Dying chicken with bloody vent

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jspenc02, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Jspenc02

    Jspenc02 In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2018
    Hi, I am at a loss with what is causing my chickens to die. They are RI reds from TSC which were hatched in August. They have grown well and all appear to be healthy with good weight/size. They started laying in late November/ early December. I live in Western NY and it has been an unusually cold winter. I leave a light on in the coop near the floor for heat if they get chilled. Recently I have been collecting average size eggs that have bright red blood on them. More than enough that it concerned me. I do not have a way to identify which hen is laying the bloody eggs, but I have recently lost 3 hens. The first I thought nothing about, chickens die, right? The next one was found in the afternoon on the same day. I examined her postierior and found she had bloody feathers, raw skin. Yesterday no one died but I had a bloody egg. This afternoon I have a dead hen. Same thing l, her rear is raw, bloody and it even appears her skin has separated or something. I am thinking prolapse but I am not a vet and have only been raising chickens for a couple of years. I also have a dozen or so leg horns and 1 RI Red in another pen. They are 2 and 3 years old respectively. They all seem fine other than some have alittle frost bite on their combs. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Differential diagnosis’:
    1. Prolapsed vent
    2. Genetic abnormality
    3. Viral/bacterial
    4. Worms
    5. Cocci (whatever that is)
    6. Predator (no break ins or feathers plucked out though)

    Attached Files:

  2. Stayc

    Stayc Crowing

    May 18, 2017
    Keysville Virginia
    I don't have a clue what it could be. I just want to keep this thread going until an expert finds it. It does look to be like damage to the backside. I'm so sorry for your losses :hugs i hope you get it sorted out.
  3. Jspenc02

    Jspenc02 In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2018
    Yeah, well I guess I’ll have to get the brooder cleaned out and ready. Probably go with Meyer’s instead of TSC. I have had good luck with my last batch. The thing that stinks is you have to buy 25 at a time.
  4. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

    Sep 19, 2017
    Southern California
    Greetings Jspenc02,

    First, I am very grieved that such a disturbing thing has happened to your young flock.:(

    Since these are your younger birds, and this is happening at night, you should check for rats. Rats are very capable of killing younger hens and are known for nipping on them while they are asleep or laying an egg, unable to move. Then, multiple rats will gang up on the helpless chicken. I have seen them attack my Rat Terrier with no fear!

    Necrotic Dermatitis is another possible cause, but that is usually due to some injury to the skin. Because the vent is the area of damage, I would think another hen was doing the pecking, a serial pecker, if you will. But, I feel this is stretching for an explanation.

    Prolapse is another possibility, but with three hens all dying with blood, this still indicates something has penetrated the skin and tissue to cause so much bleeding. There would have to be such a deficiency in nutrients to affect so many hens, to cause prolapses.

    With so many deaths of the same cause, you should absolutely get a necropsy done, by a Vet or a State Lab. The remaining hens should be removed from that coop to a safe location, but not with your healthy hens, till you can assure they have a secure place to live and that they are not infected with anything. Also closely examine the remaining hens for rat nips to the neck, leg and vent areas. Treat any cuts or scratches before infection can set in.

    This is an interesting case, I sincerely hope the mystery is solved and resolved soon.
    Please do update us on the progress.

    These are my thoughts on your situation, I hope they are of some help.

    God Bless :hugs
    Mimi’s 13, Terri E, Aubby and 5 others like this.
  5. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    I’m so sorry for your losses. My very first thought upon viewing the photos was rats, as well. I have not dealt with this myself, however. Are there any signs if rats? Can they gain entry to the coop?
    Stayc, cavemanrich and N Sully like this.
  6. Jspenc02

