Dead hen, no warning signs. Another hen now has runny poo on butt

mom x 1

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 1, 2011
Totally new to chickens. I got three barred rock hens in October and they have done great, until last night. I went out when I got home from work to check on everyone (we also have rabbits) and found one of the hens dead. I checked her over to see if it was any kind of predator but found no sign of an attack. Based on the reading I've done today I decided the sudden death must be from heart failure. Now I'm worried because when I got home today there were no eggs. I normally have 2-3 every day. Then I notice one hen has poo stuck to her fluffy but and the other hen is breathing with her mouth open.

Sorry for the rambling...Here's the symptoms
Sudden Death
Poo on Rump
No eggs
Breathing with mouth open

Are any of these signs of a particular disease or parasite?

Thanks in advance!!
chickens pant. that may explain the open mouth, if its hot where you are.
Do you think the hen that died had laid recently (was she egg-bound)?

We need some long time BYCs to answer here...
She may have overheated. My chicks when hot will have their mouth open to breath (they are panting) to try and cool down....and have been known to not get up and poop where they were laying.
Do they have plenty of shade?
do you have ice in their water, or ice bottles laying out to help them cool down?
Is the runny poop only once in a while, or every poop...
what color is the poop (picture maybe...ya ya i know gross, but it will help)
Is it eating and drinking ok, and is it moving around.
Egg production can go down if hens are stressed, over heated or really cold.
Check to see if they are Egg bound !
First thanks for reading and giving advice

Morning Update...

Hens seem fine, they are both eating, drinking, pecking and moving normaly. I did notice runny poop (black) in the run and I removed it from the pen. To answer some of the questions:

The entire pen except the far corner is shaded.
I didn't know chickens could pant, but I now assume that is what was happening since it is 100+ degrees right now.
The runny poop has only been once in a while and is black (sorry if TMI)
I do put ice in the water in the morning.
I looked at the dead chick to see if she was egg bound, but couldn't tell for sure. What exactly would I see if she were egg bound?
How old are they and where did you get them? 7 months old is about the age to see Avian Leukosis. I had one drop dead from it this winter. In hindsight, of course, she was very thin and probably just hiding her illness for a few weeks before falling off the perch dead.
It is transmitted vertically (through the egg from an infected mother) so if the source of the chicks had it in their flock, it is a possibility.

In my case, I hatched the chick but had gotten the egg from a friend's flock.
Last edited:
MOM X 1...look at this link

shows you all you want to know about chicken poop.. It is a picture chart that shows what is normal and what is not normal.
Every 8-10 poops will be runny and range from butterscotch pudding color to black ( my chicken poop is black when they have been eating
This is called ceacal poop and is very normal.
Thanks for the link mljohnson! I just about lost my lunch
, but it looks as if their poop is normal.

Now off to read about the Avian Lu...
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom