Deads chickens. Now what?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 10, 2012
Good morning.

I walk to open the coop this morning and found one of my adult (1 1/2 years old)Buff Brahmas dead. It looked like she had flown out of the coop too fast and smashed into the side of the screened in run.

(she's upside down so you can see her. No apparent injuries but from feel, it doe feel like her neck is at an unnatural angle, bone wise)

Upon further review, the other Buff Brahma is sitting in tone of the nesting boxes. When I picked her up and out, she is lethargic, wouldn't fully stand, just hunched up. She is twitching her head and he eyes are blinking like the wind is blowing into them, sans the wind. I just went back out, 30 minutes later and now, she has her beak facing the sky d doesn't look at me at all:

Two weeks ago, I had a weird thing with a baby Maran who one morning was having trouble standing, and opening one eye well. She died that night:

I don't smell anything and there doesn't appear to be discharge from any of the birds. I do not see anything physically wrong. The two buffs are/were molting and most of the other girls are as well. I have 13 chicks running around from ages 8 weeks to 12 weeks plus a new mama (she is in the house now) with her 7 2-3 week olds. I don't know what to do or what this could be.

The only other chicken who seems to not be acting normal is a big, old Black Jersey Giant. She has issues with her legs and general movement but seems to normally be fine-ish (fox attack). This morning she seems to be a little slower and not walking as well. She has had this issue when the rooster mounts her so I am not 100% sure anything is wrong with her, aside from her constant battle with lice due to dusting difficulties.

Any helps? Advice? I cleaned the coop but...
I am in NY. I called DEC already. It looks like the Black Jersey Giant, definitely has it. It is huddled alone. The Buff in the coop now is bopping his head around like she is after an invisible bug or on drugs. One of my small white sumatras is looking weird too...
UPDATE: The Buff flopped over on its side and started thrashing like she was having a seizure. The other chickens then started pecking at her eyes so I put her out of her misery.
UPDATE: The Buff flopped over on its side and started thrashing like she was having a seizure. The other chickens then started pecking at her eyes so I put her out of her misery.
Sorry for your loss... FYI, the thrashing and seizures were just part of the dying process.

This is a what they often look like before they die.

Thanks Kathy. Thank you for the help with the state info too.

I spoke to our sate vet at Cornell University. $62 for up to 3 birds for the necropsies. I will mail them today. My BJG is looking worse and worse so she might end up joining the two buffs. I am not sure what to do with the rest of the birds. I cleaned out the coop as best as I can without a full wash down which will have to wait until tomorrow/this weekend and added apple cider vinegar to their water, hoping to help just a little. Last night all the birds were fine though so this is really sudden. Here's keeping our fingers crossed.
Another small Sumatra died. It went from being fine to lethargic. From lethargic to no longer being able to do anything but lay on its side 30 minutes) to dead (another 30-45 minutes).

The BJG is still holding on in the backroom bin. She can't stand or support herself but her head seems to have some mobility and she is talking every now and them with a little thrashing when she tries to move. Hopefully she will make it and no one else will die tonight. The white Sumatra is getting mailed to Cornell first thing tomorrow..
Wow, what a terrible day for you. So sorry to hear this. Please do let us know what you learn with the necropsy. Sending good thoughts for the BJG. And thank you for sharing the pictures, this is helpful for those of us who have not seen something like this. I'm sure it's not fun for you to post them.
I will post the necropsy results. Since I wasn't able to get the paperwork printed until after the PO closed, the buffs will not be sent.

The white Sumatra that died at dinner time will be sent.

The BJG died a few minutes ago as well. Hopefully this is the end of it and the necropsy will provide some answers on how to avoid this in the future.
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