Buff Orpingtons and heart attacks? Lone sister help too? Long post.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kisat, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. kisat

    kisat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I couldn't think of a better place for this since I don't think that this would work in the disease section - I don't think it's a disease - and it isn't an emergency since it's simply a question. I'm gonna be all over the place since I'm rushed and a thousand thoughts are running through my head right now so I apologize [​IMG]

    I am curious as to whether this is common, or if anybody out there has experienced this with their Buff Orpington chickens or not.

    Okay, about a year ago my best friend had six chickens and wanted to rid herself of 3 of them - though now she rid herself of the others as well. They were the most rowdy of the bunch in particular that she gave me, which I turned into quite sweet and adorable little ladies. They were Buff Orpington chickens. Three hens. They would've been almost a year by that time. Never really handled as much as I have done now, or given as much attention as I do now though so not too tame. But still, very sweet and friendly [​IMG]

    About a month after we got the chickens - my favorite - passed away. I went to work (used to work as a Nanny) at 3 pm, and when I came home at 5 or so, I saw that she was laying down and I felt like something was wrong. When I went out there, saw her dead. Nothing was wrong. I had read [somewhere] that some chickens become almost predator-like and will start pecking at the dead animal which I didn't want (though I don't believe that since mine have never shown that type of mean attitude) so I quickly removed her from the pen and noticed that nothing was wrong with her so I assumed that it was a heart attack. Also since there was nothing that could've hurt her - also since no damage to her or the other one. She'd been just fine and dandy up until that moment. She woulda been around 1 yr.

    Now, yesterday it happened to the other one that finally! come out of her shell. I've worked with her for a year to stop being so afraid of people and she'd finally started giving attention to me and just all-around, came out of her shell. So yesterday I saw her laying down in their new place we made them and again, felt something was wrong and went out to find her dead. She would've been around 2 yrs now. Once again, there wasn't anything to have hurt them. We do have many predators, but I have dogs that are constantly going out their to roam the yard, also we have never had any problems with them bothering the chickens for some reason, but we do have them predator proofed. Also nothing wrong with her. She had just laid an egg that day, or the day before so I know that wouldn't have been an issue. They didn't seem sick. No bugs. No blood. No disease prevalent. Nothing at all as far as I can figure. They are active, happy, friendly, lovey ladies. They have a healthy diet. They get lots of all around foods, fruits, veggies, grass, greens, all of it. Her sister helped me bury her today. I have never owned chickens before them, but as with any animal - even if I've owned one before, I read up anything and everything I can get my hands on about them and I swear I read somewhere that the Buff Orpingtons in the first couple years, have issues with heart attacks, but is that true?

    Not only wondering about what could've happened, but also what to do about her sister? I feel so bad about her being alone. She knows her sister is gone so I'll see her waling around her coop looking around like she's looking for her sister. She and her sister loved playing tag a lot so I know that she knows that she isn't there. They were very close - as with the other one. I'm just curious about how to make sure she doesn't feel lonely? I placed a stuffed animal in the coop last night, and it seemed like she slept next to it - it's a safe one, she can't harm herself with it, otherwise I wouldn't have put it in there, but I wanted something for her to snuggle on and make sure she was kept warm. It seemed to work to give her something to snuggle against luckily [​IMG] I'm curious about what to do with her for now? Any tips, suggestions on that as well? About introducing another one or two chickens to go with her? I live in Bothell, WA and contacted our city official who told me that we can't have more than 3 chickens so I can only get one or two more. (Our neighbors enjoy them though so I know that they wouldn't have hurt the chickens either.) I know that you have to be careful with that. I'm also curious as to what would go with her better that would be good egg layer, friendly, quiet, and a good winter weatherer?

    http://youtube.com/user/katkisa - a bunch of my videos of my chickens. And my small dog playing with them [​IMG]

    Any help on any of it would be so appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read and help me out [​IMG]

    Kim
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  2. Ma

    Ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, this has recently happened to me. I haven't yet talked about it. This Orpy was my favorite, Lucy.

    One minute she was taking a drink of water, and the next minute she was stone cold dead. I couldn't believe my eyes. I still can't talk about it.

    I researched and found something called, believe it or not, "sudden chicken death". Do a search and you will get educated, I had never heard of such a thing.

    At any rate, I adore my Orpy girls, so much so that I would never own any other breed. The rest of my flock is fine and healthy, laying everyday, no health issues.

    HTH
    Ma
     
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I have been keeping large flocks of buff orps for quite some time now and I have only ever lost two to eggbound problems and a rooster to severe frostbite. I don't think they are succeptable to heart attacks any more than other heavy breed chickens. The main factors that would make them more succeptable would be improper diet and not enough exercise.

    There are way too many things to list here that could cause 'sudden death' of a chicken. From diseases to systemic infections (staphylococcus) to poisoning. The only way to know for sure what your chicken died of is to get a necropsy done to confirm your suspicions.

    I will note that there are usually signs of heart failure in birds. Typically the comb starts losing color when the heart muscles weaken. They evenually turn blue as oxygen deprivation takes over. I've seen this occur with our cornish cross hen we raised to laying age. We knew her heart was failing for several days before she died.

