In a 1-year-long prospective longitudinal study, we determined the causes of loss of 'Sonali' (male symbol Rhode Island Red x female symbol Fayoumi) chickens at key-rearers' households of the smallholder livestock development project-2 (SLDP-2) area in Bangladesh. A key rearer is a smallholder of chickens in the 'village poultry-production chain' (undertaken by SLDP-2 under the financial assistance of the DANIDA) who rears at least five Sonali and some 'Deshi' (non-descriptive and indigenous) chickens in their homesteads based on semi-scavenging system. The aim of this program is to ameliorate poverty, especially among women. Two co-ordination centers (set at the Potuakhali and Noakhali districts) supervised the development activities. We selected two upazilas (lower administration units) randomly from each of the two districts and in every selected upazila, we selected at random 125 key-rearer households. Incidence rates of loss of Sonali chickens from disease, predation, selling and slaughtering were 0.025, 0.023, 0.081 and 0.039 per bird-month at risk, respectively. The major predators of Sonali chickens in the study area were foxes, a kind of wild cat (Felis chaus), mongooses and human thieves. Colibacillosis (both single and mixed infections) had a contributory role in the death of 28% of dead Sonali birds collected for diagnosis; salmonellosis, Newcastle disease and internal parasites contributed to the next highest (14, 11and 10%) proportional mortalities.