Found hen dead in coop----broken neck?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RoseBean, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. RoseBean

    RoseBean New Egg

    May 11, 2013
    We have a small backyard flock of ten chickens. They free range during the day and were all fine when we put them back into the coop two nights ago. The next morning, our four year old Cuckoo Maran hen was dead on the floor of the coop. I examined her everywhere and couldn't find any signs of injury. She was fat and healthy. No feathers missing or blood, no discharge from her eyes or mouth, nothing unusual about her vent. She was stiff except for her neck, which flopped over like it had been broken. Their coop is completely secure and all the other hens were fine--there's no way anything got in there overnight. Their roosts are only about 3 feet off the ground.

    We have a border collie who has been their protector for four years, helping us raise each new batch from chicks. He gets a little rough with them sometimes and pins them to the ground with his paw or his mouth. He's never injured one. Never drawn blood, never pulled out feathers. My biggest worry is that he somehow hurt this hen and she was able to walk to the coop normally, but died from her injury.

    Sorry this message is so long. But could a hen break her neck inside a small coop? Or did she just have a heart attack or something else sudden, and her neck was the only part that didn't show rigor mortis? I really want to believe my dog didn't hurt her.
  2. Sylie

    Sylie Out Of The Brooder

    May 26, 2014
    I am by no means an expert here but I wanted to weigh in with my experience, I'm sure someone else will have more ideas. I have seen chickens fall asleep on the roost and fall over forward. Maybe that's what yours did and she just happened to land on her face. I've never seen a broken neck from a short fall like this but stranger things have happened. I doubt it was your dog, if he had done enough damage to kill her it would probably have been immediate, broken necks tend to either kill or paralyze immediately. Unless someone else has a better idea, I'd be inclined to pardon the dog [​IMG]. I am sorry for your loss.
  3. thegoldengirls

    thegoldengirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2009
    Central NY
    In the years that I've had chickens, I've had several pass just because it was their time. There were a few that were found with their heads turned back to the side. They were definitely not falls or trauma. I think it's just how they go..maybe a reflex.
  4. RoseBean

    RoseBean New Egg

    May 11, 2013
    Thank you so much for your response. It was like she was broken, you could bend her almost in two at the neck. They range all over our yard and I can't imagine she could have walked back into the coop with an injury like that. But I've heard about chickens running with their heads cut off. One of my neighbors did tell me a similar story to yours, that she thinks her hen had a heart attack or something and pitched forward from the roost and broke her neck. I really appreciate that you took the time to share your experience.

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