Freedom Ranger hen: enlarged heart

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by brandywine, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    I kept back three hens from my JM Freedom Ranger meat birds this year, and have been running them with my regular laying flock.

    Yesterday I found one dead in the coop; she was 9 1/2 months old. At first I thought she'd had an egg-laying problem, but it turned out the other hens had just been pecking at her vent after she died. There were no obstructed eggs/shells, just two partly-formed yokes.

    Everything else seemed pretty normal, until I got to her heart. It was about 5 times larger than any other chicken heart I've seen (granted this was a big hen, but I dressed a rooster that was bigger) and very floppy -- somewhere between the texture of muscle tissue and liver, nothing like the tight hard heart muscle I'm used to finding.

    So -- is this the way the world ends for Freedom Rangers?

    Should I somehow restrict the two surviving hens' calories if I want to keep them going? One of them I'm contractually obligated to keep alive forever (long story).

    The only thing I can think that changed much recently is that the birds have been cooped. This is not my choice -- they refuse to go outside when there's snow on the ground, so I don't even open the pop door until there is a thaw.

    BTW, this hen was not notably fat. She was enormous -- I neglected to weigh her, but skinned she made a large meal for seven medium-to-large dogs -- but had relatively little subcutaneous or abdominal fat.
     
  2. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Quote:I'd like to suggest that eventually all chickens die. As for the rest sounds like a heart defect, any signs of tiring easy before this?
     
  3. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    Quote:Yeah, that's going to be unfortunate when I have to inform Dale the grunting hen's sponsors that she's gone to the great roost in the sky. I'd rather that not happen when she is too suspiciously young. I was very relieved to see that yesterday's casualty was not Dale.

    None of the Ranger hens are particularly ... aerobic.

    No way of knowing if this hen was more lethargic than normal, since they'd been cooped most of the time for a couple weeks. I did not observe any of them using the stairmaster during this time.

    Also, she had a little bone spur on her keel bone. The Rangers are too fat to roost. I'm a little surprised that she caused this kind of pressure damage, as they are on a soft deep litter.
     

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