A Hen died and I'm not sure why

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by pepperkorn67, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. pepperkorn67

    pepperkorn67 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2011
    Today I found one of my hens dead in our coop. Here is the back story:

    We have 7 Barred Rock pullets (all our girls will be a year in April) 7 Jersey Giants and one Jersey Giant roo. They live in a 10x10 horse stall and have always seemed to have plenty of room to run around. They have 6 nesting boxes and a big roost and one of our barred rocks enjoys roosting up in the rafters from time to time.

    All of our girls are bald from Rooroo the horny rooster. It's not terrible and I haven't seen any of the girls pecking at each others' bald spots. We also had an egg eating Giant we had to cull in the early fall. We caught her at it and tried to rehabilitate her to no avail. After we went away over Christmas (& had a friend sitting the chickens) we got a little suspicious we had another egg eater.

    soooo... about 2 weeks ago my daughter and I noticed that one of our girls had a bald strip on her neck. It was clean bald - no peck marks and no empty feather holes either - it looked like smooth skin. She might have been a little bit smaller than the others. She was "talking" to us and hanging around next to the rooster -- it looked like for protection. and our Barred Rocks were talking back at her. Both my daughter and I felt like she was tattling on them and they were yelling at her. I wondered if she might have been the egg eater by the way she was acting and the way the other girls pushed her around when she got on the roost outside the nesting boxes. (The girls also have gotten really protective of their eggs even when I collect them.)

    This afternoon I went to collect the eggs and I found 'bald neck' dead under a nesting box. A hen was nesting in the box above her with a broken egg in it (it looked like someone got stopped from eating the egg mid-egg - I've found that before too). Could the girls have killed her? There was no blood or peck marks on her - she was not egg bound - she was acting completely normally this morning. and I've kept a special eye on her because I was worried she was an egg eater OR that the missing feathers meant something.

    She had no mites that I could see... I have no idea -- I mean do chickens have freak accidents? I didn't check her out too thoroughly - just her vent and her feathers for obvious mites. Could the girls have scared her to death? I wish I had a pullet cam to figure out what happened. They did get some free time outside during the warm weather we had the other day - other than that it's been a bad week for getting out. I gave them no special treats or different feed... She was eating well enough - again I was keeping an eye on her to see if she was getting pushed around.

    Any thoughts or might this just be one of those things? Sorry this is kind of inarticulate... I'm still in shock.
     
  2. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow. I would be in shock, too! Any possible way she might have broken her neck during a fall or fly-down? I've read of that happening. They do have freak accidents that way.

    I haven't heard of other hens "punishing" one for egg-eating, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be true.

    I had a six-month-old hen keel over dead one Christmas afternoon after seeming fine in the morning, so I think anything can happen. Very sorry for your loss.
     
  3. jlovelady

    jlovelady Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2012
    What has she been eating? I know that could be a little of everything if she was free range or day range
     
  4. pepperkorn67

    pepperkorn67 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2011
    I feed them Layena crumbles available always in the feeder. Morning & late afternoon I throw about 3 cups of scratch on the the ground and about a cup or more of grit.

    SOMEONE has been crapping in one of the water feeders the past two days - I change it every time I've discovered it (they get fresh water morning and late afternoon) and the other is always clean so fresh water is accessible at all times.
     
  5. pepperkorn67

    pepperkorn67 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2011
    Oh -- and I'm not sure what she might have gotten into outside.... but I can't imagine anything that different from always. We like to give them foraging time once a day but most stuff is dead now (we're in NJ).
     
  6. pepperkorn67

    pepperkorn67 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2011
    I had time and light to check out the situation more thoroughly. No broken neck. She had that same bare baldness on her butt, but no damage to her skin. I checked hens for mites/lice and no sign (I almost freaked until I noticed it was a dust bath residue) The coop is clean too thank goodness - no red-mite etc.

    I gave them a lot of time to get out and about this morning. I have a pair of hawks in the 'hood I'm freaking out about so I was out there with them!

    They do all seem a little out of sorts. My husband has been away he usually takes morning chicken duty and I do afternoon. I think Rooroo misses him - he's getting aggressive with me - I'm so glad he just wimps out when I stand up to him arms akimbo -- he's such a beautiful clown

    SO - I just wanted to say thanks to all who post here past and present. I saw a bunch of old threads with the same thing - just seems like a healthy chicken ups and dies. There are lots of reasons and something was wrong with my girl -- otherwise why would I have been watching her? Also when I found her she was warm but ZERO color... I'm not sure if that's normal because I've only seen exsanguinated dead chicken... but it leads me to believe she had a tumor or something internally and she bled out.

    It hard to shake the bad mom feeling, but the threads of the past really helped - as does expounding here :p
    Thank you my chicken therapy session mates!!
     

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