Can chickens choke to death?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by North Jax Hens, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. North Jax Hens

    North Jax Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl.
    I came home from work today to find one of my girls laying dead by the feeder. She was fine this morning and seemed healthy in every way. When I pulled her out of the coop she did have a mouth full of food as if she died in the middle of a meal. It was in the high 90's today but they have plenty of shade and fresh water so I'm at a loose as to what caused her to die.
  2. StevieBottom

    StevieBottom Just Hatched

    Jun 2, 2016
    They can! When the crop of a chicken isn't working right, or when there's a lack of water, then this can occur. As to why your chicken died, is a mystery in itself though. Nothing I can think of that you're doing wrong either.

  3. chickengr

    chickengr Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 29, 2014
    my hen choked to death within a few seconds. I was there and couldn't do anything to save her.
  4. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2015
    Yes they can. Sometimes, if they eat too fast, it happens. Fairly common thing to happen.
  5. aceintoledo

    aceintoledo Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 25, 2011
    Went out to feed the girls this morning and there she was by the feeder dead as a door nail. They were all fine when I shut them in last night. Wasn't sure if they could choke to death but I'm reading they can. The other three seem fine and don't act sick or like anything is wrong. I'm a little freaked out though wondering if they could be sick since we do eat the eggs but as I said none of them are acting unusual.
  6. chickengr

    chickengr Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 29, 2014
    fast eaters do choke. sorry for your loss[​IMG]
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    With living animals, anything is possible. Some people on this forum, not just on this thread, have seen chickens choke and I believe it happens. I regularly butcher my chickens and have on different occasions found a plum pit in a chicken’s gizzard. That plum pit made its way through their crop and some internal plumbing all the way to their gizzard without them choking. I still believe it is possible a chicken could choke on something much smaller than a plum pit.

    I’ve found dead hens before with absolutely no sign of what killed them. With one, it could have been that she flew into something getting down from the roost and broke her neck. Maybe others had a stroke or heart attack. I once had a hen die while laying an egg in over 110 degree weather but she had been acting sick. It’s possible your high heat caused enough stress that it triggered something else if she was sick or had a birth defect. Obviously I don’t know what killed yours.

    If it only happens once I’d put it down to when you deal with living animals you sometimes have to deal with dead animals. That’s as true for pet dogs or cats as it is for chickens.

    I suggest you call you county extension office and find out about getting a necropsy. That’s an autopsy for dead chickens. Find out the cost (if any), how to handle the corpse, and where to take it. That usually involves refrigeration, not freezing, and they don’t want you to wait too long so it is still fresh. In some states that’s free or minimal cost, in some it’s more expensive. If it happens again you can decide if you want someone to look inside that chicken and determine what caused it.

    That’s rough, I’m sorry it happened to you. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
  8. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I've had a chicken choke on a whole cherry tomato, run around in panic, collapse, then revive as I grabbed her up and shook the obstruction loose. She has survived the episode to live to age eight.

    Others, I've seen die in front of me when they suddenly quit breathing, usually from complications from illness.

    I also urge you to get a necropsy. It will give you information on how your chicken died that could have implications for your entire flock.
  9. RockyBillyBroome

    RockyBillyBroome Just Hatched

    Mar 15, 2018
    We gave our chicken liquid medicine and somehow she choked to death. We are burying here right now. Anybody know how a chicken can choke on liquid and die?
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    So sorry for your loss. When giving medicine to a chicken, give it a drop or 2 at a time, letting them swallow what is in the beak, between drops. Just like in humans, if the liquid or medicine gets into the airway (trachea) it can cause aspiration.
    RockyBillyBroome likes this.

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