dead meat chick

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by calamityfarm, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. calamityfarm

    calamityfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 20, 2012
    Hi All, I am raising 25 meat chicks (mcmurrey's cross). They are almost 5 weeks old. All has been great till yesterday. I found a dead chick on it's back in the evening. I don't know how long it was there though as I had to leave very early in the morning so hadn't checked since the evening before. This morning when I checked there was another dead chick, flat on it's back. I took it out and photo'ed it exactly as I found it. The only damage it to it's wing bone which is disjointed and popped through the skin. There are also 15 2 week old chicks loose in another part of the green house so I can only imagine if it were anything attacking in there there would be havoc, not just 1 bird with minimal damage. I put the bird in the fridge planning on opening it up to see if I can tell what might have happened. Any ideas what it might be, or what I should look for. If a heart attack would I be able to see any sign in the heart? I know losing meat birds is par for the course, but two in 24 hours raised an alarm. If they were much older I'd just harvest them but I'd like to wait and get roasters if I can. Management wise- I never see them pile up at all, I let them run out of food every afternoon, fresh water always available. plenty of room. I did not get them vaccinated for anything. Any thoughts?
    Thanks so much, Ann
  2. BCMaraniac

    BCMaraniac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2013
    Looks like a "flip", basically sudden cardiac death. This bird probably died from congestive heart failure and/or a abnormal heart rhythm(the rhythm is just my opinion being in the human health care field) If you open the bird, you may find what is known as a pericardial effusion.....there is fluid in the sac around the heart. You may also find a clear yellowish fluid inside the abdominal cavity, known as ascites. Both of these are indicative of congestive heart failure, and may or may not be present. Besides the fluid, the heart may be enlarged, but I think that is hard to determine unless you have looked at a lot of chicken hearts.

    I haven't raised a lot of the Cornish crosses, and I haven't had any flips, but I did have one that I found in congestive heart failure but alive, and processed emergently to salvage some of the meat.....I just skinned and cut out the meat rather that opening the abdominal cavity since it hadn't been fasted.

    I don't know if this bird was a roo or not, but the CHF seems to occur more in them than in pullets. The thought is that they grow faster and therefore are more susceptible.

    One of the things I did with my birds was to keep an eye on the comb color. If one has a pale or bluish comb compared to others, then that would indicate that they aren't getting as much oxygen as they should and should be processed as soon as possible. I would fast it for several hours if it doesn't appear to have difficulty breathing.
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