Any thoughts on this? Sudden death of young Wellsummer

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jkulp00, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. jkulp00

    jkulp00 In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2012
    Yesterday all of our birds seemed fine. Today I went out to collect eggs and a few were sitting in the nesting boxes. I put my hands under their bottoms to feel for eggs like usual and when I did I realized that one of them was a 36 week old Wellsummer whose eyes were shut and there were no eggs under her. When pushed her to the side to feek for eggs she fell over and started twisting her neck and her feet were curled up. I took her out of the coop and she seemed to not be able to control her head or legs and her wings would occasionally flap then she would lay on her side with a wing extended. I was trying to figure out what to do and she died right there not 10 minutes after I found her. I know for a fact that this bird was acting like her normal self yesterday. She didn'l feel malnourished or have any visible symptoms. Does anyone have ANY ideas? Our other birds seem ok. The neck twisting had me thinking Marek's, but she was a vaccinated chick and our whole flock was vaccinated as chicks so I am not sure that could be the case.

    Anyway, just wondering since I never had anything like this happen before, and so suddenly.
  2. lalaland

    lalaland Crowing

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    I'm so sorry you had that experience.

    The thing about chickens is that they instinctively hide their illnesses - and will "act" normal until they are so seriously ill that they are incapable of acting well. They will even "pretend" eat - pecking at food and it sure looks like they are eating unless you watch really closely and see that they aren't actually putting any food in their mouth. By the time you notice something isn't right, they are usually pretty darn ill.

    WIthout a necropsy, its just about impossible to tell what was going on with her.

    You can keep a close eye on your flock, watching comb color, behavior, eyes and nostrils, amount of food eaten, weight - its a good idea to try to spend time each day observing, and even to pick up each hen at least once a week to do a quick check. When you check, you can look at their eyes, check for mites, etc under the vent, behind the neck. Kind of give them a once over. Roosting time is a good time for this as most are more easily handled then.

    At the least, when it gets dark take a flashlight and check for mites/lice. I'm thinking worms aren't so likely if you feel she was at a good body weight - don't forget that feathers hide the weight which is one of the reasons that it is a good idea to handle your chickens weekly so you can catch weight loss.
  3. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Songster

    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    It sounds like she had a seizure. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss.

  4. jkulp00

    jkulp00 In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2012
    Thanks for the responses. I dust spring and fall for mites and worm at the same time so they are coming due but the nature of how she was moving/struggling to move didn't make me think of a parasite issue. Maybe a seizure or stroke or something? Idk. I'm actually quite glad it killed her bc I had no idea how to help her and we probably would have had to put her down anyway. Learn something new every day with chickens I think.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015

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