Dead hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mturbutt, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. mturbutt

    mturbutt Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2016
    This is not the post I wanted to start off with. [​IMG]

    I have been preparing a post to show off my first ever coop and new (small) flock, a trio of Partridge Pekin Bantams which we bought 1 week ago after several failed attempts to incubate from our neighbours eggs. Sadly their cock is not doing the business.

    But this morning, I discovered that one of my hens died overnight. She spent most of yesterday in the nesting box and I figured she was laying or maybe even brooding(?). Both hens have been laying well all week and seemed to be happy and bright until yesterday.

    I'm now worried that I've done something wrong or my habitat is incorrect. It was built with larger birds in mind but I fell in love with the bantams.

    Is there anything I can do post-mortem to find out what happened?

    Very sad this morning...
     
  2. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2014
    Sorry to hear that.

    The same thing happened to us this morning. My kids are heart broken :( I came on here to look for answers as well as I didn't see any evidence of illness beforehand and she's only 2.
     
  3. mturbutt

    mturbutt Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2016
    So sorry to hear that. I share your sadness.

    I had a good check and could see no evidence that she was egg bound. A bit of blood around the vent but no blood in any droppings I could find.

    Guess it's just one of those things. [​IMG]
     
  4. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 3, 2016
    I would like to offer some advice but at the moment there seems to be a shortage of information to go on. Many veterinarians will perform a post-mortem on a bird free of charge and could tell you if there was something wrong like an illness or cancer. I am sorry for your losses but to give you an accurate diagnosis of what went wrong I've got to know more about her final hours.
     
  5. Wol1

    Wol1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2014
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    I'm so sorry. It's awful to find one dead. Blood around the vent is interesting. I haven't seen that with my hens. My first thought is that something started the other hens pecking at the vent. If she was having trouble laying an egg, the others may have pecked at the vent. Or sometimes the hens pick at their own vent if they have parasites and are miserable. How old are the hens?What have you been feeding them? Do you trust the person you bought them from? Sometimes people sells hens that have problems, but don't tell the buyer.

    Here are some previous discussions about blood around the vent:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/388124/blood-around-the-vent-area

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/628261/help-blood-around-vent

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/596764/urgent-3-hen-have-bright-red-blood-around-the-vent

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/443831/dry-blood-around-top-and-bottom-of-vent-area

    Contact your local cooperative extension office for information about where you can send the hen for a necropsy to determine the problem. I think they do it for free or a small fee. It's a way to keep tabs on what diseases may be circulating in the state.
     
  6. mturbutt

    mturbutt Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm brand new to this (feels like longer as I've spent many weeks building my "chicken palace" and making it perfect) so please forgive my naivety and long reply.

    I bought the trio last Sunday from a breeder whom I visited personally. The setup is extremely good and he keeps many breeds of full size and bantams in wonderful conditions. He breeds for himself (the family have always kept birds) but sells on the ones he has too many of. These birds were (I understand) hatched last year. He also gave us free choice of the birds and didn't force any particular options on us. On the whole, I felt very comfortable with our decision and the breeder.

    All three have been bright and happy all week and the two hens were both laying every other day. I didn't see any evidence of pecking at each other and I spent a lot of time (forgoing work I needed to do) as they're my new flock.

    The grass in the run had grown 7-8 inches over the weeks of construction but they made short work of getting it down. I have been feeding them layers pellets in a feeder and a hand full of mixed grains into the grass to give them something to peck at. The breeder told me he mixed grain into their pellets to fatten them up a bit so I continued that.

    The weather has been really good here until Friday when the rain set in. The coop is nice and dry and well ventilated with a large window, slot vents near the roof and a close slatted floor which allows airflow underneath as it's raised off the ground. I built it with full-size birds in mind and it's large enough for around 10-12 birds. The three bantams curled up together in one of the three nesting boxes each night and each morning I cleared out any poop from where they'd slept. I'm slightly concerned that they don't seem to be using their perches at all.

    On Saturday morning, my wife saw our fated bird under the coop which didn't run away as she approached. Later the bird was in her nesting box so I assumed she was laying. Later that night I checked on them and all three were curled up together again ready for bed. But by Sunday morning she was dead.

    Whilst I said that I thought there was blood around the vent, I have now checked online and fear that she may have had a prolapsed vent as it looked a lot like the images found on Google. They have fluffy backsides in a ball of feathers so it wasn't apparent to me from general observation. I did notice that her back end was a little more ruffled that the other hen but, as mentioned previously, it had been raining hard and I'd never seen them out in the wet before. I will be a lot more observant in future.
     
  7. Wol1

    Wol1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,
    Just found your reply. I forgot this in my first response: [​IMG]It hurts to lose one.

    A prolapse your first week! I'd had mine 3 years before the first prolapse and I nearly freaked out. [​IMG] Found it before it killed her or others attacked her and managed to get it back in, but..... wow. Not the first-week kind of experience you want someone to have.

    How are the others? Sounds like the breeder was a good choice. I asked because some people get their first chickens at "swap meets" and have bad results since they don't know what to look for.

    Just to "think out loud" a bit (I'm sure you know this stuff, as you've obviously done a lot of preparation): I am a bit concerned about the scratch. It can "dilute" the amount of calcium in their diet. They need calcium for egg formation and the contractions to lay it. But, that's what they were getting previously. Can you check with their previous owner about the ratio of scratch to feed they've been giving them? Do they have oyster shell available? We have 21 hens and they get, maybe, three tablespoons sprinkled around the coop on rainy days to keep them busy or when I want them to fluff up the straw or mix in some fresh straw in the coop. Sometimes I'll give them some if I need to move them (like when I forget to close the gate at night and they get out of the run first thing in the morning and I have to get them back in, fast) In the winter, I give them a handful of corn in the morning in the run to rev up their metabolism and entice them out of the coop. I also give them about a cup of corn spread out in several dishes at bedtime to burn overnight to keep warm when it's really cold (like 0 or below). For awhile, my husband was giving them leftover white rice! We had a lot of soft/no shell eggs and diarrhea before I could get him to STOP already.

    Perhaps you could stop the scratch for awhile until you are sure they're ok. It's hard, but, it's like not feeding cats and dogs lots of scraps from the table or treats all day. Killing them with kindness type of thing. Hard to ignore those pleading eyes. Fresh fruit and vegetables are good treats. They don't get as much scratching around fun, but at least it's a treat. A leftover ear of corn (sans corn) or a slice of melon rind can keep them busy for quite awhile. It can also be great entertainment if it's small enough for them to pick up and they chase each other around to snatch it.

    I also spend WAY more time with my hens than I should. Lots of other things waiting for attention...but they're so much fun (when they're well). [​IMG]

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

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