An unexpected death?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickyMomm, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. ChickyMomm

    ChickyMomm Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 9, 2013
    Hello all! I have a problem that I never actually saw coming... I found one of my hens dead this morning in the old fashioned rubber chicken pose and frozen solid. I'm wondering if you guys could maybe help me come up with an explanation for this? I have a few theories as to why she's dead, but maybe you guys know more than me.

    Theory number 1: For the first time ever living where I am ( North-Eastern Massachussetts), I heard the calls of two Great Horned Owls last night. One was calling out, and another was responding. Because of the fact I've lived here for 15 years, and now suddenly after I hear owls calling in the night before the morning I find a hen dead is kind of suspicious. The only thing wrong with it is that there was absolutely zero indication she was attacked by them. I almost want to pin it on them, because they are known for taking smaller animals than them, and I know my hens wouldn't stand a chance against those pointy talons.

    Theory number 2: Our water bowl repeatedly freezes solid over and over, and I'm wondering if it was dehydration? I every so often get to points where I'm extremely busy and am guilty of going a day or so without giving them fresh water, and I'd imagine if it freezes, they have no way of getting any hydration in them. The problem with this theory though, is that she looked completely healthy, and none of the other hens are showing signs of dehydration, weakness, or anything discomfort, so I'm not understanding why just one of them basically fell over and died. I'm not saying that I never give them water, because I'm actually very on top of that besides the points in time where I physically can't be there to give it to them. In this case, they were well hydrated.

    Theory number 3: I'm wondering if she literally just froze? Did it get so cold that she couldn't handle even standing? I just find it very hard to believe she could have fallen over with no explanation and died. All of the other hens are dealing with the cold just fine, so I'm not sure why this happened.

    If any of you could help me figure this out, it would be great so I could maybe prevent it from happening again! Thanks!
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 7, 2011
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Hello - sorry for your loss [​IMG]

    You don't say how old your ladies are - could it be 'old age'?
    Of your theories - I think the owls are blameless. They wouldn't leave food behind after killing it.
    Dehydration is a possibility, although it usually takes a while. Try a heated water container. APC puts out a 3 gallon model for a reasonable price. That way you don't have to worry for a couple of days and the girls won't suffer.
    I think freezing is also unlikely, possible but unlikely.
    Chickens drop dead suddenly for no apparent cause. Short of having a necropsy done, you may never know.
    As long as the others are all well and not distressed, I think you have to chalk it up to 'cause of death unknown'.
    Sorry I can't be more helpful,
    Quote: [​IMG]
  3. ChickyMomm

    ChickyMomm Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 9, 2013
    Thank you for suggesting stuff, anyway!
    And she was a little less than 2 years old, so I doubt it's old age. None of them are older than 2.

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