Found pullet in coop- dead but not eaten -

luvmychixandducks

Songster
11 Years
Jul 15, 2010
221
79
194
Danvers, Massachusetts
Went out to feed and water yesterday am and found one of my large delaware pullets- at POL but not yet laying- in the corner of the coop.
She had no apparent injuries, but her feathers were spread around on the coop floor.
I''ve been waitying for this hen and her sister to start to lay, but never got an egg.
Is it a possibility that she got egg bound somehow and just expired ?
I've had these two about six weeks and they were 17 weeks when I got them.
No problems with the rest of the girls this morning. Everybody safe and eating... taking dust baths in the shady side of the pen.
She was the largest hen in the coop- don't think she was in a fight with older hens.
Any suggestions? Most predators we know about would have eaten part of the dead bird for sure.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,684
4,952
586
Ohio
I have found POL pullets with no warning just laying dead like that occasionally, but they have usually been commercial-type breeds. When we opened them up they usually had something wrong with the reproductive/egg system. So I could see her dying from something like that. The feathers spread around the floor do not make sense with that though. That almost sounds like some type of hawk or owl, they will go inside chicken coops to chase chickens, you will usually find puncture marks on the birds though, often around the neck and back area, they may not be very visible if the hawk was interrupted while plucking feathers.
 

thomasboyle

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2013
935
320
186
NW Hills of CT
I raise leghorns and rhode island reds, and with each batch of new leghorns I have raised, I have lost one to unexplained reasons. Just dead in the coop, not injuries or wounds. I figure some unknown health issue claimed her.
 

howfunkyisurchicken

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 11, 2011
9,281
820
361
Tn
Do you have mink or weasels in your area? They'll kill a chicken by sucking out their blood. Sometimes they look flat and deflated after a mink/weasel has gotten hold of them :/ They can fit thru the tiniest of spaces too, so usually you never even know they're there until chicken start turning up dead for no apparent reason...
 

luvmychixandducks

Songster
11 Years
Jul 15, 2010
221
79
194
Danvers, Massachusetts
Follow up - still no additional victims, so perhaps just an unknown health issue as suggested above.
I have free range ducks as well as a houdini escape artist bantam hen that roam the yard and so far untouched. The hen (I think) squeezes out over the top of the fence, under the bird netting I have to keep the flyers inside the pen. Originally without the netting all birds flew out over the 6 foot fence... now only this single hen gets out - but at feeding time runs in to get her share of the pellets. I'll need to sew the cover on tighter I guess.
 

luvmychixandducks

Songster
11 Years
Jul 15, 2010
221
79
194
Danvers, Massachusetts
Yes, we do have both weasels and fisher cats - The chicken door will need to be closed and latched from inside at night to keep out any non fowl visitors.
Just one more trip to the coop each day I guess.
 

luvmychixandducks

Songster
11 Years
Jul 15, 2010
221
79
194
Danvers, Massachusetts
Update.... and boy do I feel stupid!!!! I bought these two Delaware youngsters on craigslist as pullets, and since Delawares do not have the long tails like my other birds I took the sellers word that they were pullets.
The remaining Delaware bird has now begun to crow - so HE is the killer of his brother and not the sister I thought I bought.
So off to freezer camp he goes, mystery solved. Now it all fits - feathers pulled bird killed but not eaten.
Feathers from both of them likely..
And why they were both so late in starting to lay.
Well I now will have room in the coop for the the four pullets I hatched in june... and the Delaware roo will have two cockrels to join him in the freezer.
Just have to introduce the four newbies to the older girls.
 

Bullitt

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 16, 2012
2,380
451
251
Texas
Update.... and boy do I feel stupid!!!! I bought these two Delaware youngsters on craigslist as pullets, and since Delawares do not have the long tails like my other birds I took the sellers word that they were pullets.
The remaining Delaware bird has now begun to crow - so HE is the killer of his brother and not the sister I thought I bought.
So off to freezer camp he goes, mystery solved. Now it all fits - feathers pulled bird killed but not eaten.
Feathers from both of them likely..
And why they were both so late in starting to lay.
Well I now will have room in the coop for the the four pullets I hatched in june... and the Delaware roo will have two cockrels to join him in the freezer.
Just have to introduce the four newbies to the older girls.


Late in starting to lay. :)

That stinks that someone sold cockerels are pullets. Next time you should look at some pictures of cockerels and pullets so you will know the difference with the breed in question.

By the way, did you see these two cockerels fighting before one killed the other?
 

luvmychixandducks

Songster
11 Years
Jul 15, 2010
221
79
194
Danvers, Massachusetts
Never - that's why I was so surprised to find one of the two largest birds deceased in the coop.
I immeditely thought about intruder as the killer not one of the remaining birds.
All of the roos I've had in the past were old english bantams and the tailfeathers were obvious giveaways as to sex.
I trusted the seller who told me they were sexed birds from a hatchery and he was selliing to get down to a legal number for his town.
So instead of bargain priced pullets I got overpriced roos I can't keep.
They were about 17weeks at time of purchase and I had no others to compare against. He had only the two Delawares in his flock.
All others were obviiously older hens or the two youngsters of another breed he was keeping.
My bad.
 

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