BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures › Healthy chicken just instantly died! TERRIFIED!
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Healthy chicken just instantly died! TERRIFIED!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My 3 Jersey Giants are about 7 months old...all seeming perfectly healthy, laying almost every day.  Today was a normal morning...and then one laid down on her stomach, bobbed her head up and down a few times, flapped her wings and died!  My husband witnessed the whole thing--it happened before he could even get into the run.  She was the alpha chicken...large and in charge!!!  

So far our vet doesn't take care of fowl...we have a message into the University of Minnesota...hopeful they will look at her!  
I am terrified this will happen to the other 2. Any ideas?   I fed them spinach, cheese, apple, and ground turkey this morning.... I can't image telling the girls when they get home from school.... Any ideas???  

post #2 of 6

Sorry for your loss. It can be a stressful time for chickens around the point of laying, and she may have had a heart problem. It's good if you can get a necropsy to ease your mind, but it's common to lose a hen occasionally. It's just very rough to only have 3, and lose one. Here is a link fo your state vet who will usually do necropsies:

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the info--I have a call in.  They just seem so happy...We will keep a close eye on and lots of love for the other 2!!!!

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

RESULTS are back!  If I can help save someone else from making this mistake--then our Bella's life will have purpose beyond the short 8 glorious months we had with her....  


**To catch you up, our seemingly very healthy and active hen just instantly died for no apparent reason.  Seemed like Sudden Chicken Death Syndrome...she had laid an egg the day before and was first into the run the next day...everything appeared normal... 


Does the saying "the way to a mans heart is through his stomach" sound familiar??  Well this is NOT true for matter how adorable they are when they come running to see you!  Our first reaction was to reward them...little did we know we were ALL rewarding them, many times a day!


The Dr who necropsied our 8 month old Jersey Giant Hen basically said that she died because she was overfed (liver rupture/blood clots).  This is a very  common problem for backyard chickens BECAUSE THEY ARE TREATED AS PETS!  He said it is most common for the alpha hen because she gets to the food first and eats the most.  We fed a fruit and green every morning--and CHEESE, and then meal worms and nuts as snacks.  We would give the occasional noodle, or leftover cereal...This was in addition to the layer feed and scratch grains.  She was a big girl, though she was a Jersey Giant--we didn't know she was too big, she looked beautiful!  


Docs recommendations--layer feed, fruit, greens, and nuts.  Occasional snacks.  Avoid cheese, noodles, breads, etc.  


We are so thankful and hopeful that we are in time to make changes for our remaining hens and enjoy a long and happy life for them! 

post #5 of 6

Thanks for the update. Did they say it was this:



post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Kathy, yes that is exactly what the necropsy said...The doctor told us to change The diet of the remaining hens to fruits, vegetables and layer feed which is basically what we were doing, however with an added abundance of snacks and mealworms. So far the other two are doing well! Fingers crossed! Thank you for your concern!
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