7 mo old pullet died suddenly; what should I be looking for?

Jgrzyosbo

Chirping
Feb 14, 2020
17
24
54
CT
Yesterday my 7 month old SLW looked fine in the morning, and laid a normal egg mid-morning. Early afternoon she looked lethargic and sleepy, then died within an hour or so. I did take her to UCONN for a necropsy, but might not get the preliminary report until Monday. Meanwhile I am overly worried about the rest of my little flock. All 7 look great, but so did Roo until the last hour.

We called her Roo because she was such a big chick, and grew so fast, that we thought she was probably a rooster. But no, at 19 weeks she started laying. She had a big, fat, red rose comb you could see a mile away; when she died it had faded to almost white. Is that normal when they die? The rest of her looked perfect, clean glossy feathers. She was a big girl near the top of the pecking order, no one picked on her. No injuries, no symptoms. 😣

I am heartbroken. But should I be looking out for anything for my other hens?

Thank you for your help and support.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
May 3, 2009
133,671
449,284
2,097
New Jersey
Sorry for your loss. Generally rapid death in apparently healthy birds is not due to an infectious agent. Hopefully the necropsy indicates cause of death.
 

Hei 20

Free Ranging
Oct 8, 2020
1,926
11,078
501
Yesterday my 7 month old SLW looked fine in the morning, and laid a normal egg mid-morning. Early afternoon she looked lethargic and sleepy, then died within an hour or so. I did take her to UCONN for a necropsy, but might not get the preliminary report until Monday. Meanwhile I am overly worried about the rest of my little flock. All 7 look great, but so did Roo until the last hour.

We called her Roo because she was such a big chick, and grew so fast, that we thought she was probably a rooster. But no, at 19 weeks she started laying. She had a big, fat, red rose comb you could see a mile away; when she died it had faded to almost white. Is that normal when they die? The rest of her looked perfect, clean glossy feathers. She was a big girl near the top of the pecking order, no one picked on her. No injuries, no symptoms. 😣

I am heartbroken. But should I be looking out for anything for my other hens?

Thank you for your help and support.
 

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Allthefloofs

Songster
Sep 16, 2020
607
1,465
216
Scottsdale, AZ
We had an 8 month old Buff Orp due very similarly, she slept in my lap while I desperately called vets and died 3 hours after becoming sleepy. Her comb also turned a very light pink, almost ashy. We had her necropsied. She had fatty liver disease and it ruptured her liver so she bled out internally. A necropsy will help you a lot here, if that is something you are in a position to do.
I am so sorry that your girl died, I know from personal experience how upsetting it can be, especially if you don’t know what it is and have fear for your other chickens. I can tell you from our perspective it helped us a lot to have her necropsy and it really helped us decide if there were things we could so differently moving forward for our other girls. You have my sympathy.
 

Jgrzyosbo

Chirping
Feb 14, 2020
17
24
54
CT
We had an 8 month old Buff Orp due very similarly, she slept in my lap while I desperately called vets and died 3 hours after becoming sleepy. Her comb also turned a very light pink, almost ashy. We had her necropsied. She had fatty liver disease and it ruptured her liver so she bled out internally. A necropsy will help you a lot here, if that is something you are in a position to do.
I am so sorry that your girl died, I know from personal experience how upsetting it can be, especially if you don’t know what it is and have fear for your other chickens. I can tell you from our perspective it helped us a lot to have her necropsy and it really helped us decide if there were things we could so differently moving forward for our other girls. You have my sympathy.

Thank you, Floof. I did take her for a necropsy, I am pretty close to the vet lab and they only charge $25. What causes fatty liver?
 

Allthefloofs

Songster
Sep 16, 2020
607
1,465
216
Scottsdale, AZ
Thank you, Floof. I did take her for a necropsy, I am pretty close to the vet lab and they only charge $25. What causes fatty liver?
In our girl it was possibly a couple things. Some lines of Buff orpington are apparently genetically prone to it, the other thing is overeating. At the time we more or less free fed, our vet encouraged us to begin weighing our food to make sure we were not over feeding them. She said some chickens will just over eat on their own if free fed. We had another Buff we we didn’t have necropsied, she may have had the same problem, but it is hard to tell because we thought she might have had heart problems from the beginning. She wound often have episodes where her comb would become very pale and her tail and wings wound droop, for no obvious reason. She died suddenly one night but we didn’t find her until many hours later and she was covered in ants and flies so I didn’t have her necropsied, I just buried her. I saw after I posted that you were having her necropsied, sorry about my bad reading skills. I have a good excuse, I am currently a 4 wk old chick jungle gym/napping apparatus.
Currently we feed our girls about 100-120 grams per chicken and they get pretty close to eating it every day. We rarely have a day they run out. I usually make sure I calculate 100 grams for the light girls and 120 for the big girls.
 

PDXJULES

Crowing
Apr 18, 2020
584
1,542
286
Portland, Oregon USA - 97217
Bummer - so sorry to hear. I lost one last week, one of my best layers - after soft shells, internal laying...and apparent oviduct rupture. Clearly a different cause.

Will look in later to learn what happened to your girl. Meantime, maybe check the run for any kind of mystery/poisonous plant she might have gotten at?
 

Jgrzyosbo

Chirping
Feb 14, 2020
17
24
54
CT
In our girl it was possibly a couple things. Some lines of Buff orpington are apparently genetically prone to it, the other thing is overeating. At the time we more or less free fed, our vet encouraged us to begin weighing our food to make sure we were not over feeding them. She said some chickens will just over eat on their own if free fed. We had another Buff we we didn’t have necropsied, she may have had the same problem, but it is hard to tell because we thought she might have had heart problems from the beginning. She wound often have episodes where her comb would become very pale and her tail and wings wound droop, for no obvious reason. She died suddenly one night but we didn’t find her until many hours later and she was covered in ants and flies so I didn’t have her necropsied, I just buried her. I saw after I posted that you were having her necropsied, sorry about my bad reading skills. I have a good excuse, I am currently a 4 wk old chick jungle gym/napping apparatus.
Currently we feed our girls about 100-120 grams per chicken and they get pretty close to eating it every day. We rarely have a day they run out. I usually make sure I calculate 100 grams for the light girls and 120 for the big girls.

Thanks. Roo could have been overfed, I free feed and Roo as a dominant hen took whatever she wanted. We'll see what the necropsy shows.
 

Jgrzyosbo

Chirping
Feb 14, 2020
17
24
54
CT
Bummer - so sorry to hear. I lost one last week, one of my best layers - after soft shells, internal laying...and apparent oviduct rupture. Clearly a different cause.

Will look in later to learn what happened to your girl. Meantime, maybe check the run for any kind of mystery/poisonous plant she might have gotten at?
Thank you. Nothing growing in the run anymore, and nothing should be able to get in. I will post about the necropsy results when I have them.
 

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