Tonight I was counting birds and noticed that our Black Star had some goopy looking stuff on her bum. I saw yesterday that she wasn't as spry as normal, but was busy and didn't get a chance to really check her out. I pulled her off the perch and took her over too the hose to rinse her off and check her out. As I started to clean her I noticed maggots begin to pour our of a hole she had from about an inch above her vent too up a good 2 inches. Her intestines were bulging out, but not actually protruding. I cleaned her as best I could and picked off as many as I could of the maggots. Then I waited until we had tended to the rest of the flocks before proceeding to see if she could be saved.
I got my husband to hold her with her legs spread so I could really examine her. Once her spread her legs I could see she was leaking fluid from her intestines and that she was full of maggots. I could see them crawling under her skin, so I knew she was pretty necrotic. The weird thing was she appeared healthy and had been laying fine until a few days ago. She was three years old and layed 3 to 4 eggs a week. We opted to dispatch her as I felt that trying to keep her was more than either she or I could bare. Honestly, those maggots really grossed me out, but with the leaking intestine I felt there was no chance for survival.
I'm not sure as to what could have caused this. We do have predators around, but they are usually there at night locked out of the coops. We count our chickens so we know if someone (usually broody) is missing and go in search of them. Star had never been broody and appeared to be in the best of health. She was one of the early to bed girls always getting one of the prime spots. She was gorgeous, glossy, and always on the go. Any ideas as to what could have happened? I was thinking a predator got her but I've never seen one bite them just in the belly. I checked her over real well after wards and she had no other marks on her.
We aren't eating her as I just do not eat sick or seriously wounded animals. I'm just curious if this has happened to someone else and what they thought it was. We will be on the lookout for predators, but generally the girls will let us know if one is around as they all gang up on them. They love a good rat smack down, but in the last week or so they haven't had one that I'm aware of and 200+ chickens chasing each other playing keep away with a live kicking Norway rat is pretty noticeable. It's even noticeable when it's a tiny elephant mouse. Also the ground is pretty wet right now and has been for the last several days, so I would have noted any animal tracks as I'm always on the look out for them, and move the traps post hast.
Sorry no pics as currently I am cameraless