Buffy died suddenly ...what next?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tananaBrian, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. tananaBrian

    tananaBrian Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2011
    Hi,

    New to chickens here, and our chickens are 8 months old now. They've all been producing very well (4 chickens, average 21 eggs/week) and all appeared health ...but one of the two buff orpingtons was found dead this morning. Is there anything I can do to determine what killed her? I worry that the if it's a disease problem, then maybe the others might be at risk? These chicks came from a professional online chick producer and we've had them since they were 3 days old. This one was a little smaller than the others and also took longer to mature by about a month, and her comb has never been as deep red as the other ...hers has always been a bit pinkish ...but nearly as dark as the other. Not sure if that indicates anything, but she's been that way for a long time and has always been quite healthy.

    In any case, since I'm at work, I had my son put her in a bag and then into a corner of the garage where it's about 40 degrees all the time. It's funny too since we've been having cold weather (daily minus 15 up to around zero) and it just warmed up to 17 as of today. They are in an insulated coop and when it gets to zero or colder, I have a 250W red heat lamp that runs on a 50% duty cycle 24/7 in the coop. The coop is 4x6. I've been "deep bedding", but shoveling out larger clumps of poo. The water is on a heated base that keeps it at around 40 degrees. Sometimes the waterer gets a little slimy but when I fill it once a week, I wash it ...sometimes with just hot water, sometimes with dish soap (rinsed well). They are on a 20% layer feed that's made locally for Alaska.

    What should I check on her to see what killed her? Should I worry about the other chickens? It's not really possible to clean out and disinfect the coop at this time of year...

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  2. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry about Buffy. I can't help in the diagnosis, but one thing to do in the future is get unfiltered apple cider vinegar, I use around a tablespoon per gallon in the drinking water. It keeps the water from getting slimy and it's good for the birds insides.

    Also, changing only once a week seems too long to me, you don't want the water to start getting parasites or anything living in it. Chicks are dirty, they'll get poop on their beaks and then dip their beaks in the water... I try to change the water once a day, but I have a small waterer. (one gallon, but I just put about 1/3 gallon each day).
     
  3. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm so sorry to hear about Buffy too... I read very recently about putting a VERY small amount of bleach into their drinking water - a quarter of a teaspoonful per gallon of water to stop the algae and what I read seems to make a lot of sense - it can help with keeping the chickens healthy too!

    I will admit I was very surprised to read about using bleach in the drinking water - if was however very informative to me - I don't use a deep litter method - I clean out entirely at least three times a week - that is my choice, my neighbours use a deep litter method but I am concerned about the amount of ammonia that can build up in the coop - also my ducks and geese will venture into the chicken coop whenever it is raining and you can well imagine the extra mess.

    It gets very cold here in the Winter and I don't insulate the coop - all of mine survive very well despite the adverse conditions - they eat a proprietary feed and maize ( corn) as their standard diet.

    Sometimes chickens die for reasons that we will never understand - stress, illness ... the list goes on.... I would suggest you replenish their water supply daily - whether you use a solution of ACV or bleach or nothing at all in the water - the water gets messy with food deposits and the occasion poop - from your own chickens or wild birds that can access their accommodation.

    I can only wish you well and am so sorry to hear of your loss!

    Suzie
     
  4. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

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    Fox Valley, IL
    My Coop

    Not really surprising. We use it in human drinking water. (Bleach is a 10% Chlorine solution, and we put chlorine in our drinking water).
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sometimes hens die. If everyone else looks and acts fine, don't worry about it.
     
  6. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My guess is that she could have been egg bound. It's usually fairly sudden and acute so we can't always catch it. I'd look her over real good and check for wounds. Also feel her breast and bottom because emaciation and/or swelling of the abdomen can be an indication of something else. Make sure all your hens have a nice red coloring about them (face, wattles, etc.). I like to see my chickens with tails up (not droopy down) too. Make sure bottoms aren't poopy. Clean them if they are.
     
  7. tananaBrian

    tananaBrian Out Of The Brooder

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    My son was the one that found her and she was still warm, but unresponsive even when he opened an eyelid on her. He said her comb was very pale when he found her. I inspected her when I got home and her vent appeared fine ...no feces or signs of blood or injuries and I couldn't feel anything like an egg still inside her but she was also getting pretty stiff by then. Her crop felt normal and normally sized, no sour smell or anything. I think the pale comb indicates possible internal bleeding though, and that reminded me of the fact that she laid a giant 81 gram egg about a week ago. She was QUITE noisy about it too and she's normally quiet ...we were proud of her and that egg, but now I wonder if it didn't hurt her internally and she later died from it ...maybe injured then re-injured jumping off a roost or something. We'll likely never know, but I'm glad that we see no signs of disease, parasites, or mites in the coop.

    As far as the deep bedding goes, it's partly to give them something to nestle up in curing cold spells when it gets below zero. I've got 2 windows blocked with foam board and 2 windows open for a fair amount of ventilation. There is no smell inside the coop at all, but everything is frozen solid. I remove the larger chunks/piles of poo probably twice a week and add a new layer of bedding (pine shavings and/or straw or a mix) once a week and average about 6" to 8" deep. When it warms up and I notice any kind of poo smell (or ammonia etc) from the coop thawing out, then it'll get entirely emptied into the composter, cleaned up, and filled with all fresh bedding. It's our first time with the chickens, so next summer will be our first warm season with the adult birds in the coop. I plan to clean out the coop regularly and keep all ventilation wide open as soon as we get near or above freezing ...the deep bedding is only for winter when the risk of ammonia (etc?) being in the air from too much poo is minimized by freezing their 'little gifties' solid shortly after they bless us with them.

    I'll start adding the ACV to the waterer... I'd prefer if the waterer was sparkling clean for them. I do rub it down 2X or 3X a week if it looks dirty, then give the waterer a 'quick flip' outside the coop to wash out the dirty water and re-fill with clean from inside its reservoir. The once a week servicing is in addition to that (actually more like every 5 or 6 days since you have to keep the waterer at least 1/3rd full to keep it from freezing on the heated base when it's cooold outside).

    The remaining 3 chickens are laying 3 eggs a day right now... highly productive and seem perfectly healthy. The second buff orpington ("Eggo") keeps standing in the door of the coop or at the top of the ramp looking around. I think she misses Buffy...


    Thanks for all your help!

    Brian
     

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