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Dead Hen

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hello All,
I have 5 barred rock Hens. I bought them about 3 months ago and they were just over a year old. When I bought the hens they all had bald butts ( no feathers). After a few weeks they all grew thier butt feathers back except one. I made a dust bath bought DE etc as I thought she may have had mites. She seemed fine always out hunting and pecking, she seemed like she was at the bottom of the pecking order in the flock but always active. I went out to let them out this morning and found her face down in the coop under her roosting bar. There was no blood anywhere that I saw, I checked her for wounds and did not see anything. There was a lot of mucus on her beak when I picked her up but other than that it looks like she died in her sleep. Any ideas of what could have caused this? I am still new to having chickens, and concerned for the rest of my flock. I might add that the coop is dry, bedding seems like it's in good shape and the ventilation is more than what is recommended. Thanks for any insight.
post #2 of 5
Was she eggbound because that can cause a bald spot on the butt and cause them to die.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
She did not appear to be eggbound. I had two friends buy hens from the same people around the same time that I did and they were all bald on the butts as well. My friends hens have all grown their feathers back since they have had them. I have disposed of the body but will try to go out to where it's at and look? He bottom did not seem swollen but it's there a better way to check if she was egg bound?
post #4 of 5
You could feel the abdomen and see if you feel an egg but at this point i am not sure if that will tell if thats what happened. There are other causes to bald buts such as mite and lice and internal laying. However you said she wasnt swollen but if she didnt have a bug problem and the others werent eating her feathers there had to be another issue.
post #5 of 5

Chickens occasionally die for seemingly no reason.  It is often an undiagnosed heart condition.  This is so common that it has its own name- Flip or Flip-over- which is when a bird is walking along without any issues, stops in its tracks, flips over onto its back and dies.  Chickens are masters at hiding pain, illness and injuries, so it is often hard to establish that there is a problem until the bird is critically ill or dead.


Feather loss along the butts is usually related to picking by fellow flock mates.  Once you remove the feather pickers, the problem is solved.  You know at least one other person who got birds from this seller, so they clearly had a lot of birds.  Overcrowding is one of the primary reasons why chickens start picking at each other.  If you are still seeing feather losses, then you need to start watching the flock.  After a few days of watching you should be able to see who's doing the deed. I have never seen bald butts being related to egg binding, although you will sometimes see bald butts in relation to prolapse, but again this is damage from flock mates, and not inherently related to the prolapse itself.  Feather loss along the mid and lower back and along the shoulders is usually roo damage.


If the birds have mites then they need to be cleaned up ASAP.  This will kill birds.  DE is about as effective on mites as bailing out a sinking boat with a teaspoon.  You are going to need to have a plan of action in place that involves the use of pesticides and heavy cleaning.  There are several threads on dealing with pests so I am not going to bore you by reiterating a point that has been beaten to death.  A quick search should yield you many results.


The mucous you saw around her mouth is just crop contents coming back up because there is no musculature holding it in place after death.  Gravity and settling causes the crop contents to come to the surface.  Unless you saw something alarming in the mucous like blood or pus, then this is nothing abnormal.

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