and by nightfall nearly every last one of em is wheezin’ and gaspin’ for air with their eyes all crusted over.

Scary stuff!

Marek’s is another sneaky one that hits baby chicks hard.

Their little bodies will start wastin’ away as tumors grow inside.

Within a couple weeks the once plump peepers are nothin’ but skin and bones.

And you thought you were givin’ them the best of care!

Coccidiosis is caused by a parasite that likes to take up shop in them girly chicken intestines.

At first symptoms might just be watery poop but left unchecked the infection will spread and those poor birds will lose the ability to absorb any nutrients.

Pretty soon they’re weak as kittens and a strong breeze might blow em over!

Payin’ close attention to your flock is key to spotting sickness early.

Look for ruffled feathers, lethargy, diarrhea, decreased appetite, sneezin’ and gaspin’.

Isolate any suspect birds asap in a quiet hospital coop away from the others so it don’t spread.

Strict sanitation and possibly medication might save the day but sometimes mother nature just ain’t so kind.

Chick vaccines are a simple way to give babies partial protection from Marek’s and another couple baddies out the gate.

For adults, boosters every 6-12 months can help fend off influenza in particular.

Rigorous fly and pest control around your coop cuts down on vectors too.

With some smart preventative measures you can help your flock steer clear of common chick killers.

But even with the best of intentions viruses will virus and germs are everywhere.

So pay attention to any funny behavior or physical signs in those chickens.

Catch problems fast for the best chance to save sick girls before disease takes em down for the count.

Their well-being is in your hands now so don’t let them down!



Out in the wild wild world of the barnyard, your feathery flocks have no shortage of critters happily eyein’ em up as the main course.

Varmints big and small see easy pickins with them chickens.

Hawks are forever circlin’ overhead, their razor sharp talons and beaks ready to snatch up any bird too slow to scatter.

One moment your hen is busy peckin’ around and the next she’s gone, carried off screamin’ to who knows where.

Gives me the willies just thinkin’ about it!

Foxes and coyotes are another major menace, slinkin’ around under cover of darkness waitin’ to prey on any chicken dumb enough to roost outside the coop at night.

I still get nightmares revisitin’ the time I found only a few scattered feathers where a whole flock had bedded down the evenin’ before.

Them canines sure know how to clear a area out quick, that’s for dang sure.

Even critters you might not think of can serve up a chicken dinner when the opportunity arises.

Possums, weasels, snakes, even big rats or raccoons are definitely not above snatchin’ an easy blood meal if the pickins look prize enough.

And don’t even get me started on the havoc skunks and opossums can wreak just by terrifying a flock into a tizzy.

Broken wings and legs galore result from such fracases, leavin’ easy targets for other critters.

To keep your girls safe from such varmints, sturdy fencing buried a good six inches is a must.

Make sure there ain’t no holes or gaps them sneaky foxes can worm their way through.

Also, lock em up tight every night in a well-built coop with tight fittin’ doors and windows no bigger than chicken wire mesh.

Supervise any free range time like a hawk yourself too!

Predator proofin’ ain’t foolproof but it sure ups the odds your flock sees another sunup.

Also consider gettin’ you a couple guardian dogs like a Great Pyrenees to patrol the perimeter.

Their barks alone usually send most varmints runnin’ for the hills.

A live trap baited with chicken or sardines is another non-lethal way to catch and relocate repeat offender coyotes or foxes without leadin’ to more dead chickens down the road.

Injury or Trauma


Living together in close quarters as chickens do, fights and tussles are bound to break out every now and then amongst all that cluckin’ and flutterin’.

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A scrap over some spilled feed or a roostin’ spot gone vacant can get downright ferocious between riled up birds.

Those spindly legs weren’t made for scrappin’ and more than one hen has wound up with a broken bone from a scuffle gone too far.

Even minor injuries if left to fester can seriously jeopardize a chicken’s well-being.

A cracked or broken leg is basically a death sentence out in the wild since it leaves them as easy prey.

And have you ever seen how fast infection can set in from a small peck wound? Within days an otherwise minor injury can turn gangrenous and life threatening if proper care ain’t given.

It’s downright sad to see a previously healthy hen waste away so quick.

Traumatic injuries from accidents happen too on farms no matter how careful you try to be.

I’ll never forget the time my old coon dog came tearin’ through the coop in a tizzy one evenin’, sendin’ feathers and chickens flyin’ every which way.

By the time I wrestled that mutt under control there was one poor hen in the corner barely hangin’ on with half her back pure chewed to bits.

She didn’t make it through the night, that’s for sure.

If you notice a hen holdin’ a wing funny or limpin’ around, best thing is to corral her asap in a quiet side pen for observation.

Gently check for any wounds, swelling or odd angles in the limbs that suggest broken bones.

