Culled a Hen, Yellow fat deposits all around Heart


9 Years
Sep 18, 2010
Western MT
We culled a hen who had stopped laying well before molt and since molt has gotten white tips on the feathers on her head, wings, and body. She was a black bird. She did not have any lice or mites, The only strange thing we noticed was that she had a layer of yellow fat surrounding her heart. I've read that this could be a sign of chronic URI. We also culled a 5 month old roo a few days before, and he had no such deposits and was healthy as a horse. Both birds went to the dogs.

My concern is that if this is a URI that will keep reappearing in my old birds and passing to my young ones, is the best move to cull every bird? What about my Muscovy ducks?

If neither the culled hen nor the others had actual URI symptoms, I personally would not cull. Despite the doom and gloom I've read about regarding URI's in chickens, I have had mild resp. symptoms run thru my flock with no signif. mortality or drop in production.

Interesting that fatty deposits around heart can be related to URI. I would have thought it just obesity.
Well, we don't give many treats, maybe every 10 days or so, and they are all on layer feed. I had them on 20% all summer to help the chicks grow up strong, they are now back to 16%. She didn't have any abnormal fat deposits anywhere else, so the localized yellow fat around the heart is what concerns me.

No runny noses, coughing, or anything else... it's all just very strange. Egg production is non-existent right now, so I'm trying to figure out what's going on.

Thanks for responding :)
If you haven't seen URI symptoms, then I would say the fat around the heart was not due to URI. I do think obesity in birds can present as fatty deposits only in one or a few areas. It doesn't have to be diffuse fat. I know this is not the most scholarly of references, and it is about parrots, not chickens, but see this link and scroll down to paragraph beginning with "In some cases...."

I think obesity is extremely common in captive animals. It doesn't mean you were feeding anything inappropriate, it just means they live a life of luxury with food always available, which they do not have to work hard to obtain, and they don't run around as much as their wild relatives do.

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