I have had my flock for about 3 years. I don't know how old they are as they were a gift from a neighbor. I have added to the flock over time following all the guidelines that poultry require.

We have had a very happy family of 1 Silkie cock and 14 females. We recently took on 3 ducks and made a pond. They have been with us for about 7 weeks. My first hen went sick about 4 weeks ago, hunched and a dirty vent. She died in about 4 days. I have been using erytavicol as directed, and still I have now lost another 4 females.

Today I went to the vet, and he has given me biaprim buvable. I have now separated the ducks and stopped access for the chooks to the pond as it is still water, and I am thinking that they have drunk the dirty pond water and become sick. I have steam cleaned all the house and used bleach and cleaned all the paddock. I am expecting to lose all my babies; I am heartbroken.

Does anybody think the same as me and think the water is to blame? The ducks are showing no signs of any ill health. They were all gasping before they died and went very quickly at the end. I thought it might be coccidiosis, but the vet said he did not know. I live in France and vets are not that helpful with poultry welfare. I think he thought I was barmy taking my best hen in hoping he could help her, but she died in the car on the way home.

I feel I have failed my babies by not understanding the consequences of the pond, but perhaps that is still not the source. If anybody has any ideas, I would be grateful.