Dead Chicken - What should I look for?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Ket004, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. Ket004

    Ket004 In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2014
    One of my 7 month old hens randomly died while roosting last night. Found her this morning on the tray below the roost.

    I looked her over for any physical signs of death but didn't really see anything. These are my first chickens and I've raised them all since hatch. It's my first loss.. and I'm not used to the whole dead animal thing yet.. so I didn't really feel around as closely as I could. I did try and feel the crop but it didn't seem abnormally huge or anything.

    Wondering what my next step is or if anyone has any idea on cause of death.

    What I've done already:

    1.) looked at the poop.
    I clean below the roost once every couple days, and there was a couple days worth on there this morning. All normal looking poop. Nothing looks out of the ordinary or of weird consistency. I know for a fact they all sleep on there, so that's everyone's poop.

    2.) Looked at the other girls.
    Everyone else is acting the same as always to my knowledge, running up to me when I get there hoping for treats. On close inspection it may seem they are a tad paler in the face/comb... but half of them are molting right now and the weather has changed to below 20 degrees and rainy/snowy in the last couple weeks. One's tail was a tad lower than normal after she calmed down (realizing I didn't have anything for her..) but it was raining today and she was a little wet?

    They have a covered run and an insulated coop with proper ventilation. Straw is covering the run floor, mix of straw and shavings in the coop.
    Diet hasn't changed. They always have access to the same organic feed along with table scraps/scratch randomly. We always look up stuff to make sure it's safe before we give it to them.

    We did just put in a new metal waterer. One of the heated ones. I personally never saw them drink from it so I'm wondering if she could have been dehydrated?... but we've been refilling it so I can assume they've been drinking it..

    I pulled out the previously used plastic waterer and added some electrolytes and ACV to it, and put that out.

    Anything else I should be doing? Or any ideas on cause of death?
  2. StephensonC

    StephensonC Songster

    Oct 14, 2014
    Richmond, Va
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I wouldn't even know where to begin, but I hope someone comes along with more knowledge and can offer some suggestions for you. I have heard of chickens having a heart attack and dying suddenly.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. It can be common to lose a chicken around the time of laying, from various heart, liver, or kidney diseases. Whenever I change waterers or feeders, I will leave the other one out for awhile to make sure they get used to it. Worms could be a problem, so Valbazen 1/2 ml given orally to each chicken, and repeated in 10 days would be a good treatment. Your state vet can do a necropsy on a refrigerated body, tofind a cause of death, if you lose another. Sorry for your loss.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014

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