Cause of death?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by featherfooted, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. featherfooted

    featherfooted Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    This morning when I went out to feed the girls I found one of my 14 week old EEs huddled next to the steps to the coop. She didn't get up whenI walked over to her which isn't like them as they are on the skiddest side. I picked her up and she felt cold and she was breathing hard. I brought her into the house and put her in the bathroom with a heat light on her and the bathroom heater on. This was about 10:30. I checked on her off and on and she seemed to be perking up and looking around, but was still breathing hard. A few minutes ago I checked on her and found her dead. Yesterday she was acting normal. I don't know if she some how got left out last night (my DH lets them out before he goes to work) or what. Usually they all go into the coop themselves and I go out and shut the door. Could a night out on the cold wet ground have killed her? It was in the upper 30s last night and we've had rain up until about noon on sunday. Any ideas what could have kill her. Is there something I need to do to keep this from killing the rest of the flock?
  2. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    I'm so sorry---I have no idea what caused this! [​IMG] I'm sure some of the chicken experts will chime in on this! Sorry! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. Barn Maid Ann

    Barn Maid Ann Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2008
    Punta Gorda, FL
    Awww, I am sorry.
    I lost a hen last year, suddenly. It was during a cold snap. Dummy DH discovered her early in the day, but left her out in the barn. When I got home from work I brought her in, but she did pretty much what yours did: perked up a bit, but died later.
    It is so traumatic when they die suddenly like that. Mine was my favorite little friendly hen. [​IMG]
    Without a necropsy it is hard to tell. After I did some reading, I thought mine may have had an impacted crop. I wasn't on BYC at that time.
  4. kryptoniteqhs

    kryptoniteqhs Rosecomb Rich

    Nov 14, 2008
    Perris, CA
    a lot of people hae been losing chikens from lice and mites. i just found some on my new roo today and am now treating he whole flock and quarantining him! [​IMG]
  5. knitnick

    knitnick New Egg

    Nov 10, 2008
    Springfield, KY
    This sounds very much like what I have experienced with one of my hens yesterday and today. yesterday morning when we went to open up the coop she was asleep in the corner with her head down in the very corner. we picked her up and put her on the step to the coop, as it was just becoming light, thought maybe she was just sleepy. a few minutes later she was lying in the driveway (free range)but ran away when a rooster tried to get on her. later in the day she seemed fine. this morning she was fine too, but by noon she was lying in the coop with her wings out to the sides, breathing hard and dripping a clear yellow fluid from her beak/nose/mouth. I didn't think quickly enough to quarantine her at the time, and she looked worse 15 minutes later, as she was no longer holding her head up. I had to go back to work, and by the time I got home again she was dead, had never moved once she laid her head down. When I went to move the body I found her head /neck area was wet. eyes and ears all looked normal, no swelling or anything, but lots of fluids apparently came out of her respiratory tract. it's been off and on cold/wet here the last week or two, going back and forth between about 50 degrees F and snowing with rain between. could this be related to cold/wet stress; could it be pneumonia? this is our first try at chickens or any type of poultry. Our birds are just around 5 months old, one has begun laying the occasional egg, the rest have not started just yet. They are Americauna's, about 20 total, with 5 of them roosters. (two more roosters are due to go in the freezer soon). they have a nice roomy coop which may still be a bit breezy, and access to free range on our 4.5 acres. all other birds appear to be healthy. anyone have any ideas? I'd hate to lose any more birds to this if it's preventable.
    almost forgot to say we have turkeys too and lost one the previous day to unknown causes, bird was fine in the morning but dead by the time I came home at noon to check on everyone. no apparent signs at all on that bird. neck feathers were flexed open so you could see the skin. same as on the hen. didn't think too much about that until just this second. anyone?
    my thanks in advance for any help anyone could give. I've looked at almost all the online chicken disease descriptions and none match. I'm stumped.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
  6. mychickensrock

    mychickensrock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    We just had a little chicken funeral for our Buff Orp today. She died suddenly kinda like you are describing, just got sick and died all in one day. I've been reading a lot of the posts and it seems like this is happening to a lot of chickens lately. I'm really sorry for your loss.
  7. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Both of you who have lost birds should check to see if there is a University or government lab that will do a free necropsy for you. Check with your State Vet's office or your County Ag Extension office.
    A necropsy may help you determine whether the rest of your flock need treatment of some kind, or not.

    Click on the map on the right side of this page to find your State Vet:

    Read here to see if you can find out anything based on their symptoms:

  8. I lost a hen about 1 month ago. She got listless and I isolated her. The next morning she had expired. I have since lost about three more, but none this sudden. It seems this cold snap business is doing alot of damage. I am getting really wary about my flock and do not allow anyone or birds into my flock. It is closed up tight and no one goes out of it either.
  9. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    I also want to recommend getting a necropsy done. It is like an autopsy for animals. It will help you determine how to care for your remaining flock.
    I live in Northern California and the state picks up the dead bird and takes it to a local University (Davis). I have had a lot of birds die in the last year and found that all but one died of Marek's disease. The symptoms weren't always classic, but now I have a much better idea, when another one of my chickens is coming down with it. Some show no signs, others linger for weeks. I have purchased immunized chicks, immunized my own and some were not immunized.
    I just lost another one today. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
  10. mychickensrock

    mychickensrock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    Buffy died on Saturday and I sent emails to our State Vet about the necropsy (I couldn't bare to do it myself). Monday, they emailed back and said she had been dead to long to do necropsy. She stayed in the fridge (separate fridge from our food and in a sealed bag) the whole time. She's in a grave in the backyard now.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by