Chicken found dead in nesting box...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bax_attack, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. bax_attack

    bax_attack Out Of The Brooder

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    So my five chickens, 2 RIRs and 3 buff orpingtons, were let out today to roam my back yard like they are every morning. They went out at about 7:00 am and at around 1:30 pm I came home and put them up (because it is hot and they need to shade up, and to let the dog out to do his business). When I came back to let them out for their evening roaming at around 6:30 pm, I found one of my rhode island reds dead in the nesting box. She was turned on her side, and her legs and body were already kind of stiff. Her neck was limp and she was still somewhat warm as if she had died somewhat recently. Her eyes were closed, cloudy and seeping a little. Her comb was dull and discolored. I checked her body for injuries and found none, I also checked her for mites and did not see anything moving around on her. I looked at her vent, and it was slightly red and sticking out a tiny bit more than usual, but if she was egg bound I don't think she would have died from that in less than 5 hours. It did not feel like an egg was stuck above her vent, but I am not sure. I did not see any blood around her vent.

    I picked her up to take her to the coop for the afternoon like I do every day. I grab them by the top of their wings and hold them primarily by their breast bone with my hands over their wings (to keep them from flapping). My hands are never really on their abdomen and I am gentle with them, so I don't think I broke an egg inside of her. Anyway, when I caught them one at a time to put them in the coop this afternoon, everyone seemed fine and healthy. They all ate some food and drank some when they got back in the coop. I went back to work, and when I returned to let everyone out, she was dead.

    Any ideas what could have happened? I've searched the forum some but wasn't sure everyone had provided enough detail. I tried to provide as much detail as possible (time frames, condition of carcass, etc). Let me know if you need any other info and I'll let you know.

    In case it was parasites (which I didn't see) I dusted the whole coop with DE. I'm just shocked because I thought we were taking really good care of these girls, they had been laying 4-5 eggs a day, were eating plenty and had seemed healthy right up until I found her dead today.

    Any advise or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

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    i had this happen with one of my BO. just out of the blue- no symptoms of anything, i never found out why, although it has been suggested a genetic deficiency- hopefully your loss can clarify it...
     
  3. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First of all Welcome to BYC!! [​IMG] So sorry to hear of what happened to your hen! It is always awful to find them like that! Unfortunately we can't always figure out what exactly happened... so many factors. But, the one thing that stood out to me was you said her eyes were seeping a little ... I haven't seen that on any of my birds that died of unknown 'natural' causes. Sometimes the only way to find out is to have an expert look at the bird for you - but that can get pricey. Some folk will do an autopsy of sorts themselves to see if they can notice anything obvious wrong...

    I hope someone who knows more will come along soon and maybe shed some light on your mystery. Once again so sorry and hope you get to figure out what happened.
     
  4. bax_attack

    bax_attack Out Of The Brooder

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    Well after reading around the forum some more, I had considered calling around to vets in town to see about a necropsy (I live in Austin, TX and there are a fair amount of farm wise vets around town) but I had already buried her, and didn't feel like it would be worth disturbing. If I lose another one in a similar fashion, I will definitely pony up the dough for a necropsy.

    I originally had 6 (the dogs broke into the poorly sealed coop, which I have since rebuilt much more sturdily) and when I found the first girl dead due to dog murder she did not appear to have any seepage from her eyes. I found her within about an hour of her death so maybe there was not time for seepage/swelling. I thought maybe this time it was just related to swelling following death, but now I'm not sure and maybe the seepage was a sign of whatever killed her. I just hope whatever it is doesn't end up getting all of our girls. The coop is well ventilated and is cleaned out and given new bedding regularly. There is usually no discernible odor when I am down in the coop collecting eggs, and I haven't seen any bugs/mites around. I am just baffled. Thanks for the replies so far. I will follow up if I find anything out or if I lose any more of my hens (hoping that I don't have to lose any more to find out.)
     
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    You mentioned it was hot, maybe too many hot days in a row - were too much for her.
     
  6. TexasToucan

    TexasToucan Out Of The Brooder

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    I live south of you, just past San Antonio. I know that when the temperatures are 100+ the hens that are still actually trying to lay can get really hot sitting on the nest. Even with plenty of ventilation and a fan blowing, they will be in there panting pretty severely. This year I discovered that when I see a hen trying to lay and getting too hot, I will put some ice cubes in a small ziplock baggie and tuck it under her chest to cool her off. It works, and the hens can lay in more comfort. I had one this year that I discovered as she staggered out of the nest. I rushed her outside and put her on top of an iceblock that was under the mister, and she recovered, but if I wouldn't have been right there, she probably would have died.
     
  7. bax_attack

    bax_attack Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Ok, I think the heat may have been the culprit. I do have good ventilation in my coop, but it just started being super Texas-hot again this week. All summer I have been throwing a big block of ice in the coop with the ladies when I put them up for their afternoon shade. Normally they will all gather around it and sometimes even stand on it. Over the past two weeks the temps have finally started staying below the hundred degree mark so I stopped sticking the ice block in the coop when I noticed that the chickens were staying further away from it like they were getting cold. Yesterday it got back over 100 again, but I forgot to put the ice block out just because I had gotten out of the habit of doing it. I'm a fairly newbie chicken owner (first group, got them in April 2011) and I guess I did not realize that they got even hotter while sitting on the nest trying to lay. Thanks for all the info. Back to daily ice blocks for the ladies to avoid any more heat related casualties.
     
  8. TexasToucan

    TexasToucan Out Of The Brooder

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    Yah, I had already taken down my mister, but the last few days I had to put up a make-shift one just to get through until the highs are back into the 90's. Funny weather -- almost October and highs 100+. Every year I do lose 2-3 birds to the heat, mostly the ones that are over 2 years old. Of course, I have mostly Orpingtons (want a Blue Orpington rooster?) and they don't handle the heat as well as other breeds, but I love them so.
     
  9. jennh

    jennh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2007
    Lititz
    Bo's don't take heat very well. She probably died of heat stroke [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] to you
     
  10. Panamageo

    Panamageo New Egg

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    I just found a hen dead in the box still warm. She was looking around for a spot the past two days and settled in yesterday. She had laid no eggs that I had seen.
    I wonder if an older chicken killed her? Missing feathers from the back of her neck but no puncture wounds.
    I am new to poultry raising but I have learned chickens are mean.
     

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