6 Years
Jul 23, 2016
northwestern South Carolina
I went out to check food and water this morning and AmiJo, one of my top hens, was dead in the run near the fence. I have checked her for predator damage and have found none. I admit that a few other things have been going on lately that have caused temporary changes but given the odd mix of symptoms I am having a difficult time figuring out what went wrong.
I appreciate any help or ideas ahead of time. I especially would like to hear from other Buff Orpington owners or someone who has lost a hen after similar symptoms. Thanks.
Here are some of the things going on and other things I have noticed.
1) The past week or two has been wheat harvest from the grain field and I have been throwing alot of hay in the run. The hay still contains alot of wheat berries and the chickens love to peck through and scratch to get the treat. However they are hardly even touching the feeder. Maybe I over did it with the hay. I was just trying to get it out and not waste it.,
2) Someone (cannot determine just who but I now suspect Amijo) has been laying soft-shell eggs. At first it was maybe once every two months but in the past 10 days I have found 3.
3) I looked over Amijo and her belly was bald of feathers. A large portion of her underside was only protected by her skin.
4) I have two broody hens who are now raising their chicks. Acorn is one of them and she hatched 6 chicks 5 weeks ago but 2 days ago one went missing. A predator is suspected. Ever since then Acorn has been on edge and behaving differently.
5) It has been hot a few days this past week. It has been reaching almost 90 degrees.
6) I have recently introduced Oregano tea into their water as a antibiotic preventative treatment after reading much about its benefits. This was introduced about 7 - 10 days ago. I don't remember exactly.
7) A simple autopsy to see if she was egg-bound, revealed that she was fat. There was about 3/4" (19mm) layer of fat on her belly.

There is really nothing else that stands out as odd.
Any help is appreciated.
Sometimes chickens die from no apparent reasons. I suspect heart attacks. I would make sure you are offering a water source with no additives as some birds will not drink water that has stuff in it.

Most laying hens have a bald spot underneath from sitting on eggs in the nestboxes. I give my chickens hay all the time.

I don't think you will find an actual reason. If you keep chickens long enough to come to realize about half will just die one day, it's the way of the chicken and to me, much preferred to a lingering illness that requires culling.
Thanks OldHen. Yea, I know that sometime chickens just die for odd reasons and that may be the case here. But if there is something that I did wrong or could have done better I would like to see inputs on that so thank you.,
I will try another waterer but then I do not know how I could medicate.
And as far as hay goes I am not talking about wheat straw that you buy by the bale - that has had all of the wheat berries knocked out of it. I am talking about fresh cut wheat - which still has the wheat berries in it which is therefore also a "treat" as it is a main ingredient in scratch.
Thank you for your advise!

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