Curious pre-death behavior, and position after death

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Country4ever, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    I have mentioned here a short while back that I had an 11 year old hen who got sick. The only thing I could find was mites. I used wood ashes and it took care of the mites. I had her in a dog crate so I could monitor her intake and output. The mites seemed totally gone.
    My theory (besides her being old) was that she was severely anemic from all the mites. She was about the same for 3 and 1/2 weeks. She'd occasionally rally a little and eat a little of the various things I made for her. Mostly, she just rested.

    Anyhow......yesterday, she drank soooooo much water. I got excited, because I thought maybe she was on the mend.

    But last evening when I went out, she was sitting there with her mouth gaping with each breath she took. It wasn't looking good.
    I said my goodbyes. This morning when I went out, she was gone. She was on her back with her legs in the air and her head was laying in all that water she had drank (and obviously spit it back up).

    Have you ever seen a chicken drink so much, right before death? I've had 14 other chickens die over the past 11 years, and nobody was upside down like that. I wonder if she had a seizure? My guess also is that she had cancer of something.

    I know there's alot we just can't know about what is wrong with our chickens, but I'm just curious to understand things.
    I wasn't interested in doing a necropsy.......and haven't done that for my others. Anyhow.......I will miss her. She was one sassy girl. From the start, she seemed to be at the bottom of the pecking order. Her butt has been bare for years, from being pecked on. She would scream and run whenever I would try to pet her. But I have to give her credit for hanging in there. I loved her.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Many animals, no matter what they die of, have a sort of explosion of neural activity as they die. It can be a long illness or a bullet to the brain but the results often look the same --- something like the neural activity equivalent of lightning goes all throughout their nervous system and they have a seizure of sorts or an explosion of activity, like running, struggling, flexing, stretching... It's very, very common.

    Chooks particularly will often leap violently and repeatedly. It's a concern when you behead them too, same thing happens. The same reaction also happens to many humans. One interesting fact is that during brain damage, as neurons die, they undergo an explosion which can effectively blast their information into undamaged brain areas, preventing loss of that information or function; it's recently discovered as far as I know.

    Anyway, the death struggle is common, and usually occurs after they're actually dead; the water is probably explainable by whatever killed her. You may not want to do autopsies etc, which is understandable, but if you have something like leukosis in the flock it's best to know so you can weed it out or not buy from that breeder or hatchery again. At such an advanced age it's not too likely that it was leukosis but there's other things it could have been which you'd be better off knowing about.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Chooks4life.............That makes sense. I knew about the sudden neural activity around death, but totally forgot about it in this case. Thanks for your insights.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    All good, sorry for your loss, forgot to say last time.

    Best wishes.
     
  5. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
     

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