Concerned about what killed our hen


May 31, 2020
We had to put our sweetest hen, Peggy, out of her misery tonight because she was suffering and would have died soon.

How can we find out what made her get sick? We live outside of portland and are unable to take her to an expensive vet, is there another way you guys know of that could examine her body and give us some info so that we can better keep the rest of our flock healthy? Or something we could do ourselves?

Just some background info - we have 8 hens and Peggy started sneezing about a week ago. For the last five nights we brought her inside to sleep because she seemed to be struggling to breathe, but she was still eating and drinking and laying eggs up until yesterday. After advice from people on here we gave her Nutridrench and VetRx the past three days. After hours of reading threads about respiratory infections, gape worms, and fungal infections I decided to get a dewormer (safeguard). I gave her two doses, one yesterday afternoon and another this afternoon, and today she deteriorated to a point where when the sun went down and all the other hens went to the henhouse, she was laying face down in the chicken run struggling to breathe. We put her out of her misery but want to get her examined to know what happened to make her so sick. I think if it was a respiratory illness the other hens would’ve gotten sick by now too, since I was letting Peggy outside with the other chickens during the day.

Any advice is appreciated. So grateful to be part of this community, we don’t know anyone in real life that has chickens, so this has been such a help for us. Thanks!
I'm sorry about Peggy.

It would be very hard to know what happened unless you had testing/necropsy. Your state lab would give you the best information. You may want to refrigerate the body and give them a call to see what services they can offer you.

Some people do perform their own necropsy if that's something you wish to do. Take photos of the organs, body cavity, etc. With the symptoms you describe we may not be able to help you figure it out, especially if it's respiratory disease, testing would be needed for that. We are just backyard keepers like you, but will try to help if we can.

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