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Lost 3 hens in 6 weeks - all different. GRAPHIC PHOTOS

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hoping someone has some ideas and can help me.

Six weeks ago I had a bird die on me. My hens are almost 5 yr. (July) and they stopped laying 2 years ago. Late last fall one hen seemed to struggle when she moved her bowels...straining. No egg issues....but through the winter SLOWLY went downhill. Six weeks ago in the a.m. she was very ruffled and lethargic, hanging head, eyes closed. Moved her tot he basement along with chicken #2 who seemed "off" that day too. Chicken #1 went downhill and died that night. Chicken #2 would act lethargic then a few hours later be up and around and fine and eating....then a few hours later she'd be lethargic again. A week after #1's passing #2 started walking like a penguin, excessive thirst, eating minimal, kind of stumbly.......losing weight but her belly was lumpy and seemed full of fluid. Gave her high nutrition liquid supplement via syringe...but not getting better. I thought for sure she had Lash Egg but now I don't think so. Three weeks with no change so had her put down at the vet last Friday 3/11/16). I took her home and opened her up (pictures below) I do not know chicken anatomy so don't know what is right or wrong in there.  I can say that her crop/gizzard was way down in her abdomen and she had a LOT of fluid in her belly as well....very yellow, watery, smelly. She was also throwing up that yellow water for a few weeks.

This morning I lost yet another chicken. She had been fine...eating, preening, walking around.....yesterday when I got home from work she had been sitting on the ground.....when I came into the pen she got up and walked over to where I have just thrown down a bunch of green leaf lettuce. The other 2 hens started eating, she was not interested. She went to the coop on her own last night. This morning when I opened the doors she had no roosted last night and was sitting on the floor. Behind her where she pooped it was just watery, not smelly. I picked her up to set here outside and her mouth was opened. I listened to see if ZI could hear labored breathing, heard nothing, then she did take a gasp....I set her down on the ground, she took 3-4 drunken steps then just sat straight down. She then fell over onto her side. I started walking over to her and she started flapping and rolling like as if her head had been chopped. I finally got hold of her and she couldn't breath....she was gasping trying to get air. I ran to the coop where the floor sits at waist level, laid her down and started mouth to beak.....I worked on her 4-5 minutes but she was gone.  ***???  What they heck is going on? I have lost 3 birds in 6 weeks. All have different symptoms. Now they used to be free range but the borough has decided no chickens allowed (after they gave me permission) so I have to keep them locked up. There were 5 hens in a 16 ft x 16 ft pen with a coop. I have had to feed them commercial Layena crumbles (Only one hen has been laying. The others stopped 2 years ago) and supplement with scratch, black sunflower, dried mealworms, and greens. Last fall I opened 2 bales of straw in the pen so cut down on the mud because they won't walk outside the coop in snow or mud (they are so girlie). That straw in now of course very wet from the winter. I have been forking it out and on some of it there is white mold growth at the bottom along the ground. Could they be scratching this up and eating something moldy that would cause these symptoms?  On the bird I open (see below) she really seems to have some internal problems. Her insides don't look healthy to me. NO local vet here will do a necropsy on this #3 bird. Penn State will but the price starts at $60 plus it is a 160 mile round trip. I hate to spend $100+ to discover it is just age related issues.

If anyone sees something that jumps out at them in these pics please let me know. These girls are my pets and I hate that I can't help them. Any ideas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 7

@casportpony    WTH ?? 

    Don't be sad, don't cry.He did his work well and only by leaving could he teach my son the last lesson he needed to learn.   Empathy for another soul 
Reply
    Don't be sad, don't cry.He did his work well and only by leaving could he teach my son the last lesson he needed to learn.   Empathy for another soul 
Reply
post #3 of 7
Need to look at the pictures when I can get on the computer, 'cause I can't really see them on the iPad.

-Kathy
post #4 of 7

What breeds where they?

post #5 of 7

They in no way had access to excess salts?

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally Sunshine View Post
 

What breeds where they?

The first 2 I lost were Buff Orpingtons. The 3rd hen was a silver wyandotte

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally Sunshine View Post
 

They in no way had access to excess salts?

I don't see how. The Borough makes me pen them now and in fact chickens are illegal now. They gave me a $1000 fine 3 years ago...which I promptly threw in the trash. I figured let them put me in jail and see the ****-fire storm they open up with me.  But my hens (5 of them)  were free range for 3 years with supplimented layers crumble. They have been in a 16ft x 16ft pen now with their same enclosed coop (for nights and laying). For the last year+ now they have eaten layers crumbles with some black sunflower thrown in the mix, some crushed corn during winter and store bought greens (leaf lettuce, parsley, etc. ) and the grass in the pen. No more free range means no more nice organic, natural healthy meals. They were killer on the tick and jap beetles here. After a year the pen has gone to just dirt. I added some scratch this winter as well. Their water comes 75% from my rain barrel and the other from the kitchen tap. I throw out oyster shell for extra grit. I think that because they went from REALLY good eating to store bought, non-organic, grains and store bought greens with pesticides and fugicides and all that other crap, they slowly developed liver problems. LIke going from healthy new-age eating to eating at McDonald's!! My third bird who died in my arms last Thursday.....when I opened her (hard to see with eyes full of tears) her lungs were huge in her chest. The 2nd bird her lungs were deflated. When I cut into these lungs they gushed a milky red fluid. Her lungs were just exploding with fluid and obviously she suffocated in fluid. She was normal just 24 hours earlier and had ZERO breathing issues.I also found a massive blood clot about the size of a nickel when I took out her heart, but I can't tell you where it came fro other than her chest area. Don't know if that happened after she died or prior. She may have been struggling and when I picked her up and set her outside that morning it may have broken that clot loose and it moved and blocked her lungs and finished her. Don't know. The 2 I have left, God bless them....everyday I am going over them and feeling bellies and checking vents and watching to see if they are eating normally. My laying Buff is absolutely normal and well......and my last Wyandotte...though pretty normal, is not as active.....she does not eat as much as the Buff nor poo as much. But then again she is the low man on the pole here and the Buff chases her some. Her belly feels solid.....I just keep watch. I picked up an 18 Ga. needle "just in case" and will start them on some powdered vitamin/electrolyte in the water that I got at Tractor Supply.  Now they were wormed for the first time just last fall and the only thing I could find at any store was a pelleted product that you mix like 1 pound of product with 200 pounds of grain kind of stuff. So I just ground up a few pellets and mixed it with their food. Not sure how well it worked, though when I opened these 2 birds I saw zero signs of any worms and I have never seen anything in their poo. And both birds looked VERY different inside. The first had an atrophied intestine ....it was very small and a tiny reproductive tract. This bird has a belly full of healthy looking intestines and actual ovi at the head of her repro tract even though she has not laid and egg in 2+ years.1st bird had a belly filled with 8-10 oz yellow smelly liquid, this one had fluid but not a lot (1-2 oz maybe) and not smelly. I know what killed 2nd hen (fluid in the lungs) but don't know what brought it on.  Now our weather here in central Pennsylvania has been odd. Up in the low 70's one day and then a week later snowing again. Don't know if that is a factor......   UGH!

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