    Jspenc02 In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2018
    Thanks. That may make sense, although I have had a death in the morning and then again in the afternoon. I have been putting TomCat bait around the feed room. Maybe I have drove them to the chickens... I have seen some strange burrowing around the outsides of the coop's. I thought it was from the chickens scratching and pecking. (I was lucky enough to receive a cockerel from TSC in this batch of "pullets", which he is free roam in the barn). I am assuming the rat/mouse bait is toxic to chickens too? Would those Bait Stations be safe for use inside the coop? I haven't seen any Rats, but this is an old barn with lots of hiding places. Thanks for the help!
  7. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Stayc likes this.
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I'm sorry for your losses and agree with the suggestion to get the most recent one necropsied. You really need to get to the bottom of this before you restock and I don't really buy it being a genetic issue at this stage. If you cannot sort a professional one, it might be beneficial to open her up yourself and take photos. The ones you have posted are too obscured by feathers to see much. If you can cut those feathers back to the skin neatly and take another, that may give us a better idea if this is a prolapse or something else. Also, if you decide to open her up, again take some nice clear photos of her abdominal cavity and organs and include close ups of anything that looks unusual. There are You tube videos that give tutorials on doing necropsies but basically, if you cut through the skin on the abdomen just below the rib cage, you should break into the abdominal cavity without risking opening up the intestines (which makes it unnecessarily messy and smelly) .

    Do you leave a feeder in the coop. If so, it is unlikely to be rats as they will usually target the feeder before tackling a live adult chickens, unless they are ravenous. I had problems with rats last summer jumping up onto the hanging feeder, even through the day, but they didn't touch the chickens. Not saying it is not rats, but less likely if they have access to a chicken feeder. Normally you will see and hear rats if the infestation is bad enough for this sort of thing to happen.

    Do these birds normally roost on a roost bar at night and if so, how high off the ground is it?
    How many birds do you have in the one coop and how large is it. Hatchery RIR can be aggressive particularly when confined (winter weather often leads to more confinement than usual and pecking issues as a result) and if the roost bar is low enough that hens can reach from below, they will sometimes target the vent of a bird on the roost above them.

    What do you feed them? An imbalanced diet can lead to them getting a thick fatty deposit on their abdomen and around their vent and this can make laying eggs difficult and lead to both prolapse and other potential fatal illnesses like Fatty Liver Haemorrhagic Syndrome, where the liver breaks down and one day the bird can suddenly haemorrhage and die.
    A prolapse would cause bloody eggs and can catch the eye of other birds and cause them to peck at it and once blood is drawn they get a taste for it and it can become a cannibalistic feeding frenzy.
    Your dead pullet's backend looks pretty wet.... that might indicate that she had a haemorrhage.... the fluid that haemorrhages is often more like sera, rather than blood.

    So, as you can see from my post and the previous ones, there are quite a few possibilities and a necropsy, either DIY or professional would be the next step to help figure it out. There are a few of us here on BYC that are getting more experienced at doing them ourselves and spotting abnormalities and discussing possible causes, so if you go the DIY route, I would encourage you to take plenty of photos and post them. There are some threads which specifically deal with these photos and have warnings for people who cannot cope with the sight of graphic images. I will post a link to one below....

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  9. Jspenc02

    Jspenc02 In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2018
    Ok. I just spoke with my Vet and he says he is not chicken expert, but would cut her up to see if he can see anything. We further discussed possibilities and came up with a couple more differentials. I recently bought wood shavings and bedded down both coops. The shavings were Langebec brand and I believe they were new to the store too, because they didn't seem to know much about them and had a bag opened for display. The shaving seemed to be mixed flakes and fines like the yellow TSC flakes. He suggested an impacted crop, which doesn't explain the bloody vent, unless the others are pecking at her once she died. I check their water, feed, and collect eggs in the morning and evening. When I do this I also sprinkle some scratch down on the coop floor. I do this in both pens and the other, older, chickens have had no problems.

    I have placed mouse/rat bait stations out around the coops this morning, and I started them on a vitamin pack 2 days ago. Tomorrow I will examine the hen's more closely, check their crop and maybe dissect it. I will attempt to take pictures or video if I do the necropsy.

    Thanks for the responses.

    Mimi’s 13, Stayc and rebrascora like this.
  10. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    A word of caution on the bait. Do you mean poison? Rat poison absolutely is poisonous to chickens. Some chickens, like Buckeyes, are known to be excellent mousers. A poisoned rodent can poison an animal (chicken, cat, hawk, etc.) who ingests it. I personally would never use any kind of (known) poison anywhere my chickens might have access. Traps without poison (as long ss the chickens don’t have access) might be safer, thogh probably less convenient. Just my two cents.
    Mimi’s 13, Terri E and Stayc like this.

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