dead hen, very confused

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ddave, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. ddave

    ddave New Egg

    Oct 10, 2011
    First, let me start off by saying the past 6 months have been so much fun learning about and watching our chickens. That said, it has been no easy task. We've lost 2 to an unknown respiratory disease, 2 to predators, and now I'm not sure how the latest one passed.

    Last week, we had 4 remaining girls (or so we thought). Three of them laying and 1 not laying. Well, turned out she was a he. After calls from neighbors and him getting aggressive, we took him back to the breeder yesterday. 3 days ago, he and another hen attacked what we thought was the head girl. He pulled out some feathers around her comb, and there was a minimal amount of blood which I cleaned up. Her behavior became very strange; she would not get out of the coop (seemed depressed almost), when I took her out she would just stand there and not do much of anything. I didn't have a good feeling this morning when I went to let them out of the coop. She was lying on her side dead. There was a small open would around her leg, but nothing else to speak of. My only thought is that one of the other hens killed her?

    Is this something anyone here has experienced? Any ideas?

  2. heatherkh

    heatherkh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2011
    Clackamas, Oregon
    I don't have an answer for you, but I'm very sorry for your losses!

    When she was just standing there, did she look normal? Or was she kind of "puffed up?" There may have been something else going on with her. Had she been eating/drinking normally??
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  3. Kaeta44

    Kaeta44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry, I can't offer anything but sympathy. If she was being bullied, that would account for her behaviour. I wonder if she just gave up?
  4. Chinchilla2

    Chinchilla2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2011
    Red Rock
    Depending upon how hard he and the other hen attacked the now dead hen in the head, she may have had a brain injury. If she had a slight case of the respiratory disease, this may have led to a thinning in the blood (all them antibodies running around from fighting off being sick) and she did a slow bleed out. It's been known to happen with people, might have happened with her. The symptoms you describe sound similar to what one would expect with a person: okay to start with other with minimal obvious injury, signs of decreased mental awareness and physical activity, then death.

    The injury on the leg may have resulted after she passed. Natural chicken curiosity of the "Can I eat it?" variety.
  5. ddave

    ddave New Egg

    Oct 10, 2011
    Quote:No, she didn't get puffed up after we got rid of the rooster. She looked normal despite her minimal activity. When the rooster was still around, i would let him out into the yard and keep her in the run, and she would puff up and hide her head in the pine shavings while he harassed her from the outside.
  6. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    I'm sorry to hear about the hens you have lost. This loss does seem mysterious. Perhaps the chickens who attacked her sensed she was sick and took the opportunity to take her down a peg. You may never really know why for sure. One thing that comes to mind is Merecks Disease, because scabs or ulcers can form on the legs and it tends to affect chickens under a year old. You could do a search on this sight about it or I think there is some info about it if you click on "Learning Center" above.

    I have read that some states offer free necropsies, I think it may be through the agricultural department, but I am not sure.
  7. AV Brahmas

    AV Brahmas Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 30, 2011
    The Great White North
    Condolences are nice and I'll offer mine. But you lose two chickens to the same unknown respiratory disease and you should be in your car and on your way to the necropsy lab with #3. Likely she was attacked because she was going down and behaving oddly. You need to find out if you have a contagious illness. Also, did you tell the breeder when you brought back the rooster about three birds taking ill? He should know this. It may have come from him in the first place or you may be taking it to him.

    Roosters can be hard on hens but it is not in their best interest to attack and kill them. Call the closest Ag college or university that does vet medicine. They can help you get a handle on what is going on.
  8. ddave

    ddave New Egg

    Oct 10, 2011
    Quote:That makes sense. I didn't see the attack, but a friend did and he said it looked painful...

    thanks for all the replies.
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  10. ddave

    ddave New Egg

    Oct 10, 2011
    Quote:It's been well over 3 months since the sick chickens died. Is it possible for this to be latent in others and not exhibit any symptoms? Can I take in a live bird to get tested? I did tell the breeder that we had 2 from him that had snot bubbles (and ultimately died), and he basically dismissed it as being fed bad feed and not getting enough fiber. We've received all our birds from him too. You are correct, we should have taken the deceased to a vet to figure out what is going on. Thanks for the advice.

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