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Possible dying buff Orpington?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We've got a buff Orpington who has been not acting right today. We let our flock out this morning before church (we usually aren't home at all during daylight hours to let them free range but when we are they do) and when we got home around 1 we noticed she was separate from the other 6 and the best way I can describe her behavior is that she was humped up. Didn't think much of it but my husband noticed the same thing again when he was getting wood in a few hours later. It's about 25 degrees here so we just chalked it up to that, but there's a heat lamp in the coop so we thought she must not mind too much. However, once they went in for the night and he went to lock the door to the run, he saw that she was missing. We hunted her down and found her in that same humped up position by the woodpile, not even trying to get out of the snow. Our chickens are typically very jumpy and don't let us get anywhere near them but she didn't even flinch when I picked her up, and when I set her down in the run she acted like her legs didn't work and just sort of collapsed. I went ahead and put her in the coop because she didn't seem to be able to get to the warmth herself and she finally walked over to the middle to get under the lamp, but I noticed what looks like a bloody stringy mess coming from her backside, but we can't see any visible injury so it could be just frozen mud and grass from where she's been sitting all day. She's approximately 3 years old give or take a month but we've only had them since August and they are our first flock. I can't bear to let her suffer if she's dying but I don't want to put her out of her misery if her only misery is being cold, and I've never seen a chicken die to know what is really going on here. Somebody please tell me how I can help my girl sad.png
post #2 of 8
Welcome to BYC, and sorry for the delay in anyone answering your question. Bring her inside for the night if possible to a box or dog crate, and try to clean off her vent area to get a look at what exactly is wrong. Pictures really help us to see what you see. It's possible that she was vent pecked and injured by one of theother chickens. Another scenario is that she may have suffered a prolapsed vent, and sometimes those can be accompanied by a stuck egg. Look for any red tissue sticking outof the vent. Get a disposable glove, and poke one finger an inch or so inside the vent to feel for an egg. If it is only injured you can use Vetericyn spray or plain antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin on the vent area. If there is any red tissue sticking out that looks like intestine, the apply honey, hemorrhoid cream, or a lubricant to keep it from drying out. Let us know what you find, and I'll check back ikn the morning.
post #3 of 8
Do exactly what she said, but DONT USE ANY NEOSPORIN OR TRIPLE ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT WITH PAINKILLER OR THE SUFFIX -CAIN IN THE INGREDIENTS. THESE ARE POISONOUS TO CHICKENS. Also DONT use peroxide to clean her wound, (if there is one) it damages the skin tissue. Instead use an Epsom salt mixture.(Epsom salt and water)

Good luck!! How your girl gets better real soon!!!🐔🐓
Edited by huntingirl - 2/14/16 at 7:39pm
post #4 of 8
Peroxide is perfectly safe to use once or twice. It is very good to help debride wounds, and I have used it for 40 plus years. It may impede wound healing if used repeatedly.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for your responses. Unfortunately I didn't see these posts in time and she didn't make it through the night. Husband went out to check on them this morning and she was hard. If she was vent pecked, is that something I need to keep an eye out for with the others? Is 3 years a long chicken life and maybe it was just her time? Did we not do something right weather related? I feel so bad and I don't want to lose any more of them.
post #6 of 8
So sorry for your loss.
post #7 of 8

I'm so sorry for your loss. It could be a lot of things that caused her death. She may have just been feeling bad, perhaps dying, and got pecked when she was out in the weather. Another scenario is she was eggbound as I said earlier, and could have had a prolapse or not, and was vent pecked. The egg binding itself could have killed her if she had been that way for some time. I would watch for any excessive pecking, make sure they are getting at least 16% protein in their diet, and 20% is okay. Getting outside and having plenty of room in the coop helps to prevent pecking. hopefully, this was an isolated incident, but her is a link to read about vent pecking:

post #8 of 8


I am rather new to chickens also, but in my 70 years of living, I have had lots of other species  which I have loved tremendously. When we got our 4 chickens (Rhode Island Red, 2 BO's, 1 Dominique) it did not take long for us to totally spoil them.  Last fall one of the Buffs, became quite ill too, and I thought it was related to being egg bound but she refused to get off her nest, was tremulous, pale comb which shrunk, and was off food and water---plus it seems the other three "sisters" did not want to have anything to do with her and shunned her whenever she got near to them,  I really thought she would die.  I talked to a long time breeder and she advised a warm bath for relaxation and to help any bound egg or stool to be released, and to keep her warm and dry. It kind of helped for a couple days but she was still ill and off food and water.  I (unbeknownst to my Husband), took her to a vet and had an exam where her vent and organs were examined and palpated and she seems to be normal in that respect, but she was severely  dehydrated so had injections of fluid and a long acting pain medication.   

I took her home, gave her a bath each day lasting about 40 min soak so she would absorb as much water through her skin as possible, and it also relaxed her bowels as she was getting impacted from dry stool, so that released the impaction both in the water and the drying towel and occasionally when I put her in the yard (if sunny) and let her stretch out a bit. Then I kept her in a dark and warm room with food, water and bedding material.  (I used a large appliance cardboard box).  I also held her a lot when drying ---and have to admit that I did a lot of singing to her while she was soaking in the sink, and it made her eyes heavy and she fell asleep for a lot of the soak.  

After a few days, she seemed better and I made her stay in the yard 2-3 hours a day so she could slowly get back her energy and exercise a bit. Since the other chickens picked on her, I had them locked in their pen which they did not like much. They are so spoiled.  
Somehow, she managed to get a little bit better each day and after about 3 weeks total, she was back with her flock and now, several months later, she is one of the most spoiled little girls ever---wanting to be held each time I go outside, wanting my husband to did in the garden so she can be the first to scarf up the worms uncovered, and is now laying the largest eggs of all 4 chickens.  She hugs and makes the cutest sounds, almost like a purr, when held. She is content to sit on our lap and watch TV for more than an hour, if we have the time to do it. She is now our largest chicken too.

Don't know what she had, or if this is what a professional poultry rancher would do, but this is what I did and it seemed to work.

I had no idea these birds would be so much fun and are so sharp and intelligent. I truly love my 4 chickens.  

I have had horses, mules, fish, lots and lots of wild game in Montana, dogs, and had a pedigree cattery for 24 years, plus being a nurse for 30 years, and these chickens are a total blessing to me at this stage of life.


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