17 week old chicken died suddenly


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jul 15, 2012
Southeast Tennessee
My 17 week old black chicken (with red tips on the breast feathers) died suddenly today. I was out there at 3pm and she was fine. no sign of problems. Comb a bright pink like the rest of my little flock. Then at 4;30 I went out only to find her laying dead and the other 6 were standing around her in a half circle.
I examined her and found no sign of being pecked or bugs of any sort. She was laying on her side eyes closed. And her comb had gone pale pink. No new foods. I give her starter/grower & veggies. Clean water every day and wormed the whole flock two weeks ago.
The only thing different is three days ago I put straw in the pen for bedding instead of the cedar chavings I had been using.
Any ideas? I want to protect my remaining babies.
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We had the same thing happen last year. My daughter came in crying that the dog killed one of the hens. It was not the case, our dog a shih tzu was just playing with it after the fact. No signs of injury’s neck intact no punctures. After reading up on the subject it appears it is fairly common for them to just die before they mature. Most likely some internal organ failed to develop properly.
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Same thing happened here this morning. Speckled Sussex about 4 months old dead without a mark on her. She was fine yesterday evening when I closed them in. She was one of the last to go in because she was gobbling some strawberry tops I'd thrown out. She was a good size, weight and seemed extremely healthy. This morning I opened the coop door and she was dead.

Chicken_Sue: Sounds as if this could be some known issue - but new to me. Could you give more details or maybe point me to the article/post you read?

If I'm doing something wrong, I need to know and quickly before I lose any more birds. Already lost the previous flock to predators and one of the new babies to what I think was coccidiosis. For the first time in 10 years of owning chickens, I'm frustrated with it.

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