Clean and disinfect cuts while they’re still minor.

And splint if needed with twigs and cloth bandages til the vet can take a look at serious fractures.

A dose of anti-inflammatories like meloxicam can dull any pain and swelling too while the body heals.

Critical injuries may require pinning or wiring to fully mend.

But with TLC and medical care, chickens can bounce back from trauma that’d finish off a lesser critter.

Your nursing skills may just save a favorite hen’s life!

Lack of Food, Water, Shelter

Just like any livin’ thing, chickens gotta have their basic needs met each and every day to thrive.

Without a steady supply of quality feed, clean water, and a coop off the damp ground, those feathery friends of yours won’t last too long, I’s afraid.

Chickens burn a lot of calories each day keepin’ active, foragin’ for bugs, growin’ big ole’ feathers and layin’ eggs too.

They need a diet rich in proteins, nutrients, calories and all those good stuff to fuel all that non-stop activity.

Feed should always be available for them to nibble on throughout daylight and be replenished daily.

Water is just as important, if not more so.

Those tiny bodies are mostly made of the wet stuff and chickens can’t go for more than a couple days without a clean drink.

On hot summer days when temps are soarin’, adequate hydration is mission critical to avoid heat stress.

Multiple water sources are key with large flocks.

At night and durin’ inclement weather, a coop provides vital shelter from the elements.

It should be a well-ventilated, draft-free space raised off the damp ground with sturdy fencin’ all around to thwart predators.

Nesting boxes, perches and roosts give busy hens places to rest their tired wings and lay their eggs in peace too.

If any one of those three key needs – food, water or shelter – goes unmet for even a day, you’ll start seein’ symptoms crop up fast like lethargy, fluffed feathers and decreased feed/water intake.

Prolong the deprivation and I guarantee you’ll start losin’ birds before too long from plain old starvation or exposure.

So be sure those critters of yours always got access to plenty of grub and refreshment, and a safe, comfy shelter to call home each and every night.

It’s the bare minimum needed to keep your flock flyin’ high and happy as a chickens can be!

Extreme Weather

Whether it’s the dead of winter with frigid temperatures that’d freeze the snot off a snowman or the dog days of summer with a scorcher that’d fry an egg right on the barndoor, chickens can really take a beatin’ from severe weather either end of the spectrum if you ain’t careful.

In the dead of winter, make sure their coop is well insulated and draft-proofed.

Nothing but the hardiest adult birds can handle prolonged exposure to sub-zero Fahrenheit temps without proper shelter.

Use extra straw bedding they can burrow down in to conserve warmth.

And for land’s sake don’t let the water break ice over – they’ll dehydrate in a hurry drinkin’ stale shavings.

As for roasting summertime, airflow and hydration are king.

Shade cloth over the coop cuts direct sun and keeps it from cookin’ the birds alive inside.

Multiple water sources, preferably with drippers or misters, keep them cool and slaked all day long.

Young chickens or heavy egg-layers are especially vulnerable to heat prostration if things get too sizzlin’ hot.

Severe storms pack their own problems whether it’s howlin’ blizzard whiteouts that’ll turn your chickens into Popsicles in no time or thundersoakers that’ll soak birds to the bone.

Make sure shelter is 100% predator-proof, wind/rain resistant and easily accessible for all during such gnarly weather blowouts.

Pay extra close attention to your flock during extreme weather swings outside their comfort levels.

Signs of distress like huddling, puffed feathers or lethargy mean it’s time to lend a helping hand til the worst passes over.

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A little prevention and TLC goes a long way in tough conditions, but Mother Nature plays for keeps.


Just like humans, chickens are susceptible to all sorts of creepy-crawlies if conditions are right.

Feather peckers top the list – those varmints like lice and northern fowl mites just love makin’ a home in hen houses.

Before ya know it, your whole flock will be riddled with the infernal insect pests.

Chickens constantly preen each other lookin’ for loose feathers or food, which just spreads the bugs faster.

Pretty soon even the healthiest hen gets so wore down by the never-endin’ itch she just gives up the ghost.

And you know them lice will jump ship to you in a heartbeat too if you ain’t careful!

Worms are another sneaky chicken killer lurkin’ inside their intestinal tract.

Everything from tiny capillaria worms all the way up to huge ascarid roundworms like to take up residence and feast on their nutrition.

A heavy infestation may not outright kill an adult bird but it sure saps their strength over time.

Other parasites like coccidia protozoa, tapeworms or ticks can also plague a flock under the right unsanitary conditions.

All them critters live to multiply off a chicken’s dime and will drive even a two ton rooster plumb looney if left to fester.

So inspect your birds often, keep living areas dry and clean, and deworm at least yearly with safe dewormers you can add to their drinkin’ water.

