Did my Chicken freeze?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by amicus14, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. amicus14

    amicus14 New Egg

    7
    0
    9
    Jan 5, 2017
    Montana
    Please don't be mean, I already feel terrible and I promise I am providing my flock with their needs. While this is my first go at caring for chickens as an adult (we had some when I was a kid) I have done tons of research and have many near friends that have their own chickens who are lending ears and words of wisdom. My children and I spend time with our chickens everyday, spreading food to help them get exercise, handling them as they love to be held, and enjoying their company. I have two Araucanas and 6 Buff Orpingtons. In my Buffs there are 2 roosters, and the girls have yet to lay (they are late spring chickens as we wanted to hatch them ourselves and got them towards the end of summer, so I'm thinking they will start laying soon, but with the weather maybe this spring). The Araucanas are giving us more than their share with sometimes 4 eggs a day! In any case, I have not noticed anything funky with my chickens, aside from the two roosters beginning to show signs of being a rooster (big combs, tail feathers are starting to stick up and every once in a while the voice of a pubescent rooster). I pay attention to them pretty well, and I have never seen any one singled out or picked on or any odd behaviors, that is until this morning. When we went to let them out of the coop for the morning spread, one girl looked like she was being kicked from the coop. As soon as the door opened it seemed she wanted out just as bad as all the others wanted her out. We did see quite a few feathers fly, but she didn't look like she was beat up or picked on, and while they are young I have questioned molting as the feathers have been spread around the coop on a regular basis (So I almost assumed it was feathers on the ground being tossed in the air from the hurried commotion). This afternoon my husband went to check on them and say hello with a couple apple remains when he saw the same gal nestled under the coop while the rest stayed inside. He told me that he worried about the cold (it's -14 today) so he picked her up, loved her a little and set her inside the coop under the heat lamp and the flock promptly kicked her back out... and again she did not want to be in there either. So he made her a little bed of straw under the coop where she lay to keep her from getting too cold. When I came home a measly 3 hours later, she was frozen under the coop (not even laying on the straw we put out for her).
    It all happened so fast that I assumed it was the temp... but looking into it, Buffs seem to do pretty well in cold - even in the negative temps... Why would she stay outside if she were freezing? and the other chickens are hanging out in the same weather (though likely not ALL day) and they are fine... actually seem to enjoy it a bit... She even had the choice of the food hut, its not heated (the water is, but not the area) however it is covered on all sides and would have been warmer without than under the coop).
    I am second guessing that she just froze, and am slightly at a loss of what to do next. My daughter wants to give her a nice burial, but the ground is frozen solid. I can't risk not going deep enough and having an animal dig her up. :(
    Darn it... For lack of a better word... this sucks.
     
  2. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

    531
    107
    111
    Nov 21, 2015
    Montana
    That's very sad, I'm sorry you experienced that. I don't have much experience with chicken diseases so hopefully someone comes along with a more informed opinion than me. I just wanted to tell you that it's been in the negative temperatures all week (down to -20s at night) and my Buffs are just fine, so I don't think it was the temperature that killed her. Maybe she had some disease that the rest of the flock sensed and that's why they kicked her out?
     
  3. Carolinn333

    Carolinn333 Just Hatched

    24
    1
    16
    Jan 5, 2017
    I'm sorry to here that I have a Buff. But at this time of year some molt that means they are picked on a lot so you really want to watch them this time of year. Sorry for what happened hope the rest of them are ok[​IMG]
     
  4. Carolinn333

    Carolinn333 Just Hatched

    24
    1
    16
    Jan 5, 2017
    Try putting boiling water over the aria you want to burri her in.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. amicus14

    amicus14 New Egg

    7
    0
    9
    Jan 5, 2017
    Montana
    Thanks, I am still unsure if its molting, or thier bigger feathers pushing out the small or what. I hardly find larger feathers, mostly small ones; a few inches at most. None of my birds have any bald spots, I figured if they were being picked on I would see it as we hang out often and/or I would see signs such as bald spots. I have her wrapped up in my home now and I looked her all over, no signs of being picked on (that my un-vetted eyes can see). When she thaws a little more, I will look her over more thoroughly. I just don't get why she was fine yesterday, and all of a sudden she wasn't. It wasn't as quick as a heart attack or anything, but way faster than any disease I have found, especially without any signs.

    Thank you for your input, I'll be doing some health checks on each bird in the morning.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    11,134
    4,890
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I agree with the others. I doubt very much your BO froze to death. It's far more likely she was sick. From your description, it fits the behavior of a sick chicken being shunned and bullied out of the coop as well as a sick chicken wanting to isolate herself due to being sick. It's a vicious syndrome, but typical of chickens.

    It's going to be next to impossible to figure out what was making her sick. It could be anything from internal laying to a more serious virus. Short of getting a necropsy, you probably won't know why she died, but do keep a close eye on your flock for any others behaving sick.

    Learn what the symptoms of a sick chicken are: Isolating themselves, possibly in a corner and facing a wall. Tail held down low and flat. Pale comb, even purplish. Rattles when breathing. Beak held open. Watery poop, laced with white mucous, perhaps spotted with green bile. Not interested in eating. An otherwise chatty chicken going suddenly mute. Standing in one spot nodding off, eyes half closed or shut. Discharge from beak holes, bubbling eyes.

    Even one of these behaviors or indications may signal a sick chicken. Early intervention can sometimes make the difference between life and death.
     
  7. amicus14

    amicus14 New Egg

    7
    0
    9
    Jan 5, 2017
    Montana
    Thanks a lot for the info, this is very informative. The only symptom she had was isolating herself, which was only one day. Her comb was not pale yesterday and I don't think it was this morning, I didn't notice in particular but it was the first think I noticed when I got home today (though I think it was from being frozen). I did have one chick that had what looked like a prolapse when she hatched, but she seemed healthy in every other way. She had a small bulge that was bald, but when her feathers came in, they covered the area. I tried taking peeks at all the chicks later and could not find a single one with the bulge (none passed, all that hatched stayed with us until today). I am wondering if because she should be nearing egg laying age, that she was the one with the prolapse issue. Do you know of anything of this nature happening? Would that be something worth shunning her? She doesn't have a noticeable bulge, bald spot or anything now, but I always worried there was something internal. Poor girl.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    11,134
    4,890
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Often a sick chicken does not have symptoms we humans notice, but the other chickens will. And if the illness progresses as fast as you say this one did, we won't have time to notice symptoms. I had a young pullet take sick very suddenly after she began laying two summers ago, and even though I started her on an antibiotic as soon as I noticed her first symptoms, it wasn't in time to save her.

    Flaws in baby chicks sometimes do become a health issue later, but you and I won't be able to say for certain that an earlier "bulge" had anything to do with this chicken's death.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by