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Dying of old age (natural death) symptoms

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!

I am wondering if anyone knows what an old age death looks like as far as symptoms.  I recently purchased a flock of mixed age laying hens from a guy who had some of them for three years.  He told me thatbsome of that flock they inherited from a deceased aunt.  When they got them three years ago they had no idea how old they were, but old enough to be laying.  So it is possible that some of my girls could be at least 4-5 years old.  I have had two of the older looking (judging by toenail length, and the fact that they don't even go in they laying boxes and their vents seem dry) hens just die in their sleep.  The one last night seemed fine all day, at 7:30pm when I gave them their treat to get them rounded back up in their yard she didn't get up.  She was laying under the coop just sitting there.  I tried to coax her with the frozen peas...she didn't even acknowledge them.  No labored breathing, bright eyed, just still.  Then an hour later when I went to close the coop up for the night she was not there...she had moved to one of the shade shelters and was laying under it.  I picked her up, looked her over..again, no sign of trauma, no heavy breathing, crop felt normal.  I put her on a roost in the coop nd thought to myself that she would be dead this morning.  Well she was...it actually looked like she just fell forward off the roost as she diednin her sleep.  Sad, but I don't think she suffered and she didn't struggle. 

So does anyone else have experience with deaths like this...just appears to be old age...

Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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post #2 of 14

Awwww that's very sad. I'm sorry to hear. I haven't had my hens long enough to experience this (only 2 years so far) but thank you for your post. I look forward to seeing what other's post. Thanks for the description so I won't be surprised if it starts to happen over here.

post #3 of 14

Initially I was worried because they didn't seem to be that old, but 6 years can be for some breeds. My mutt birds regularly live to 8 plus, but when they have died they exhibit the signs you are talking about. Are you in an area that is still experiencing the horrid heat? It's possible the strain is to much for the older hens.

"Always do right. This will gratify some, and astonish the rest." -Mark Twain
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"Always do right. This will gratify some, and astonish the rest." -Mark Twain
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

We had very high heat for about 4 days about a week and a half ago.  It is better now.  It is quite possible that the aunt who originally had them could have had them for a while before she died.  They could be quite older.  The one that died last night was a white rock, the other older ones in my flock are RIR, BO and rocks.  In my flock there are at least 3 more that are no longer laying, and just look and seem older than the others.  I have a sneaking suspicion that they are all at least 5 years old.  As long as they are not suffering, I don't mind letting them just grow old and die.  But if they start showing any signs of suffering, dementia, blindness and what not, I will not allow them to suffer and I will cull them.

Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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post #5 of 14

I keep my older non laying girls around until they pass on. They just slow way down. Usually appear to be weak in the legs and lay around alot. They don't seem to forage as actively or eat as much or often, but since they aren't making eggs they don't need to eat as much. They will stop using the roost and lay on the floor. My oldest, a Barred Rock I got as a chick in April 2005, does roost, but waits for me ot lift her off in the mornings. She has a couple of friends that will be close to her during the siesta times of the day. She is our grand old girl. The last hen that passed on, a BO, Bessie, was sitting in her favourite position with her beak resting on the grounhd instead of her body spread out on it's side like most I have found. In my opinion, when you have a community flock with hens hatching and raising their chicks, these older girls have a contriubution to give the flock much like wise old grandparents. JMHO. smile

You guessed it.....Barred Rocks!


Never mess in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup or BBQ sauce!
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You guessed it.....Barred Rocks!


Never mess in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup or BBQ sauce!
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post #6 of 14

I would worm the flock just in case. Were they thin?

Polish, Showgirls, Sultans, Turkens, Frizzles, Silkies...

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Polish, Showgirls, Sultans, Turkens, Frizzles, Silkies...

         ...Welcome to the ƒunny ƒarm!

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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aubreynoramarie 

I would worm the flock just in case. Were they thin?


She was not thin, and none of the others seem to be thin.

Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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post #8 of 14

The majority of my chickens live to be 10-12 years old and they are a good cross section of breeds. The aging process is very gradual. The EE I had that lived to be 18 started sprouting white feathers all around her head. The eggs that she was laying were almost flat (think of a "deflated" egg). She had arthritis in her legs but that started when she was about 12 and progressed very slowly. Their feather quality declines , again, nothing you would see overnight. Usually an old chicken will succumb during a time of stress such as going through a molt, extreme cold or heat.. I used to bring my EE in the house during those times and I saved her from certain death a number of times.  Their immune systems are really weak so they are really susceptible to mites. Almost every old chicken will develop a bad case of scaly mites unless you treat it aggressively. Towards the end, the other chickens may begin picking on and chasing an old chicken, usually into a corner where he or she eventually die if you don't intervene. Something that they generally don't do to chickens that are just plain ill. I think it's their way of hurrying the process along.

Whilst I live, I will crow

Paul S.
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Whilst I live, I will crow

Paul S.
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcatcher 

The majority of my chickens live to be 10-12 years old and they are a good cross section of breeds. The aging process is very gradual. The EE I had that lived to be 18 started sprouting white feathers all around her head. The eggs that she was laying were almost flat (think of a "deflated" egg). She had arthritis in her legs but that started when she was about 12 and progressed very slowly. Their feather quality declines , again, nothing you would see overnight. Usually an old chicken will succumb during a time of stress such as going through a molt, extreme cold or heat.. I used to bring my EE in the house during those times and I saved her from certain death a number of times.  Their immune systems are really weak so they are really susceptible to mites. Almost every old chicken will develop a bad case of scaly mites unless you treat it aggressively. Towards the end, the other chickens may begin picking on and chasing an old chicken, usually into a corner where he or she eventually die if you don't intervene. Something that they generally don't do to chickens that are just plain ill. I think it's their way of hurrying the process along.


Wow...18 years...that is something and a testament to how well you care for them.  I have a feeling that while I "bought" this flock, I really do think in some ways they were being rescued.  I think the people were just "over" taking care of them and had moved on to other things.  I think they are getting more attention, better food and care here at my place.  smile  Wish I knew more about their history, especially the older ones.

Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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Today is a gift that is why it is called the Present.
 

 

 

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post #10 of 14

Very good! I thought I was doing good with mine living 6-7 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcatcher 

The majority of my chickens live to be 10-12 years old and they are a good cross section of breeds. The aging process is very gradual. The EE I had that lived to be 18 started sprouting white feathers all around her head. The eggs that she was laying were almost flat (think of a "deflated" egg). She had arthritis in her legs but that started when she was about 12 and progressed very slowly. Their feather quality declines , again, nothing you would see overnight. Usually an old chicken will succumb during a time of stress such as going through a molt, extreme cold or heat.. I used to bring my EE in the house during those times and I saved her from certain death a number of times.  Their immune systems are really weak so they are really susceptible to mites. Almost every old chicken will develop a bad case of scaly mites unless you treat it aggressively. Towards the end, the other chickens may begin picking on and chasing an old chicken, usually into a corner where he or she eventually die if you don't intervene. Something that they generally don't do to chickens that are just plain ill. I think it's their way of hurrying the process along.

You guessed it.....Barred Rocks!


Never mess in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup or BBQ sauce!
Reply
You guessed it.....Barred Rocks!


Never mess in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup or BBQ sauce!
Reply
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