Culled hen today, not sure what was wrong with her

Amberbamber

Hatching
Apr 5, 2021
4
0
6
Today I put down a Rhode Island Red hen, probably 3-5 yrs old (I bought her and 15 others last fall from some boys who said she was "prolly 3." Those chickens have been fine up to this one this week.) I'm hoping she didn't die of something that will take out the rest of my flock... Your experience/opinion is welcome.

For 5 or 6 days, I noticed she separated herself from the rest of the flock/hid in the coop during the day. I hand fed her and made sure there were plenty of water sources around. She stopped going into the coop and slept on the back porch for the last 3 nights. I tried ACV, vitamins, chick feed, eggs, regular food, etc. I checked for mites/lice (none found over the course of several days). She was practically narcoleptic. She slept constantly for the last 2-3 days. I'd pick her up, she'd jerk awake for a second then sleep again. She was on the skinny side, but not totally emaciated or anything. The last 2 days, her poop was a liquid-y yellowish green ick. Today when I picked her up, she would gently shake her head back and forth and then fall back asleep.

I put her down. I had her upside down, and I cut her throat. Blood came out as usual, but also what smelled and looked like liquid poop. She bled out and died fast, but that brown stuff was odd. I have butchered probably 40 chickens at this point, and I haven't had that happen... Upon opening her up, everything inside was yellow/orange. Her liver was paler than our usual, but no worse than a store-bought meat bird. There was no ascites, no broken egg inside. I was fully expecting her to be egg bound, have egg peritonitis, but there was really no evidence of that unless everything looking more yellow than usual is a symptom. I also put down a MEAN rooster right before her, so I had him as a reference. They both had very yellow fat, but everything - every bit of connective tissue, fluid, etc was yellow on her. There were undeveloped eggs in a cluster, but no "in between" or "in development" eggs. Just tiny bb sized or smaller bits. Maybe this will be obvious for some of you, and maybe I'm just not searching the correct terms, but I can't find an illness that fits all of the symptoms. Your opinion is appreciated.

My curiosity on her case is killin' me, but we also just hatched 27 chicks, and I'm looking to keep these babies safe in case what RIR had was contagious... Thanks in advance!
 

Amberbamber

Hatching
Apr 5, 2021
4
0
6
Fatty liver hemorrhagic disease comes to mind. Did you take any pictures of the necropsy?
That may have been it. I did not take photos. Some of the symptoms fit, but she wasn't overweight at all (none of my chickens are), and she didn't have excessive fat in/around her organs. Everything she did have was yellow though. I also didn't notice any blood clots.

All of my chickens free range about 5 acres of woods and pasture, so they're in pretty good shape. I am feeding a mash feed, and I read on one site that the chickens may be picking out the best morsels (corn) and ignoring the rest of the options for more balanced nutrition. I ordered a ton (literally) of this feed and this is my first loss of this kind, but I prefer pelleted feed and will go back to that when we run out.
 

Perfectnoise425

Chirping
Jul 23, 2018
53
124
96
Pennsylvania
I just posted with my gals fatty liver. She had a huge piece of fat stuck to hers. Was there anything in her crop? That would be the brown coming out I suspect. Maybe it was sour and or impacted.
 

Amberbamber

Hatching
Apr 5, 2021
4
0
6
Interesting. My chicken's liver was about that color. Maybe a bit more purple. But it wasn't falling apart. She didn't have that much fat, but all of her insides and organs had a deep yellow tint to them. My kids called it orange. It was like everything she had inside was covered in egg yolk color. Perhaps yours was early stage and mine was late stage. I don't think she would have made it 2 more days...

All of my other chickens are doing fine, so I'm just glad it doesn't appear to be contagious. That was my main concern.
 

Perfectnoise425

Chirping
Jul 23, 2018
53
124
96
Pennsylvania
Interesting. My chicken's liver was about that color. Maybe a bit more purple. But it wasn't falling apart. She didn't have that much fat, but all of her insides and organs had a deep yellow tint to them. My kids called it orange. It was like everything she had inside was covered in egg yolk color. Perhaps yours was early stage and mine was late stage. I don't think she would have made it 2 more days...

All of my other chickens are doing fine, so I'm just glad it doesn't appear to be contagious. That was my main concern.
Maybe you broke a yolk? I sure did. I hope you figure it out! I would also be concerned about Contagion, I have been googling all day to indeed make sure that mine was fatty liver, no one has spoken up either lol.
Suppose you didnt save any of the guts? You didn't say about her crop? Was it empty?
 

Amberbamber

Hatching
Apr 5, 2021
4
0
6
That was another weird thing - there were no yolks to break. She had little bb sized egg-to-be clusters, but no in-between sizes like you usually see.

I didn't open her up all the way to her crop. When I sliced her neck to kill her, brown poo smelling stuff came out. I've never had that happen. I don't *think* I knicked the crop, but even if I did, it's usually grassy and bug-y and full of feed. Not poop sludge. I didn't do a full dissection bc I figured I had enough to go on to get an answer and it was grosssss in there so I was ready to be done. Oops. 🤦

I didn't take any photos, and she's buried now. I usually do take photos but my hands were all dirty, new phone, ❌😆 nope. Hope you get confirmation. Always sad to lose a hen, but a relief when you find out the rest of the flock won't be taken out.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
63,162
56,629
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southern Ohio
It really helps to see pictures. But I performed a necropsy on a hen with what I supposed was fatty liver who was not overweight. Sometimes the liver will be tan or putty colored, and sometimes not. The best necropsies are performed by the state vets who do do histology samples and look at them under a microscope. They also can do testing for certain common diseases. But I have picked up a lot of possible causes and learned a lot with my home necropsies.
 

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