Chicken died quickly - what happened???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Orit, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Orit

    Orit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Hi - I'm new to this forum. I began writing this post 20 minutes ago when our hen was in distress but still alive. Then my neighbor rang the bell to tell me that Tonks (our hen) had taken her last breath. [​IMG] At this point it's too late to get advice as to how to help her, but I'm wondering if someone might have some insights as to what happened??? It all happened so quickly!!!

    My hen was seemingly fine a few hours ago when she and the others were roaming the backyard. When I went to herd them into their coop for the night, she didn't come. I found her in the bushes and she wouldn't move. When I picked her up, she didn't resist. I put her down and she hunkered down to the ground again. She was clearly having trouble breathing. Her beak was open and it looked like she was gasping for breath. Here is the information the forum requests:

    1) We were told that she was a New Hampshire, but when we looked at pictures on the internet, she looks like a Rhode Island Red. She was a year and a half old.
    2) She just went into the bushes and hunkered down to the ground. She was clearly having difficulty breathing. Her neck was outstretched, her beak was open, and she was breathing in a very belabored way.
    3) She was only doing this for about an hour - an hour and a half in total. And then she just lay down, closed her eyes, breathed heavily for a few more minutes, and then died. [​IMG] Prior to that, she was roaming the backyard freely.
    4) The remaining 4 hens (2 Delaware, and 2 Plymouth Barred) are fine. They are in their coop now.
    5) No bleeding or signs of broken bones or trauma of any sort.
    6) I have absolutely no idea what may have caused the situation. I am very new to this, so I don't know what the possibilities are. Did she possibly swallow something too big and experience an obstruction?
    7) Earlier today, she was eating the organic chicken ration we buy, as well as scratch. They also had a few vegetable scraps.
    8) As all the hens were out for the day, it's hard to know where the poop is, never mind which chicken it belongs to.
    10 ) Too late to treat [​IMG]
    11) I took a picture of her minutes before she died (when I began this post she was still alive). I'd rather not post it, but can if it would be helpful.
    12) The floor of their coop is right on the ground - at this point, it's just dirt. Their bedding in their roost and egg box is straw/hay.

    One last piece of info - she laid an egg earlier today. She really did seem perfectly fine just a few hours ago. What I want to know if what happened, and if there was anything I could have done to save her?

    Thanks for any advice and wisdom you can send my way.
  2. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I had a RIR hen come running up to be one day , fall over, start gasping and died in my arms before I could get her to the house. She was 4. She had been fine all day, free ranging. Only thing I could think of was heat stress or heart failure. No snakes, no hawks, no nothing.
  3. jwg423

    jwg423 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2011
    I'm sorry for your loss [​IMG]
    Is it possible that she maybe ate something poisonous or something else she just shouldn't have had while out in the yard...
    Do you live close enough to neighbors maybe they treated their yard or flowers/bushes with some sort of chemical, and possibly gotten into your yard somehow?
    I am definitely no expert but I just thought I would try to brainstorm with you...
    I hope you find some answers good luck and again I am sorry for your loss [​IMG]
  4. Orit

    Orit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Thanks for helping brainstorm and for your kind words (I am so sad right now!)! I have no idea if she ate something inappropriate, although I really can't imagine what that could be. I am certain that the neighbors don't use any sort of pesticides or chemicals. Our backyard is a pretty typical backyard with grass, weeds, shrubs and trees. I'm completely at a loss, although it would make sense that she ate/digested something harmful as she didn't have any signs of trauma and she died so quickly, and the other girls are fine.

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