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13 mo old chicken died overnight

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AGCB, May 21, 2016.

  1. AGCB

    AGCB Out Of The Brooder

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    I found 1 dead chicken in the roost this morning. No signs of any trauma. All others are OK, eating and drinking well.

    3 or 4 of the hens have been missing feathers on the back lately, just in front of the tail, not where I see the rooster grab them to mate.

    Egg laying has been down a little for the last 2 weeks but it could be that they are laying out in the big pen (1/2 acre) and I haven't fount the hiding place.

    They are locked in a secure roost at night and come out to a 12x12 pen for a few hours in the morning. I'm hoping that most will get their laying done before going to the big area.

    They had good fresh air last night (window was open) and temp outside was 48F.

    Is there anything I can examine the dead one for clues?

    Thanks
    Aaron
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    You can either do a necropsy yourself, or send a refrigerated body to the state vet for a necropsy to find a cause of death. If you do it yourself, you could look for egg binding, a crop or gizzard blockage, white urates covering any internal organs which would indicate gout or kidney disease, a discolored liver, or internal laying. Taking pictures can help others tell you what you see. Heart or other organ disease can be common in chickens. Sorry for your loss.
     
  3. AGCB

    AGCB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2015
    I did a necropsy and found in the gizzard a 6d bent nail, a bent up old 22 casing and 15 or so pieces of glass chips that had been there for a while because they were rounded like the ones you find on the beach. I suspect she starved to death because of lack of digestion. I did take some pictures if anyone wants to see. Not having done this before, but relying on what I've see when dressing game birds, I think everything else was normal.

    This is an old place and there is lots of old stuff around. Last summer before the fence was increased they were able to run free and probably got into much junk. Where they are now is much cleaner but not totally.

    Thanks
    Aaron
     
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    This is interesting though, so not to be gory or anything, photos will be welcomed. There is surprisingly a name for what she likely suffered from, it is "Hardware Disease" (see links below).
    One thing I have found useful is a magnet on a stick (got mine at Harbor Freight http://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-duty-magnetic-pickup-tool-42288.html) it makes it fairly easy to hopefully locate some metals that the chickens can find and eat. Won't get the glass or shell casings, but may be helpful. It's amazing what they find to swallow.
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2015/05/hardware-disease-in-backyard-chickens.html
    http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2015/07/preventing-hardware-disease-heavy-metal.html
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yes, photos would be appreciated. Was she overly skinny feeling?? If so, then I might agree that she had a blockage. But if not, then I'd opt for organ failure or flying down and hitting a wall (broken neck).

    The missing feathers in front of the tail is very common among hens being bred. Sometimes it indicates overbreeding. But if the feather quality is not the best then even sparse, gentle breeding could cause it. Chicken saddles are often recommended for such birds so that the nails or spurs don't inadvertently break the skin when barebacked...
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  6. AGCB

    AGCB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2015
    I didn't notice any smaller looking hens and I guess I haven't been picking them up for weight checks lately. May have to start that.
    I've included 2 pics, 1 of the hardware found in her gizzard and one of the contents of crop on right and gizzard on left with big stuff removed. You can see more glass beads than what are in the other pic. The nail is about 2 1/4 " long

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Thank you for posting photos.
     
  8. Kaylin

    Kaylin Out Of The Brooder

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    Santa Fe, Texas
    Wow that's crazy. I can't believe she ate a nail that big. Sorry for your loss but thank you for the education.
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    X2.

    -Kathy
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Interesting photos, and thanks for posting those. I live on a very old farm, and over the years we have found glass, metal, plastic, and lots of things. I keep a plastic coffee can with a lid beside my coop to toss in pieces of debris that work their way to the surface of the soil. Since string is also dangerous and ends up in many emergency posts here, I try to remove any from feed bags and burn it. Jewelry is another frequently swallowed item in chickens. I found a nail head in some fresh droppings once.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016

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