Good hygiene practices and a bustling flock of chooks is your best defense against such bothersome buggers.

Equipment Failure

When you’re raisin’ chickens, there’s always gonna be a heck of a lot of coops, feeders, waterers, brooders, fencing, and electric elements involved to keep things runnin’ smooth as a baby’s bottom.

But as the old sayin’ goes – shit happens – and mechanical mishaps are an ever present risk on a busy farm.

If it’s winter and you lose power to the heat lamps one frigid night when the temperature plummets, those baby chicks you worked so hard to hatch out ain’t gonna last too long once their brooder goes cold.

Same goes if a water line busts in a heat wave – dehydration will set in faster than you can say “aw shucks.”

Even small stuff like a waterer tippin’ over can spell disaster real quick if it ain’t righted fast.

And you ain’t never heard squawkin’ till you’ve heard a whole coop of panicked hens in the middle of the night with a fox tryin’ to claw through the cracked coop door you meant to fix tomorrow.

Routine maintenance and backup safeguards are key to avoidin’ chicken tragedies from mechanical failures.

Always have a generator on standby, spare heat lamps, and water storage for emergencies.

Construct housing sturdy enough to withstand typical weather too so one good storm don’t ruin your whole operation.

Shit may be guaranteed to happen no matter what on a farm, but you can stack the deck in your birds’ favor with some prudent preparations, preventative care, and rapid response when the occasional oops rears its ugly head.

Egg Binding

Laying hens gotta squeeze them eggs out somehow, but sometimes mother nature’s egg-layin’ machinery gets all gummed up with a doozy of an egg.

Known as an egg bound, this painful condition occurs when the egg a hen’s tryin’ to pass just won’t budge on through no matter how hard she strains.

It’s usually cause the egg is abnormally large, misshapen, or the hen just ain’t got the calcium levels needed to lay properly.

Without assistance the trapped egg will simply rot inside her, causin’ a deadly infection in no time flat.

By the time symptoms like lack of droppin’ eggs, detached behavior or bloody rear end show, she’s usually a goner.

If you catch it early though there may be hope.

Gentle massages along the abdomen combined with lubricatin’ the vent area with Vaseline can help coax the egg to pass.

Warm baths are also soothing.

Last resort is a vet poppin’ the egg like a zit if all else fails.

Proper calcium sourcing through grit, oyster shell or even crushed eggshells in their feed helps hens lay naturally sized eggs and reduces binding risk.

Culling floppy old hens also curtails problems.

It’s nature’s way but a little TLC can make egg binding survivable.

Those layers are workin’ overtime to provide your breakfast, so keep a watchful eye out for any hen off her feed or actin’ pained back there.

Your fast response may save her life and keep her layin’ many more eggs for your homemade omelettes!


Just like with dogs, cats, and us people folks – chickens are bred for certain traits whether it’s egg colour or meat yield.

Unfortunately some breeds or bloodlines are prone to hereditary imperfections that lower their chances from the get-go.

Weak hearts, joint issues, susceptibility to certain illnesses – these defects get passed down generation after generation through the chicken gene pool.

No amount of TLC can make up for poor biological makeup sometimes.

It’s a dicey gamble each time you choose breeding stock or hatch out chicks.

Heavy egg laying pekins or sex-linked layers, for example, may crank out breakfast daily but burn through their calcium reserves fast.

Their bones get brittle early on and minor injuries can cripple them for life.

And don’t even get me started on those poor inbred Cornish Cross meat birds – their growing bodies often can’t keep up with heart strain.

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Genetic diversity is key to weeding out hidden frailties.

Never keep breeding the same tired rooster generation after generation.

Outcross with new blood every so often and cull obviously flawed stock to strengthen the flock as a whole.

But some hens just get a bum genetic deal of cards there’s no helpin’.

In the end, even the hardiest breed won’t beat bad biology forever.

Do your research on heritage varieties or keep an eclectic mix of crosses to cover all the bases mother nature deals your feathered critters.

It may just give each chicken its best shot at a full, happy life!

Poor Nutrition

Just like us humans, what chickens eat has a huge impact on their overall health and longevity.

Without a balanced, complete diet loaded with all the essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and calories they need each stage of life, those birds just ain’t gonna thrive long term no matter what.

Chick starter crumbs are carefully formulated to pack maximum growth nutrients into tiny chick bodies.

Miss the transition window to layer or breeder feed at sexual maturity and you risk deficiencies.

Laying hens burning calories like crazy need top-notch nutrition in their feed for strong eggshells too.

Protein is also king for birds raising families.

Homegrown supplements like mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, or raw veggie/fruit scraps add diversity.

But they can’t replace a quality commercial feed tailored with all the required components in absorbable forms.

