1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Diagnosis Needed - Dead Hen This morning

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Foristers, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Foristers

    Foristers Chillin' With My Peeps

    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.
     
  2. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Professional in training Premium Member

    16,919
    7,950
    516
    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    casportpony and Foristers like this.
  3. Foristers

    Foristers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you. I had no idea feeding them wheat might kill one of my chickens. She was the largest, laid the second biggest eggs and was (of course) one of only 3 breeding hens (whose fertilized eggs I gather for hatching.) She will be missed.
     
  4. gaylittleswan

    gaylittleswan Out Of The Brooder

    30
    5
    39
    Oct 19, 2014
    Central Florida
    I wanted to mention that the naked belly was normal- I have a Cochin that is broody very often and always has a naked belly whenever she goes through a particularly broody month.
     
    Foristers likes this.
  5. Foristers

    Foristers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. That is good the know. Amijo never went broody, but she was only 11 months old. Perhaps she was preparing to go broody? I dunno.
    Is there another reason that a hen's underbelly might be bald?
    Thanks!
     
  6. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Professional in training Premium Member

    16,919
    7,950
    516
    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    mites and or lice can cause itching..which can lead to pecking to scratch, which could cause them to pull their feathers out too.
     
    Foristers likes this.
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,953
    2,929
    471
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Did you examine her gizzard and crop when you did the necropsy? Wheat berries seem a little hard and large to digest, but I may be wrong. Anyway, I have lost a couple of hens to gizzard impaction. One had an empty crop, but the gizzard was full of sunflower hulls. The other had both an impacted crop and gizzard from eating dried weeds and other debris, though she always had access to feed, grit, and water in multiple places. Sorry for your loss. A profession vet necropsy sometimes can give good answers.
     
    Foristers likes this.
  8. Foristers

    Foristers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hmm. Poor girl.
    I check them when I weigh them and I have never seen mites or lice but maybe they were hiding. I don't know.

    I use Red Lake DE (which says it is Food Codex Grade, whatever that is) in the bedding, nesting boxes and in the areas where they dust bathe. Recently I have read that DE is garbage, after years and years of reading about how highly people praised its use.
     
  9. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Professional in training Premium Member

    16,919
    7,950
    516
    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    DE will not keep bugs away nor will it kill any.
     
    Foristers likes this.
  10. Foristers

    Foristers Chillin' With My Peeps

    I kind of felt around her neck but honestly I was not very intentional. By that time the flies were getting bad and I was still a little emotional and upset.
    You know I have 2 runts that lay small eggs, are mean to the rest of the flock and humans! But did they die? NO! Amijo, in the top 3 of all my hens had to die. Anyway, I digress.

    You know it very well could be an impacted crop. When they get the wheat they devour it quickly so maybe there was just alot of material in there.

    I don't think I am going to dig her back up, but I think I have learned my lesson during the wheat harvest.
     
    KikisGirls likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by