Dead Chicken

tamiep

Songster
Jun 3, 2016
141
91
136
Oswego, IL 60543, USA
I count my chickens/duck every night to make sure that they are all there. A couple of weeks ago, I counted them as they went into the coop and noticed one was missing. I looked around then started searching the coop thinking maybe she went in early. I didn't see her at first but then I noticed black feathers peaking out from under a brown chicken. When I moved her I noticed the black chicken laying flat. Then realized she was dead and stiff, so she's been dead for a good part of the day.

I thought maybe a raccoon got in the coop, though the momma raccoon that lives in the yard has never messed with the chickens during the day, she would just steal eggs when her babies were young. I looked around and found no blood and no sign of any kind of struggle in the coop. I looked at her butt wondering if she might have died from an egg problem. We are only getting at most one egg per day right now from 7 chickens, so I thought maybe that was possible.

Fast forward to tonight. My son shut the chickens in because I was not home, but then I went out and counted them. It's kind of an OCD thing, now. When I opened the door to the area where they lay, there were 5 chickens all packed in there, 3 stacked on open of each other. I have a heat mat on the other side of the coop, but for some reason, this year, they are all wanting to sleep in the laying area. Why are they doing this?

Then the question occurred to me: Could they have smothered that hen?

I do have 2 young girls in the coop who are sleeping on the mat and only the duck who I let in the coop will sleep by them, but they were not in the coop when the black hen died.
 

Farm life101

Songster
Jan 9, 2018
554
518
191
Florida
I count my chickens/duck every night to make sure that they are all there. A couple of weeks ago, I counted them as they went into the coop and noticed one was missing. I looked around then started searching the coop thinking maybe she went in early. I didn't see her at first but then I noticed black feathers peaking out from under a brown chicken. When I moved her I noticed the black chicken laying flat. Then realized she was dead and stiff, so she's been dead for a good part of the day.

I thought maybe a raccoon got in the coop, though the momma raccoon that lives in the yard has never messed with the chickens during the day, she would just steal eggs when her babies were young. I looked around and found no blood and no sign of any kind of struggle in the coop. I looked at her butt wondering if she might have died from an egg problem. We are only getting at most one egg per day right now from 7 chickens, so I thought maybe that was possible.

Fast forward to tonight. My son shut the chickens in because I was not home, but then I went out and counted them. It's kind of an OCD thing, now. When I opened the door to the area where they lay, there were 5 chickens all packed in there, 3 stacked on open of each other. I have a heat mat on the other side of the coop, but for some reason, this year, they are all wanting to sleep in the laying area. Why are they doing this?

Then the question occurred to me: Could they have smothered that hen?

I do have 2 young girls in the coop who are sleeping on the mat and only the duck who I let in the coop will sleep by them, but they were not in the coop when the black hen died.
Its not common but it can happen. did the hen that died seem off at all that day or any other day before she passed? have your chickens been vaccinated for anything yet? have they been de-wormed? where did you get them from I.E a feed store, breeder, or friend? What was her breed? are they free range and if so how many acres do they range and do they have access to any woods?
 

tamiep

Songster
Jun 3, 2016
141
91
136
Oswego, IL 60543, USA
Its not common but it can happen. did the hen that died seem off at all that day or any other day before she passed? have your chickens been vaccinated for anything yet? have they been de-wormed? where did you get them from I.E a feed store, breeder, or friend? What was her breed? are they free range and if so how many acres do they range and do they have access to any woods?

She was a Black Australorp. She was freerange, but within a fenced area. She was fine the day before, I did not notice her come out of the coop that morning, but I was not looking, either, so this might have happened during the night. Nothing was unusual. We did suddenly get cold weather, but as I said, there is a heat mat and I close the coop at night.
 

tamiep

Songster
Jun 3, 2016
141
91
136
Oswego, IL 60543, USA
Its possible that she was crushed.
Your chickens should be roosting now. Do you have a roost bar for them?
A photo of your set up might help us to figure this out.
Sorry you lost your girl!

Thank you. I had a roosting bar in the coop, but none of them ever used it. I put some old milk crates in there, and they were sitting on those. But, suddenly they are all gathering in that cubby.
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,637
8,390
626
Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
My Coop
My Coop
She may have been sick, she may have been egg bound. If these chickens are laying age they should be roosting at night. It is healthier and more sanitary for them.
Why the heating mat? I am farther north than you and have never heated or even insulated my coop.
I stiil would like a picture of your coop setup, inside and out.
Something does not add up.
.
 

tamiep

Songster
Jun 3, 2016
141
91
136
Oswego, IL 60543, USA
She may have been sick, she may have been egg bound. If these chickens are laying age they should be roosting at night. It is healthier and more sanitary for them.
Why the heating mat? I am farther north than you and have never heated or even insulated my coop.
I stiil would like a picture of your coop setup, inside and out.
Something does not add up.
.
I like to provide heat for my girls, if they want to use it. I think it's the humane thing to do. At least they have a choice. This has nothing to do with her dying, nor does my coop setup.
 

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~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~
Aug 18, 2017
5,547
19,908
707
Caliente Nevada
I have learned a lot here @ BYC. Please don’t take offense we try our best to help where we can. People keep chickens differently for different reasons.
I too find it odd that your chickens don’t roost. My roosts are not high at all, I have basically a sleeping box for my hens. The roosts makes cleaning a snap. Keeps their butts clean and it’s easy to do a head count at night. Perhaps they did smother the poor girl dunno.
Maybe you could try a roosting bar to help with there pileup at bedtime. You could even put your mat under the roost so they could choose to be just above it or not. Best wishes
 

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