Could they have starved him?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LTygress, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    I went outside today and noticed my bantam cochin frizzle roo was dead. He was in the corner of the nesting area, on his side. I noticed he had been a little lethargic two days ago and gave him antibiotic injections.

    There is no sign of a predator (they are in a pen with metal sides anyway). And while I do have one chick that has a respiratory infection, the dead roo has no sign of an illness other than being lethargic. He was purchased from someone way back in March, but he was already full grown. I was told he has his marek's vaccine, and he didn't show any signs of paralysis, lesions, etc.

    But then when I picked his body up and looked at him, I noticed he didn't only have an empty crop, it was practically non-existant! And he was INCREDIBLY thin! He's always been hard to catch, and as a frizzle it was hard to monitor his weight by looking at him. But now that I can feel him, touch him, and move the feathers away, I'm pretty sure he died of starvation!

    But he has always tried to eat when I feed the chickens. I always spread the feed out so even the younger chicks can get it, and give them MORE than enough (I always see bulging crops, with LOTS of excess on the ground). So I know it's not a matter of me not feeding them. But I do notice that the other chickens move around a lot when eating, and tend to chase him off a lot. When it's not feeding time, he's usually up high where he can't be chased.

    I know he's the bottom of the pecking order, so the chasing has never been a surprise. But I did always assume he got enough. Now I'm not so sure!

    Could the other chickens actually have forced this little guy to starve to death? He was a bantam, and he was in a mixed pen with both bantam and large fowl. But he was also the newest roo of the group, and never really "accepted" by the others (he came in trying to raise hell, and quickly fell down in pecking order). Could they have starved him?

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Could they? Possibly, but more likely there were other factors involved such as possible parasite infection. If possible it is always a good idea to have several feeding sites so as to assure that the less dominant birds do get enough to eat.
  3. What I do, for those that are lower on the totem pole, is throw a few handfuls of the layer pellets around the coop floor...not only can those that might get chased off, get at the feed, the bedding gets a good turning.

    It sounds more like wasting than it possible that he was starved? Maybe...but like the other OP said, more likely an underlying issue.

    Mareks will cause wasting and can show signs or little to no signs...just to give you one example of an underlying issue.

    It's always a good idea, to have a necropsy done on a bird that dies for undetermined reasons.

    Silkies are prone to mareks more so and I don't know why...not saying it was mareks...just throwing out an idea...

    Sooo sorry for your loss!
    1 person likes this.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I tend to agree that there was some underlying problem, since I have a banty rooster in with a large flock including 6 large fowl roosters, and he has always been low in the pecking order. He is well nourished and healthy, but just stays out of everyone's way. I always have multiple feeding pans of feed and water inside and outside.
  5. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    Well, I was told he had the Marek's vaccine, and based on how old he has to be (I got him full-grown) I don't think he would have developed it this late in life. He had to be at least two years old. Although there IS a chance he could have died simply from old age. While I got him full-grown, I really didn't know his age at all. The person before me could have owned him for several years!

    The good news is, I do already have some of his offspring (including a roo), and I was actually done with him as a breeder and trying to sell him off. He was actually the most-aggressive roo I had, having attacked several people including the neighbor, when he got out one day. So it's really no big loss to me (more of a relief), although it is sad. But mostly, it just stumps me as to what happened.

    If it wasn't starvation, then I'm guessing it had something to do with the current conditions here. It has been raining almost every single day for about two weeks, and the entire yard is one giant mud pit. While they do have a dry place to roost, these silly birds want to roost in the areas that are drenched, and they have no problem just stomping around in the mud, either. Two weeks ago it dropped way down into the 20's here, and late last week it was almost 80 degrees (followed by a low in the 30's Saturday night). The constant extreme temperature fluctuations, combined with the constant-wet conditions, probably contributed to it. And I'm almost certain that's why I have a chick with a respiratory infection right now. Thankfully, there is enough tetracycline for everybody, and the chick showing symptoms is inside, cleaned up, warmed up, and on penicillin instead. I'll keep her inside for four days with a dose of the penicillin every day.

    But I still have no idea about that one roo. I'll have a necropsy done later this week.

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