Dead hen -WHY? Please help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hensonly, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. hensonly

    hensonly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    I have golden comets, 9 mos old. About a month ago, the flock pecked one of the hens to death in the space of a couple of hours - all was fine in the am, went out later to check water, hen almost dead in the corner. I went right to the forum, did what y'all suggested (more protein, things to keep them busy, etc.), and all has been well since then, no more picking.

    Now, today everything was fine, then after we walked the dogs this afternoon, I went to make sure their water was still liquid and give them their evening peanuts and sunflower seeds - and there was a hen dead in the run. She wasn't pecked bloody, no apparent injury, just dead. Nobody has been sick, everyone was acting normal this morning - WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED??? Why would a hen just keel over and die?

    Any ideas would be most appreciated. I don't want to lose any more. BTW, I do have two roos (not on purpose!) Could one of them have killed her inadvertently, trying to mate or something? One of them did not much like it when I took her out, though he didn't challenge me, he did think about it.

    Please help!
     
  2. hawtchick

    hawtchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I know that sometimes they can just dies for no apparent reason.
    That happened to us a few months ago.
    It's sad, but sometimes it's a chicken heart attack or something.
    You could always open her up if that would ease your mind and see if there is anything obvious.
    Sorry about your loss.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  3. thkosan

    thkosan Out Of The Brooder

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    May 10, 2008
    Hempstead, TX
    Sorry for the loss of your girl.

    Can you take the hen for a necropsy? Although doing it yourself is an option, you may not have the knowledge to diagnose exactly what caused her death because many diseases present in a variety of ways -- best to get a professional diagnosis. I take all of my dead birds for necropsy. I have had four hens found dead in the time frame and manner you describe -- and all had Mareks disease. Although the presentation is more usually paralysis, these four had full crops and literally keeled over within hours of my having last seen them -- the lesions were on nerves of the heart and lungs. We vaccinate ALL of our chicks for Marek's now. We hatch most of our chicks here, but I just placed an order from McMurray and paid the extra $0.15 for Mareks vaccination (it must be given with 24 hours of hatching). Although this may not be the case with you, you do need to know if there is a communicable disease, and also, a necropsy and knowing what caused the death of your hen will give you a measure of peace of mind. Check the local university -- ours has a poultry diagnostics lab that offers necropsies for $15.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  4. hensonly

    hensonly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Quote:Marek's - boy there's a scary thought! I'll check the university, but I suspect the closest one that would do a chicken necropsy would be Cornell, which is 2-3 hours away... I bet the local extension office would know if there was anywhere closer. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll check it out. And you're right - I wouldn't have a clue what to look for to do it myself.
     
  5. cackleberries

    cackleberries Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 14, 2008
    Arkansas
    So sorry for your loss. I have lost a couple of my girls this way and was able to get a necropsy done by the state of Arkansas for free. I took my girls to my Vet and he had them transported to Little Rock to be checked my girls had a form a phemonia from all this crazy weather. They had no signs 1 min happy next gone [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Check your vet or extension office. I do know they have to be freshly deceased to get the best results
     
  6. thkosan

    thkosan Out Of The Brooder

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    May 10, 2008
    Hempstead, TX
    Oh good point -- they need to be fresh.

    If you will be having the necropsy done within 24 hours, put the hen in the fridge. Otherwise, you can put her in the freezer -- but you will have to defrost before taking her for the necropsy. Mine always seem to keel over on the weekends... so I have to put them in the freezer.
     

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