2 dead chickens- HELP!!


12 Years
Mar 9, 2007
North East Texas
Came home from sring break vacation to 2 dead hens.

My neughboor was watcing m chickens for me. she always watches them when we go places. She has chickens herself. I am so sad. She says all chickens seemed ok and normal everyday, both times a day she went over. She had to go over twice a day becasue have 4 week olds in the inside myhouse brooder and they need checked multiple times aday.
Anyways. She says thursdy morning there were 2 of the hens outside laying by the coop dead. she says they didn;t looked pecked or anything. I am so sad. And I don't know why they died and that troubles me alot. They were moultig so maye it was moulting issues. These 2 hens were pretty close to the top of the pecking order, 3rd ad 4rth from the top(out of 10 total).
I have some chicken antibiotics and I am wondering if I ought to treat all the hens just in czse it was an illness?
What do you all think?
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I am very sorry for your loss.

Please do not routinely treat your chickens with an antibiotic. Unless you know for sure you have a bacterial infection in your flock antibiotics will do nothing for the problem. For example a virus is not treated with an antibiotic. Improper use of anitbiotics is one of the ways we get super strains of bacteria that can not be treated easily.

I know it is hard to accept because we always want to know why. Sometimes chickens die for no reason. The life cycle just comes to a natural end.

Again, I am sorry you lost your hens.
How closely did she look at them? Did she look under their feathers for any punctures or wounds?

Maybe a dog could have mauled them? When our dog got in with the chicks a few years back, all the chicks were "played" with to death, no very obvious teeth marks or blood. Sometimes, predators like weasels, leave a whole dead bird with just a couple of small puncture wound in the neck.

Sometimes chickens do die of unknown causes, but I find it odd that "two" of your hens would be found dead "outside" their coop.

Look in the coop for a means of something to get in, or a way for your hens to get out. Somehow your ladies got out, either in the mouth of a predator or finding a hole themselves.

I think that upon closer examination, you will find wounds or perhaps an illness going around your flock. It is just too coincidental to me, that two would die the same morning/night and outside the coop.

Sorry for your loss, hopefully we can figure this out.

Yeah, She didn;t examine them at all, she just took them out and placed them in a bag. I was too upset to look at them. I tried and they were very stinky and decomposed already so I couldnt bring myslef to examine them. They were both inside the run attatched to the coop. So something got inside or there was an illness I guess. I checked and there is no tears or rips in te chicken wire around the completyt enclosed run. There was a small area not enclosed at the top of the run(about a 6 in in height and 4 foot in length area at the very top of the run(about 4 foot high of the ground on one side and 6 foot high on the other side(i have a slanted roof not a A frame style) Today we put chicken wire over it in case something got in.)
I think the other chickens may be moulting too, could that have caused death? How can you tell if they are moulting, my older chickens are a little over 1 year old now.
It is good that you covered the exposed area, perhaps it will prevent further mishaps. If there are no other incidents, perhaps it was just an isolated case.

It is always best to examine the deceased. I know it may be gruesome, but the corpses are usually the best evidence as to what happened. Next time you talk to your neighbor, ask her to place the birds in a secure bag and then place the bag in the freezer until your return. This will severely slow down the decay process and make it much easier to examine the birds(less smell) upon your return.

I hope it does not happen again, just advice for the next time if it does happen again. I hope covering the hole, fixed the problem.

Just in case, did the bodies at least feel the right weight? Could something have scared them to death? Hard to get leads on what went on without seeing where the bodies were and examining the bodies.

I doubt it was an illness if all your other birds are happy and peppy. Did it get hot out?

I entirely agree with missprissy about antibiotics. If you use them as a "preventave", they won't work for you when you really need them because the bacteria will be resistant.

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