Autopsy help for Novice

Gulliver

Hatching
Sep 29, 2020
7
1
5
Hi
One of my chickens took poorly quickly. She was about 22 weeks old and the other 2 chickens of the same breed that we got at the same time are healthy, as are, the other c.30 chickens.

They have recently started to lay and she went in the nesting box at lunch time. Early afternoon she was still there and looked exhausted, I don't know if she had laid an egg or not as there where a couple in there and others had been in and out in the afternoon.
She wasn't egg bound and no sign of mites etc.
I brought her in the house, syringed water, she wouldn't eat or drink herself.
She didn't have impacted crop but when I was giving her water, she took it but when she put her head down, water came out of her beak.
Put her in a dark place but unfortunately she didn't make it.
I carried out a very novice autopsy. It was first one and tried to look up organs etc but difficult as first time.
Unfortunately didn't take photos which would have helped!
Findings where, full Gizzard, crop full of liquid, didn't look like bile. Few egg yolks in waiting by ovaries.
No egg stuck
Vent blue.
Potential poo in vent area but looked cream coloured and creamy texture.
When I cut into the belly area, there was a large layer of yellow flesh/organ. It was about 2 to 3 cm thick. It covered belly area and I can't work out from looking at photos of various chickens insides if that was normal or not. Once cut through I saw the intestines. It covered from bottom to breast ish area.
Apologies as no photos so my question is a hard one.
Has anybody got any idea if what I saw was normal?
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
55,881
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southern Ohio
Most chickens have some fat in the abdomen, but a large amount could be the beginnings of fatty liver disease. What did the liver look like? A tan or splotchy live is diseased. Did you see any yellow fluid come out of the abdomen when you opened it? So sorry for your loss. Sometimes pullets can die close to the point of lay and that might be a heart or other organ problem. The crop may have been a problem. Do you put granite grit out for your chickens separate from their food, to help the gizzard work?
 

Gulliver

Hatching
Sep 29, 2020
7
1
5
Most chickens have some fat in the abdomen, but a large amount could be the beginnings of fatty liver disease. What did the liver look like? A tan or splotchy live is diseased. Did you see any yellow fluid come out of the abdomen when you opened it? So sorry for your loss. Sometimes pullets can die close to the point of lay and that might be a heart or other organ problem. The crop may have been a problem. Do you put granite grit out for your chickens separate from their food, to help the gizzard work?
Hi. They have free access to oyster shells for poultry. They are free range in the day and also have access to poultry feed. Water has cider vinegar with mother in it, and they have limited amounts of corn and spare veg.
I couldn't see anything unusual on the organs but I was comparing to photos on my phone. There was no liquid in the abdomen. The Gizzard appeared compact and had small strands of grass in it, is that normal? When she started to leak water from her beak, I helped to remove some of it, which didn't smell great but before that, there Was no bad smell from her beak. When I opened her up and cut into the crop it released air first and then liquid. It didn't smell bad. I was really surprised at the lack of food in her crop Vs liquid
 
Last edited:

coach723

Free Ranging
Feb 12, 2015
5,738
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North Florida
Was their anything in the digestive tract below the gizzard? I've lost a couple that the gizzard was impacted with no sign of foreign object, just appeared to have stopped working, digestive tract past the gizzard was completely empty. I lost a pullet this spring that was like this, crop backed up, nothing past the gizzard, nothing else looked abnormal at all, she was thin. Yellow was likely abdominal fat, as previously stated. Some birds are more genetically prone to fatty abdomens, but I would look at the diet also. Too many treats (anything other than feed) can contribute, especially corn and sunflower seeds, to abdominal fat, and if they are prone to it by genetics then you have to be more vigilant about limiting those things.
 

Gulliver

Hatching
Sep 29, 2020
7
1
5
Was their anything in the digestive tract below the gizzard? I've lost a couple that the gizzard was impacted with no sign of foreign object, just appeared to have stopped working, digestive tract past the gizzard was completely empty. I lost a pullet this spring that was like this, crop backed up, nothing past the gizzard, nothing else looked abnormal at all, she was thin. Yellow was likely abdominal fat, as previously stated. Some birds are more genetically prone to fatty abdomens, but I would look at the diet also. Too many treats (anything other than feed) can contribute, especially corn and sunflower seeds, to abdominal fat, and if they are prone to it by genetics then you have to be more vigilant about limiting those things.
Hi, I cut into the intestines after opening up the Gizzard and there was substance in there, I assumed that was normal so didn't investigate further.
If the crop was full of water and the Gizzard full, is that the indication that something is blocked, as the water had no where to go?
 

coach723

Free Ranging
Feb 12, 2015
5,738
9,795
561
North Florida
Could have been blocked/impacted, or could have just not been functioning properly due to something else. Digestion will often slow or stop in a sick bird, depending on what is going on. Sometimes a home necropsy will be inconclusive since we can't do labs and can only look for obvious abnormalities. Sometimes the cause is obvious, but not always.
 

Gulliver

Hatching
Sep 29, 2020
7
1
5
Could have been blocked/impacted, or could have just not been functioning properly due to something else. Digestion will often slow or stop in a sick bird, depending on what is going on. Sometimes a home necropsy will be inconclusive since we can't do labs and can only look for obvious abnormalities. Sometimes the cause is obvious, but not always.
Thanks for your responses, it does sound like digestive but cause of it not known. No doubt there will be a next time in losing one of my chickens and I can investigate better then with more knowledge on what to look for, to aid learning.
 

Gulliver

Hatching
Sep 29, 2020
7
1
5
Thanks everybody for your input, very much appreciated. Such a shame she didn't live long but hopefully some knowledge gained from this will help in the future
 

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