5mo old hen just died

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BV7, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. BV7

    BV7 In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2008
    We are very new chicken owners. We have 3 (was 4) Black Star hens - 5 months old, 7 Buff Orpington hens, and 1 Buff rooster - 4 months old.

    The hen that died has been laying for over a month. She layed several normal eggs before she began laying ones without shells. She was just beginning to lay normal eggs again. About 3-4 days ago we noticed that she seemed small (weight loss), and was lethargic. She wasn't eating or drinking and wouldn't leave the coop. Yesterday, we noticed she was missing and my 10 year old went searching for her and found her in the weeds sitting on 17 eggs many of which had double or triple yolks inside. We then noticed yellow diarrhea and clear vomiting. We isolated her from the flock last night and found her dead this afternoon.

    I have several questions. First, was this a disease that I should watch for in the other birds, or could it have been a problem with her laying?

    Second, would prophylactic antibiotics be advisable for the other birds?

    Finally, should we eat the eggs of the "healthy" hens until we figure out if it is a disease/illness?

    I appreciate any help that anyone could give me about this.

  2. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Sorry about your hen. Sorry your first post was for such a sad reason. Unless you do a necropsy, you may never know why she died.

    To me, it sounds to me like your hen had some egg laying problems and this may have contributed to her death. Shell-less eggs can happen. But repetitive double and triple yolked eggs are (I think) a sign of some faulty internal works in the hen. I've read that the chicks from these eggs wouldn't have been viable/healthy hatchlings.

    I could guess from the number of eggs she was sitting on that she may have gone broody. Some broodies are notorious for not getting off the nest to eat and drink unless you forceably remove them.

    Personally, I would give the rest of the flock yogurt with active cultures. IMO, antibiotics will only be a waste of money, since you don't know they are sick. Start observing each bird individually for signs of illness.

    Right now it doesn't appear that you have a flock illness, so I would eat the eggs. But you have to decide if you feel comfortable doing that or if you'd rather scramble them for the flock or your other pets.

    If any of the others show signs of illness, vomiting or diarrhea, isolate them immediately. Let us know what you find out.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008

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