Dead Hen with Bloody Vent, others at risk?


11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
Evant, Texas
This is my first time on here. I am living with my mother and help feed animals. I do not know any standards on anything country. I'm a city girl learning to be country. I need your help. The other day I found a dead baby chick. Nothing looked abnormal to me. Except she was on her side, stiff, and a wing up in the air. We have been having stormy weather here in Texas. So I asked my mother what she thought might have been wrong and she said chickens are stupid and look up into the rain and drown. My mother didn't get a chance to look at it because I buried the baby chick. Well, now today I go outside and see our hen laying in the pin. I went to check on her because the other hens were pecking at her. I realised she was dead. Yesterday she was fine. Except, I didn't like the way the hens look. They are feed once a day with chicken scratch. I always make sure they have fresh water. But these hens, mostly it was jumba (the white dead chicken) and black (the other hen). Well, Black has bald spots on her chest. Not a blister, I don't think. But Jumba was beautiful. She did however have a dirty bottom. Can't tell on Black. I don't know what kind of chickens are but I took pictures of them for you. Yes, even of dead Jumba. My mother says chickens sometimes peck their feathers off. I am sure she is just telling me nice things and not what is really going on. I need to know this stuff since I am going to go to college and apply for poultry food inspector. Anyways, I think the sickness has to be because we just put the scratch on the ground. And the chickens, they poop alot, everywhere. So I know it can't be healthy for them to eat off the ground, right? I saw pictures of hanging food containers and water, is that ideal? Or is scratch supposed to be on the ground? Well, now we are building a huge chicken coupe fence thing for them all. So we have kept them in the pin for 2 weeks now, not letting them out because they tend to run off. I am seriously worried that this is contagious to other hens and our rooster and baby chickens which we have separated and our ducklings as well. I am at a loss as to what to do. Or what is going on and how I can solve this issue of falling hens. Please help. I have pics to post and I would very much love to hear any suggestions and diagnosis. Oops, can't figure out how to add them. I will add with request and someone telling me how to add images if you don't mind. Thanks.


Human Encyclopedia
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
Hello and welcome... I am sorry I missed you in chat (when I came back from the baking project I was busy with you had already left)
Feeding your birds only scratch (which is basically a "treat" and not nutricious blanced feed ration at all) is probably your primary problem. Please find a feed store and get a proper layer feed ration for those birds of laying age. If you have younger birds then get the proper age-based ration or for roos then you should get a grower ration (roos do not need the extra calcium in the layer fact so much calcium is very bad for roos or young birds not of laying age). You should offer the feed in a feeder and not on the ground for the reasons you yourself mentioned (also the grains get moldy very quickly which causes mycotoxin which is what I suspect may have been responsible for the birds death). Keep the nesting area clean and dry and feed a proper feed and not scratch (nutritional deficiencies are serious and can kill if they have no other food source such as free ranging). You can give a good poultry supplement to correct any deficiencies they may now be suffering from (look at your feed store for one >rooster booster has a general supplement and is often found at feed stores...get one formulated for chickens and not horses or cattle or anything else ). Many will try and advise you to get Durvet however, this is an electrolyte with vitamins and you should not give this except in specific circumstances where dehydration is suspected or severe stress from heat or shock... Look for a general poultry supplement. Change their water daily.
To post photos you must first upload them to an online photohoster such as photobucket (this is free) and then you can post the URL to the pic or in the case of photobucket account, just copy and paste the last URL under the photo you wish to post and it will appear in your thread.
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13 Years
Jan 18, 2007
You are right to come here to get your questions answered - lots of knowledgeable folks, and if you look in the "Learning Center" at the very top of this page, you can find out a lot.
I won't try to add to dlhunicorn's advice because she knows everything there is to know! However, I did want to say that you may want to invest in a good chicken book - my favorite is Storey's Guide to Chickens, edited by Gail Damerow. It was my bible the first few years I owned chickens.

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