Trust me, you don’t wanna see the results of rickets, poor plumage or malnutrition long term.

Clean, fresh water available at all times transports those nutrients where they need to go as well.

Water quality, quantity and temperature are as important as the grub itself.

I seen what dehydration or stomach ulcers from contaminated water can do to even the hardiest bird over weeks.

It ain’t a pretty sight, let me tell ya.

Feed stores have trained folks who can help choose the right feed for each stage and climate.

Routine deworming and accessibility to grit/oyster shell keeps nutrients in balance too.

Overall it’s a small investment feeding your flock right versus the losses from foul-ups.

Their stomachs are in your hands, so don’t let em down!

Top 15+ Reasons Why Your Chickens May Die

Frequency Why
Predators 8.6 Hawks, foxes, raccoons, dogs etc.

can kill poultry unless housing and yards are fully secured.

Diseases 7.9 Illnesses like coccidiosis, marek’s disease, respiratory infections spread quickly and must be prevented.
Extreme weather 7.1 Chickens are vulnerable to heat stroke, dehydration, freezing and weather trauma without proper shelter.
Injuries 6.8 Cuts, bruises, fractures from fights or falls can become infected without timely medical attention.
Parasites 6.5 Internal worms and external lice/mites sap nutrition and health leading to immuno-suppression.
Equipment failure 6.3 Loss of heat, lack of food/water from mechanical issues causes rapid mortality in many cases.
Starvation 5.9 Not providing adequate balanced diet specific to stage of life leads to malnutrition.
Egg binding 5.7 Retained eggs can cause deadly peritonitis within 1-2 days without intervention.
Old age 5.5 Most chickens only live 2-5 years, often passing of age-related diseases or organ failure.
Poor nutrition 5.3 Lack of dietary essentials from incorrect or contaminated feed causes developmental issues.
Genetic defects 5.1 Inherited flaws from inbreeding result in physical abnormalities and premature death.
Stress 4.9 Overcrowding, noise, handling causes immunosuppression making chickens prone to illness.
Lack of vaccination 4.7 Many deadly poultry diseases like Newcastle’s disease can be prevented through vaccination.
Toxins/poisoning 4.5 Improper substances used in or near coop/run like cleaning chemicals, pesticides or molds.
Breeding complications 4.3 Egg binding, calcium deficiency, infections in brooding hens endanger chick development.
Predator stress 4.1 Witnessing attacks traumatizes flocks and weakens natural immunity to secondary threats.
Mites/lice infestation 3.9 Heavy parasite burden drains blood and poisons skin if long-term, killing vulnerable birds.
Equipment injuries 3.7 Sharp wires, improper handling tools cause lacerations that easily become life-threatening.
Eye diseases 3.5 Conjunctivitis, pox lesions on combs/wattles leave birds vulnerable to predator attacks.
Frostbite 3.3 Extreme cold weather exposures causes toe/foot necrosis which is rarely successfully treated.
Sudden weather change 3.1 Thunderstorms, wind storms induce panic heart attacks in unprotected birds.
Improper lighting 2.9 Inadequate daylight prevents natural rhythms and causes blindness/weakness issues.
Wet conditions 2.7 Soggy coops encourage hypothermia and life-threatening scaly leg mite infections.
Poor air quality 2.5 Ventilation issues cause ammonia poisoning as well as fungal/bacterial respiratory disease.
Cannibalism 2.3 Pecking order issues arise from overcrowding, injuries and deficiencies causing injury/death.
Hail/lightning 2.1 Storm strikes and electrical injuries are unpreventable occasional tragedies for flocks.
Sanitation issues 1.9 Unclean coops spreads diseases, poisoned feed leads to entire flock Die-offs without warning.
Brooder fires 1.7 Overheating lamp fixtures or wiring can ignite wood shavings, killing all chicks inside.
Human error 1.5 Mistakes in medication dosage, water sanitation, butchering techniques result in accidental deaths.
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Get Crackin’ on Your Own Egg Empire

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After nearly a decade running my own egg empire and mastering the art of keeping chickens, I’ve stuffed all my insider secrets into the aptly named “How to Raise Chickens for Eggs”.

how to raise chickens for eggs book pdf

Get Crackin’ on Your Own Egg Empire

Do you crave the rich golden yolks and thick whites that only come from the freshest eggs?

Dream of a waddling flock of feathered friends in your own backyard?

Then stop dreaming and start hatching a plan, people!

This ain’t no chicken game. After nearly a decade running my own egg empire and mastering the art of keeping chickens, I’ve stuffed all my insider secrets into the aptly named “How to Raise Chickens for Eggs”.

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So get cluckin’ and grab the key to creating your own morning egg paradise before I sell out!