Found our RIR dead this morning... plant poisoning?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by scullybird, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. scullybird

    scullybird Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    May 5, 2009
    Corvallis, OR
    This morning, I found the RIR lying dead in the garden. No signs of predation (nothing has ever gotten into the run with them except wild birds). We saw nothing unusual about her yesterday. She was lying as though sunning herself, so at first that's what I thought. Her eyes were closed, no distention of the neck or throat, her crop felt empty, her beak was closed. There was no sign of nasal drainage or vent distention. I'm no ornithologist, I just looked for clues.

    Our flock of five (now four) have run of our vegetable garden space this summer. We let it lie fallow this year, and it's pretty much weed-grown, although the girls have kept it fairly controlled.

    I've noticed that they do not eat such plants as onions and marigolds... I rather gathered that they don't eat things poisonous to them. They haven't even eaten the single sunflower that sprouted out of the weeds last week.

    I use no pesticides or fertilizers. They eat chicken feed, scratch, and scraps like corn-cobs, vegetable pairings, melon rinds.

    She was never a good layer, and her eggs had very soft or brittle shells, often no shells at all. I keep them supplied with calcium at all times, so I wasn't sure if she just didn't eat it, or if she had some other issue.

    She was 1-1/2 years old, and a strange bird... I never really liked her, to be honest. She was "not right" a lot... very flighty and panicky and just acted odd. She was the bottom of the pecking order, but always got enough to eat, and was allowed in the flock proper. When we tried to integrate some younger americaunas into the flock, she became almost psychotic about them. She tried to dig under the crate they were in to get at them, chased them back and forth along the crate obsessively (still separated from them), and finally, they were killed when they got out of the crate, and she was found hovering over the bodies, still pecking at them. The other birds didn't act that way at all.

    Any thoughts? Genetic issue, plant poisoning, finger of God? I won't be calling in CSI to investigate this, so I'm just looking for brain-storming.

    Thanks!
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    8,688
    222
    316
    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    The truth is, you'll never truly know. I would say the poor thing might have had some genetic challenges........Chances are she had some reproductive issues that may have killed her, since you noticed her irregular eggs and no real pattern to her laying.

    RIP little cooky RIR! Sorry for your loss......I have an RIR and she's a peach and a great layer, although she can be really mean to newbies.
     
  3. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,497
    16
    246
    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    My thoughts also, were a genetic condition, heart diease, maybe fatty liver?
     
  4. scullybird

    scullybird Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    May 5, 2009
    Corvallis, OR
    I was kinda thinkin' something internal, as well. Thinking back, she hasn't laid more than a dozen eggs since spring.

    I'm going to close off the garden space to the birds and till it all under, just to be sure.

    The other four girls are rather subdued, and a couple have been making croakie cries, like they're still not able to find her, and are waiting for an answering call. Or, I'm just anthropomorphizing them. I do that.
     
  5. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,497
    16
    246
    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    No, you're right, they are looking for her, my hens did that when they lost one to a fox, the roo also
    They lost a member of the team [​IMG]
     
  6. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

    916
    4
    121
    Dec 14, 2009
    Oregon
    I'm sorry for your loss. RIP little RIR.
    She sounds a little bit like our two RIR's in that they both are agressive---mean, really, to those who are lower on the pecking order, and especially the two EE's in that flock. They are both flighty and anxious, as well. Interesting. . . I guess that's part of the same genetics that make for the agressive and or mean RIR roosters that I see written about.
    It sounds like she might have had some issues with internal laying, and maybe that's what killed her.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by