    I am sorry for your losses. It is always painful regardless of cause. :aww

    Jody
     
  4. kisat

    kisat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ma -

    Thank you so much for the reply. I'm so sorry for your chicken dieing right in front of your eyes. That must've been pretty hard. I'm sorry for you loss. I looked that 'sudden chicken death' up. Looks like what might've happened. Since I always watch my chickens from the windows in my house and I must've looked at her only a few hours - maybe less - before I saw her laying there dead.

    I'm with you. Though, I haven't owned any other breed, but still, these girls are wonderful.

    hinkjc -

    Thank you so much for the reply. I think that the place that I read talking about the heart attack was that they said the Buff's were breed more for show and it caused problems with that. I don't know. I think it runs along the lines of some people would believe that ALL pitbulls are mean which isn't true at all. It's subjective information I'd say.

    Well, it isn't cold enough for frostbite (and in the winter I made sure to insulate them well and keep their combs and wattles covered in a light coating of vaseline to make sure they wouldn't dry out). The temp is pretty well. It's in the 50's - 60's. Sunny/rainy. They didn't have worms, their excercise area is quite large - and I let them out for half hour to an hour in our fenced backyard to roam around and eat grass and bugs. Not to mention, as stated, they loved to play tag which meant they loved running around and around their pen - quite a large area they have. It's the corner of our backyard. Maybe a 10' x 12' area?

    Hmm, as you said, too many things to list that could assure anyone that before this they would've been in good health and very happy.

    Well, even though it is a bummer that she died, I've already buried her and won't be doing a necropsy.

    Thanks again to the both of you [​IMG]
     
  5. Tutter

    Tutter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kisat, I'm very sorry for your loss. That's always hard, especially with what one presumes to be young, healthy birds.

    I've not had the problem, though, no. Yes, I've lost buff orpingtons over the years, but never in that way.

    I'm sorry that's not much help.
     
  6. Tutter

    Tutter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ma, I'm so sorry about Lucy. She must have been very special, and I know it was hard for you to go through such a shocking, sad ordeal.

    If you ever want to talk about it, at least you know that the people here understand that she was not, "just a chicken." [​IMG]
     
  7. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would just get one or two laying hens about the size of the survivor. Split the two "new" hens up a few days before putting all three in the coop. It will help avoid the two "new" girls from ganging up on the remaining sister.

    You could also buy young pullets and raise them in the coop with the older Buff, just make sure that they have a place to "get away" if the older hen gets disgruntled and decides to teach them a lesson. I use cattle-fence to pen off one area of my coop when I introduce 2-3 month old youngsters, it just gives them a place to hide from the bigger adults.

    -Kim
     
  8. kisat

    kisat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tutter -

    Thank you very much. I think it bothers me more because of the fact that with something like that; it just happened. I work so hard making sure that they are well fed, well taken care of don't get sick, and then out of nowhere she dies. It's one of those things that makes you feel defeated in a way I guess. Though, since I know it wasn't my fault and that she was a very happy and healthy little lady, I think that has made this not so hard for me. Besides, look at the bright side - I still have her sister [​IMG]

    Wolf-Kim -

    That's what I was thinking. Some that are young enough where the sister would be slightly bigger and less likely to be ganged up on, but yet old enough so that I wouldn't have to worry about caring for babies. There's only one place close to where I live that I've seen breeds chickens, unless I want order some, and that place has all different ages to choose from. I was also thinking of just one at a time might work better too.

    We have cattle fence - we use it for our gardens - so that would be something I could do.

    Thank you so much for the help. I've noticed too that with this sister's passing - Lily - seems to be taking it harder, prob since they lived together the longest. I keep going out there to spend time with her because I see that she keeps laying on the spot that her sister died on. I think she's missing her pretty good, which makes me feel bad, but luckily I saw last night when I went to close her up for the night, that she was snuggling the stuffed animal so I'm glad about that.
     
  9. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    Something else you might consider:
    My hen Dorothy was the last survivor of an older flock, and I didn't want to integrate her into another because she is so sweet I was afraid she'd be the low girl in the pecking order. So, I let her go broody, and when she was happily setting, I slipped a half-dozen fertilized eggs under her. Since she was setting, she didn't want any company from other hens anyway, and she was overjoyed when the little babies popped out from under her! She was a wonderrful momma. The only drawback is that you never know how many roos you are going to get - I got veeeeeeery lucky and only ended up with one...
     
  10. kisat

    kisat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    chickbea -

    Now that's a wonderful idea. I would say you definitely lucked out [​IMG] I don't think that this would work in her case since Elysia (the one that died) was the one that would go broody if I didn't get the eggs out of there quick enough, but Lily has never been that way. I could leave eggs in there for days (which I did accidentally when I had to work some nights and couldn't get out there in time) and she still wouldn't care, she'd probably simply go the the other nest box to start laying [​IMG] For some reason she just isn't the broody type.

    Thanks for the idea though! If she were her sister that would've definitely been an idea to use for me.

    Thanks again [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2008

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