Came home to a Dead Hen... Not sure what happened

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Hammie, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Hammie

    Hammie New Egg

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    Jun 30, 2016
    Yesterday, I came home from work to let my girls out of their pen, and one of my hens was dead as a rail. They were running free all weekend long. I keep them locked up while I'm at work, since I can't necessarily protect them if I'm not there. So I'm not sure if she had gotten into anything over the weekend?


    All of my girls seemed fine Sunday and Monday morning before I went to work. These girls aren't quite a year old yet. They're right around the year mark though.

    A few weeks ago, we had placed some "littles" outside. They're still separated from the big girls, by a run and chicken wire, but they can all see each other. They were segregated from the big girls COMPLETELY, for about 7 weeks before they got to meet through the coops.


    I am still new at this backyard hen thing. My Big girls (the Rhode Island Reds that are approaching a year old) were my first birds and the ones in the coop with the run are only my 2nd batch of birds.

    I didn't examine the body but she appeared fine. No visible injuries.

    What should I do? Do I need to quarantine the girls and keep them all separated? Any idea on why a hen would suddenly die? She wasn't having bowel issues that we've noticed. She was laying eggs just fine.

    The only thing I know that was "Different" was that the boyfriend put out some diatomaceous earth when we were cleaning poop out of the coops.

    I'm lost on this one and need some advice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I don't use DE because it can be harmful if breathed in. I doubt if that was what killed your hen though. It can be common to lose a chicken now and then. They may have slight symptoms that go unnoticed, but they can also just drop dead sometimes. You can examine the corpse to see if the crop may have been impacted, if they have lost weight which is hard to see through the poofy feathers, check inside the vent for a stuck egg, and look for other problems. The best way to know is to either get the state vet to do a necropsy. You can also do a necropsy at home to visualize the organs, to look at the crop and gizzard contents, look at the intestines for hemorrhage or worms, look for internal laying, note any unusual color of the liver, and look for tumors. There are a lot of online pictures and instructions on doing a necropsy. You can post pictures of your findings and get feed back for any of your findings. I have found blocked gizzards in a few chickens that I have necropsied. It seems that many chickens and roosters many suddenly die of heart problems right around the one year mark. If you need contact info for the state vets or poultry labs let us know. I'm sorry for your loss.
     
  3. Hammie

    Hammie New Egg

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    Jun 30, 2016
    Thanks for the advice. I've located the number for the State vet in Indiana. I will keep a close eye on my other girls. I'm hoping it's just a one bird scenario.
     

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