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Found apparently healthy hen dead in yard--too late for necropsy?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

My 1 year old Silver Gray Dorking hen was totally happy and healthy on Thursday evening, at least as far as I could tell.  She was her normal lovely, bold, and friendly self, following me around, getting underfoot, and asking for treats.  I didn't get out to check on the hens yesterday, but I went out this afternoon (Saturday) I found her laying dead in the yard.  She seemed to have no obvious injuries--no blood, no punctures, not even a feather out of place.  Just laying on her side, eyes closed.  She was still stiff.  There was an egg in the nest box that I think she laid yesterday (she was my only white egg layer, so I know it's hers).  The remaining 8 hens are all acting normal as far as I can see.

 

I suspect she probably died yesterday but I didn't notice until today.  I feel terrible not knowing what happened to her--it just doesn't look like a predator to me, and she wasn't obviously sick.  I am wondering if it was just random organ failure, or if maybe she ate a plant she shouldn't have, or what.  If there's a danger to my other girls, I want to know.

 

It has been in the 70s/80s the last two days, and humid.  I am thinking of trying to get her a necropsy, but it looks like the closest state facility is almost 3 hours from here, so I would have to mail her--and the post office is closed tomorrow, of course.  So even if I put her in a cooler with ice packs around her now, she would probably have been dead over 24 hours outside, plus 2-3 more days before she makes it to the lab.  Is it worth trying to send her?

 

She was so sweet, by far my friendliest hen... :(

post #2 of 3
I would wrap her in a plastic bag, and refrigerate her, but not freeze. Call the state vet early Monday AM, and tell them the situation. I would take her if possible. You may also do a necropsy yourself, looking at the liver and other internal organs for color, spots or anything unusual, such as internal laying or a white film on organs. Sometimes taking pictures of organs and posting them here can get some answers. A crop or gizzard blockage can easily be found. Open intestines to look for worms or blood and swelling, a sign of coccidiosis. It is hard to do a necropsy on your first chicken, especially if you have never butchered chickens, but a good way to learn. Many chickens die around this age for no apparent reason. Sorry for your loss.
Edited by Eggcessive - 6/4/16 at 5:25pm
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 


Thank you very much for the reply and good advice.  I will give them a call today and see what they say.  I don't think I'm going to be able to do it myself (she was a pet, and I don't do any butchering), so I will leave it to the experts.  Thanks for the condolences, also.  All the other girls still look happy and healthy today, and are eating and laying well, for what that's worth.

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