First I Saw Her Wide Open Vent... What Killed My Hen?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Barry Natchitoches, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    When I let the birds out of the henhouse this morning, all of the kids came running out except for Patty.

    So I went in to find her, but she was no where to be found.

    So I looked around the chicken yard, and I noticed her in a secluded corner. The only place in the chicken yard that is hard to see, since it is behind a little structure I built for the kids to get extra shade on sunny days.

    The first thing I saw of her was her vent -- and it was wide open.

    I saw yoke, and I saw a half of an egg shell. I saw a little bit of blood, but not a whole lot. But boy, was that vent open.

    Her bottom was facing me. I couldn't see anything but her wide open vent, and some of her little feathered body. I couldn't see her head, but at the angle I had in view, that was not surprising.

    I called her name, but she didn't respond.

    Then I touched her very carefully with gloved hand. Her little body was stiff. Patty was dead. Rigor mortis had already set in.

    I locked the other birds back in the henhouse because I didn't want them to see their dead friend. Then I got a rake, and manuevered her little body from the corner where she was secluded.

    That is when I noticed that her head was completely missing. It had been eaten off. Given where she was, and the fact that she must have been left out in the chicken yard by accident last night, she could have put her little head through one of the holes in the chicken wire fence. Or it is possible that some creature of the night put its head in through the holes in order to eat her head off.

    At any rate, her head had been eaten completely to the neckbone.

    I don't know what killed her.

    Was she having trouble passing her egg, and went to a secluded place to be alone since she didn't feel well?

    Did she then get caught in that corner when the sun went down, and couldn't find her way back to the henhouse for the evening? (This secluded corner gets dark sooner than the rest of the chicken yard, since, after all, I built this little area to give the girls shade on sunny afternoons.).

    Or did she stay out for some reason last night (maybe because it gets dark in that secluded corner first and she couldn't find her way to the henhouse?) and she was attacked while she slept, and her vent just relaxed after death? But if that is the case, then why did I see half of an egg shell right outside of her vent? They don't form the shell until the last stages of the egg laying process, right?

    What happened?

    Do you all know?

    What can I do to keep this from happening from another hen sometime?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. crazygoatlady915

    crazygoatlady915 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Shoot. I have no idea, but I'm sorry for your loss!!
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  3. un-named

    un-named Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2010
    weasels are known for taking the head off of chickens. i'm not sure where the egg part came into play though. I'm sorry for your loss.
  4. txmel

    txmel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2010
    boerne, tx
    i'm so sorry [​IMG] [​IMG]
    i wish i could help you out with some advice. hopefully someone will come by soon who might have an idea as to what could have happened to her.
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    so sorry for your loss. [​IMG]
  6. caspernc

    caspernc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Z town NC
    Weasles eat the head. She could have been ready to lay and in the death everything expelled. Coons do the same. It was some sort of critter that could not get into the fence......
  7. clbdownunder

    clbdownunder Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 23, 2011
    Northwest Ohio
    Aw I'm so sorry. I take a torch in the henhouse everynight at lock up time and do a head count, making sure they all made it in ok. Only one time did I have to go looking to find one, she was crouched down under something, and had to pick her up and carry her to her roost inside. Don't know why just that one night she didn't go in with the others. To stop it from happening again, u could do the head count thing once they roost, as long as you don't have to count gazillions of them...I only have to count 16 at the moment ......I hope you don't have to go thru that ever again!
  8. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    Quote:My wife and I usually do a check of the chicken yard after the henhouse closes too.

    But we were working so hard in the garden that we were both exhausted. So tired that it took an hour after we went in before I had enough energy to call Domino's for pizza. That's how tired we were last night.

    So we just closed the henhouse up, and neither of us ever checked the yard over.

    I know... I'm angry with myself, too!
  9. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    Im so sorry!
  10. jennh

    jennh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2007
    Quote:I do a head count EVERY night, after coming up one head short twice. Let me clarify. I didn't just find the head. I found the whole hen alive, six feet up in a tree. [​IMG] The other time I found another hen under a shrub when there was snow on the ground. Since there wasn't any snow under the shrub, she stuck out like a sore thumb. She's a white rock. Plus, the moon was shining brightly that night.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011

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