Egg bound? Post-mortem question

GonzoTheGreat

In the Brooder
Jun 7, 2019
43
41
44
I had a leghorn pass away today and I'm trying to learn from it as much as possible. I have no idea how old she was, since I took over this flock with the purchase of a house and the previous owner didn't provide that info when I asked for it. My best guess is that she was egg bound and I missed the early symptoms. We don't free range them as much these days because a hawk has been hanging around, and lethargy would have been much easier to see early if they were out and about.

I do believe she had been previously egg bound at least a couple times but it resolved itself. Lethargic, sitting there with her eyes closed. Second time I caught her acting lethargic, I did observe her push *something* out, and was back to her old self. The something was promptly eaten by the other hens, so I didn't get a chance to see what it was. I had two leghorns, and am pretty sure this one laid a large, but thinly shelled egg. I put oyster shell in the coop, but the thin egg never improved. She was a good layer, but recently one of the other hens has taken to smashing the leghorn's white eggs (only the white ones seem to be targeted) so I had a tough time tracking who was laying what when I'd just find a piece of smashed white shell. Plus the whole flock's numbers are down with cooler temperatures, so when I didn't see the usual eggs, I didn't think much of it.

I found her today laying in the run. Thought she was dead since she didn't move, but noticed she was breathing. She was "buried" a bit, like she had been taking a dust bath. Took her out and she was pretty much limp. Opened her eyes a bit and would barely move her head. Put her down on the grass and she just closed her eyes and laid there. Tried to offer some water, food, a treat - no interest. I'm new to chicken medical care, so I tried to check her crop - seemed empty. I also tried to check her for an egg - felt on her underside near the back and felt something curved on either side of the bone in the center. If this is the right spot to find an egg, it seems she had one in there.

Since I suspected this happened before, I had a "kit" prepped. So I went to prepare an epsom salt bath, grab the KY jelly, and try and figure out how to give her some tums - and when I came back to get her she had passed.

Upon inspecting her, the only other thing that was off was a spot on one of her "knees". This spot had no feathers and was dark colored, but didn't look like a scab and didn't look infected. No blood or anything around it. It almost looked like beef jerky would be the best description. Feathers were around it, except around the front of the joint. She never limped or anything, and I never noticed it when she was free ranging. She was a tough grab, so I must admit I didn't get many opportunities to give her an exam.

I suppose it is impossible to know for sure what did her in, but would appreciate any thoughts the board has. Also a confirmation that I was in the right spot to find an egg in the body would be helpful if this ever happens again. In a year and a half of ownership, this was the only hen that has had a noticeable issue like that. Thanks.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
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southern Ohio
Sorry for your loss. A necropsy would be a good way to know what was wrong with her. You could do a simple one yourself, opening the lower abdomen, and looking for a stuck egg, or you could keep her vody cold and send it to your state vet in the morning for a necropsy. Here is a link for contacting most state vets:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
 

GonzoTheGreat

In the Brooder
Jun 7, 2019
43
41
44
Sorry for your loss. A necropsy would be a good way to know what was wrong with her. You could do a simple one yourself, opening the lower abdomen, and looking for a stuck egg, or you could keep her vody cold and send it to your state vet in the morning for a necropsy. Here is a link for contacting most state vets:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
Thanks. It stinks that we lost one, although it was bound to happen someday. Disappointed with myself that I didn't catch it sooner and help her avoid suffering. I thought about cutting her open to try and learn something, but decided to leave her alone.

Interesting enough, the egg I thought she was laying appeared yesterday, so I guess I was wrong about who was laying a big white egg. I figured I had two leghorns, so two white eggs made sense. Apparently someone else is laying a white egg. Maybe she wasn't egg bound. Seeing I didn't know their ages, maybe she was just old?
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Sep 13, 2011
21,565
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southern Michigan
Sorry for your loss, and I agree that only a post mortem exam will give answers here.
Older birds, and sometimes young ones too, will develop unfixable internal issues, and this is probable her, unless there was something really toxic available for her to eat.
Egg peritonitis, liver failure, cancer, all possibilities, and will kill hens.
Mary
 

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