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Died in My Arms

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LittleBits, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had a hen that was acting sluggish past 3d, but she's done this before and acted normal after a few days that first time.

    Today, she up and died in my arms. I went out to open the coop door at 6am. About 1/2 the flock came out, and I left them be for a few extra winks.

    About 9am, I went out to clean the poo-board offerings and she was still on the roost! I set her down on the floor of the coop and she just plopped down. I picked her up, put her by the door and she plopped down again.

    Gave her a little nudge and she hopped down the runner board to the ground, where she promptly plopped down again. Eyes open at this time.

    I watched her a few minutes and she seemed to be losing ground pretty quick - a few of the other hens gathered around her, clucking at her. They seemed to sense something, too.

    I brought her outside the pen and was holding her and all of a sudden she started to mildly convulse, then her head dropped and she was gone. I wet her feet, sprinkled a few water drops on her face, but she was totally gone.

    What in the world happened to this hen? I called the Animal Diagnostic place, part of a university, and they want $40 for a necropsy. Sorry, folks, we can't afford that. So I buried her.

    All the others are acting normally, eating, drinking, dusting, trying to stay cool. I'm getting a little discouraged here.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    It isn't the same as lab results but you can learn to do a necropsy yourself.
    It's not that hard and what I do.
    The only time I'd consider paying for one is if I had significant losses in short order.
    Gail Damerow's book 'Chicken Health Handbook' can be purchased pretty cheap and gives good detailed instructions including what to look for.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure that I could actually cut one open myself, but I sure would like to know. I will try to take a look at this book, though - I'm sure I'll learn some other things as well.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    It is a great book and IMO a must have on any chicken keepers bookshelf.
    It isn't a pleasant task and I completely understand. Once the bird is dead, it makes it easier to make the first cut.
    That said, if someone wants to keep livestock,
    (rather than be insulated by buying the pretty Styrofoam/plastic wrapped packs at the grocery where they make meat and no animals were harmed)
    that someone, should be prepared to occasionally do some unpleasant things.
     
  5. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aw I am really sorry about your hen :( I had a pullet who was having respiratory problems. I brought her inside and she died right there in my lap... So I know how you feel.
     
  6. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks... [​IMG] These were all adults and not exactly friendly when we got them 2 months ago, but even so, I've gotten a little "attached".
     
  7. LittleBits

    LittleBits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do understand what you're saying, but burying them is about as unpleasant as I'm gonna do. I appreciate your telling me about this book! I noticed, while looking it up at Amazon, that she has others, too, and our library has some of them, so will check them out tomorrow.
     
  8. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know, you just can't help it! Don't get too discouraged about it, because even good can come out of these things - in future you might be able to learn about the cause and prevent it. From several deaths in my flock I learned a lot and saved my hen's life later on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  9. cricket0509

    cricket0509 New Egg

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    Sorry for the loss of your hen. I have a sick little girl too and I'm dreading the next few days.
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: It took a while before I was up to doing a necropsy/post mortem. While it can be a very important thing to do, I'm not going to add pressure to your situation, since it's harder when you're newer to chook keeping or you spent a long time trying to help the bird in question. In retrospect I wish I'd done post mortems every time; the hardest part in the end is not knowing, and it can cost you more birds which look healthy at the time. But while I regret not doing it I also know I wasn't up to it at the time, so that's that and that's all there is to it. In future it will become a non emotive issue for you, in all likelihood, and you will be able to without it being anything adverse; until then, while of course it's best to know for the sake of your flock, what's done is done so best to now focus on boosting their health to decrease likelihood of them getting the same issue in case it was transmissable.

    By the time some of my other birds died, I was just ready to 'give them back to the earth' (let them decay and become part of the earth, feed other animals and microorganisms, etc) and get on with the rest of what needed doing. I'd gotten black australorps from a breeder and they had a strike rate for leucosis of about 80%; they take a long, long, long time to die from leucosis in a lot of cases. Well over a year. A healthier diet keeps them going for longer than a less healthy diet. If I'd kept them on the feeds the breeder had raised them on they would have died in months or weeks instead. In future I intend to tackle leucosis again because there are plants and natural substances out there reliably studied and documented as having strongly anti cancer properties, so surely it can be done; in the meanwhile, intensive care is exhausting, and I'm too busy for it. I couldn't diagnose it properly until I post mortem'd, so that was helpful. But I do understand your disinclination. Best wishes for you and yours.
     

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