I have 2 yr. old Barred Rocks. I had them vaccinated for Marek's Disease at hatching. I had 13; not lost a one until 13 days ago. I found a hen, dead, in the coop floor. When going to 'shut them up' for the night, I found another dead hen under the coop. No injuries. They don't look or act sick. Last year I had some problems with mites, I assumed, because pretty often there was blood on the eggs. I've never 'seen' any. I did a mite test I read about that suggested I go out into the coop after dark and use a kleenex to wipe underneath their roost pole. I didn't find any blood. However, last September we completely cleaned out the coop and nesting boxes with a pressure washer, then sprayed with a bleach/water mix. They molted around Nov. or Dec. Their laying picked up after that. However, the one 'symptom' I have noticed is that their egg production has decreased dramatically. Out of a dozen hens, I only get 3-4 a day. They free range almost daily and never wander far...always on our property. I've been reading posts and wonder, if by chance, that the Carolina Wren who built a nest in the coup could be the culprit? She hatched out 3 babies and they should be leaving in a week or so. Like I said, they don't act or look sick. We planned on purchasing a new 1-day old flock of about 10 pullets (keeping them separated in the coop and yard), anyway as their laying has decreased so much. So, I could part with the hens and cull them all, now, if I have to, but I have one rooster and he's the pet. He's such a good rooster. I don't want to lose him. I've read about all these things to do, but where do you buy the products...online? All we have is a 'Tractor Supply.' I wasn't too upset by the first one dying...just thinking it was natural causes, but this second one dying today...really has me worried. Thanks for any help.
Two Hens Dead in 13 Days
My best advise would be to have a necropsy done on one of the dead birds. You would then knoe exactly what killed them and if it is something that will be a danger to the rest of your birds, Most states have labs that will do one for little to no cost.
The chicken is in a trash bag in my trash dumpster. My husband suggested putting it in our freezer, but it already stinks! It was so hot today. No way!! How do you suggest in preserving it. So, you think my local extension office would know who to contact? I have a commitment in the morning till noon, so can't lug a dead hen around with me until after that time.
You do not want to freeze a bird for necropsy. Freezing destroys tissues that are needed for examination. I usually put mine in a sealed plastic bag inside my fridge...but, I can understand your dilema. How about a cooler, on ice with some kind of insulation? Yes, your local extension should be able to help. They can also let you know if your hen is too far decomposed to be a good specimen.