My chicken died suddenly yesterday and I was wondering if anyone here could help me figure out why.
She was a Rhode Island Red. about 1 year old, maybe 8-9 lbs. We kept her with another Red Star in a chicken tractor big enough to comfortably hold 2-3 more hens. Overall pleasant demeanor, if a bit of a loud crower.
Up until today:
Great layer - we have gotten 6+ eggs a week from her for several weeks now. Eggs were large-jumbo size. She appeared to be the "leader" of our 2-chicken coop, but peaceful. We got her about 3 months ago, though, and she has always had small patches of feathers missing on the part of her neck closest to her head. I have been feeding her Southern States layer pellets, as well as free choice grit and oyster shell. I replace the water at least once a day and clean out the watering container with soap every 2-3 days when i notice scum/algae starting.
Woke up fine. I fed her the usual amount at the usual time + water. Weather was sunny and around 80F. not nearly as hot as it's been. Around noon I collected the egg she layed. plenty of food and water left. all poop was normal. Around 5PM noticed that she was sitting in a corner of the pen, very week and tired looking, with a wing flopped down. comb and wattle quite pale. the water was dry. I took her out, tried to give her fresh water, but she didnt take it. was really unresponsive, and a couple minutes later experienced a really horrible spasm and died. The poor dear.
I checked her over for lice - nothing. I did dust them for lice several weeks ago when the other hen had them, but there was nothing now. All the poop looked fine. their coop is fairly clean, and nothing was really out of the ordinary. water was empty, which is strange since there have been much hotter days, and it couldnt have been empty longer than a couple hours at most. plus, the other chicken (1-2 lbs lighter) appears 100% fine. The ONE thing i did notice was that she had lost quite a few feathers on her belly side - under wings, near thighs, etc. I dont regularly pick her up and handle her, and she looks fine from the top/sides, so I didnt see this until now. also, there were no feathers on the ground, and we move the tractor every couple days, so i'd see.
Any ideas on what this couldve been? is dehydration possible? poisoning? could she have fallen and broken something? she perch level of the coop is only about 20" above ground.
anyway, thanks for any help or advice. I'll be monitoring the other one closely for the next few days.
Edited by AaronK - 9/14/09 at 5:59am