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Dead chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jessiduck, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. jessiduck

    jessiduck Songster

    Apr 21, 2012
    New York
    Hey all,

    It's been two weeks since I lost my redstart hen. I feel so sad over it still. Her symptoms were only noticeable the night before she died. I assume this is because chickens hide their illnesses when they feel unwell. Anyway, the night before she died she was sleeping out in the pen with her head in her wings. Her comb was grayish and shriveled. She had stopped laying for about 6+ months. I want to know if her death was cause of old age or a disease. Has anyone had a similar problem?
    One of my other hens seems to have the same symptoms. Gray chin flaps, gray comb. This hen stayed in the house a lot so I put food and water in the egg box and she seemed to spring back to life. She's no longer lethargic or in the coop but her comb is still gray.
    I can't help but wonder if the dead hen would have survived had I done the same for her. Like I said before, I did not know she was sick until I went to put her away the night before she died. Yet, I still feel sad… like there was something maybe I could have done [​IMG]. When I opened the coop door the next morning, I found her peacefully on her side. I am glad she did not linger or suffer, but I still feel very upset over her passing. The ground was frozen under 1ft of snow, so she did not have a proper burial [​IMG]. Feeling devastated.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014

  2. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I'm so sorry for your loss! Yes, the ground sure is frozen here, isn't it? :(

    How old was the hen that you lost?
    When you say a grey comb.. do you mean that the comb and wattles are pale, like light pink? Or more blue-ish? Can you get a photo for us?
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Songster

    May 9, 2013
    My condolences it is always heartbreaking to lose a beloved pet.

    Do not blame yourself,birds are very good at hiding all illness/injury,in the bird world illness/injury means death so they are masters at hiding it. Birds are masters at hiding illness,so we have to become detectives in trying to keep them healthy,this is often difficult but i have found daily observation is crucial in discovering any potential issues.

    I daily check color of combs/wattles/crops/poop/vents,and weigh about once a week. If i see a change in anything i start investigating. Some of the more common issues are egg binding,crop issues(impact or sour)diarrhea,vent issues(prolapse,vent gleet)worms,mites/lice,these are usually the first things to look at. If you have introduced new birds then coccidiosis has to be considered. Ovarian cancer is something else to consider,birds over the age of 4 have a 50% increase in developing ovarian cancer. Bluish/purple tinge to combs can mean circulatory issues(heart related)or something as simple as plugged nostrils from feed. Black combs can mean frostbite.

    If you notice sneezing/coughing/discharge from eyes/nostrils then you are probably looking at either a virus or disease,the next step is in determining which one it is as most leave your birds carriers for life.

    As you can see the list is long and these are only a few. If you ever notice any of your girls not looking well,bring them inside,keep them warm and watch them,see if they are eating/drinking,check their poop(condition of poop tells us a lot about what might be going on). If they are not eating/drinking i always recommend tube feeding as birds cannot go without food for any length of time,their bodies require a constant supply of food to fuel their high metabolism without food they become lethargic and usually die. Tube feeding also gives them the fluid they need as again birds cannot go without fluid and become dehydrated very fast.Often just a couple of days without eating/drinking is enough to push them past the point of no return,

    While i cannot say what was wrong with your girl(could have been any of the issues listed)i do know that just the fact that you are on forum looking for answers,tells me you really care about your ladies and in future the above mentioned issues would be where you should start to look.

    Remember you girl with smiles not tears,remember how she would run up to you for those special treats and the special noises she made just for you. You will never forget her and while this does not help your pain,we on this forum understand how you feel as most of us have had one of our girls/boys pass unexpectedly also. Do not dwell on the fact you could not give her a proper burial,this does not matter,you loved her and that is all that counts,she has carried your love for her from this world into the next. She has gone on to become you personal guardian flock angel and will always look after you and her flock mates. I refer to chickens as temporary angels on earth a gift from nature,they are often not here long,but while they are they bring us so much love and joy.

    Remember her with smiles/love....


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