Friend's hen found dead today.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickenbike, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. chickenbike

    chickenbike Songster

    One of my friend's hens was found dead this afternoon. She was 6.5 months old. No change in behaviour, no evidence of trauma, just dead on the ground near the door which goes from the run area to the yard. I know we won't ever know what happened (she was fine at 1030, dead at 1600), but we're both very saddened by it all. [​IMG]
  2. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Oh that's so sad! I'm sorry to hear of your friend's loss.

    Sometimes they do just die and we never know why. Animals are programmed to hide illness so that they don't get taken by predators.
  3. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    it's always sad when one dies..
    more so when you don't know why..
  4. chickenbike

    chickenbike Songster

    She hadn't started to lay eggs yet, but was expected to start anyday. Possibly she was an "internal layer"? My friend would like to know, but doesn't wish to open her up. These are hand raised pets and she simply cannot bring herself to do that and I have to respect her decision.
  5. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    not likely she was an internal layer..

    could have had a large egg..or soft shelled egg..
    and have been eggbound..

    wouldn't hurt to check the bird's crop and see if it was full..

    hard to know without more information.

    tell your friend to check the yard for any odd droppings..
    and do a check on the other birds to make sure none are sick.

    what all does she feed?
  6. SussexInSeattle

    SussexInSeattle Songster

    Oct 6, 2008
    Without an autopsy, all is just speculation, but at 6.5 months, that is kind of later than is average for lots of common breeds. What breed was she?

    I lost a perfectly healthy Speckled Sussex myself about a month or two ago, in the same way, one day she is healthy, happy, next morning she is dead under the roost. Not a mark on her pretty body. BUT, she was not laying age, just 3 to 4 months old. her sister just started to lay within the past couple days, and i belive she is laying a full month sooner than I expected them to start.
    And in middle of winter!
  7. birdlover

    birdlover Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    I had a necropsy done on one of my hens that died just like you describe. (Year old EE, happy that morning, no signs of trauma, etc.) I was worried she had a disease and wanted to know. Her liver had hemmoraged and she had, basically, bled to death. Felt good knowing, at least. Also, chickens die of heart attacks at times. Sorry about your friend's hen. [​IMG]
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Sadly, I lost a gorgeous 24 wk old Delaware pullet right at the point of lay. She had always been noticably smaller than her sister and her sister had already begun laying. Found her sitting under the roost and I picked her up and put her in a nest. Her heart was just racing like a snare drum. We held her for a long time. No other symptoms except she was out of breath from her heart beating too fast. The next day, she came out of the coop with everyone else. We went into town and came back to find her dead just inside the coop with blood in her beak.
    Upon our layman's necropsy, we found her chest full of dark arterial blood and one chamber of her heart completely deflated. Apparently, she had a heart defect and coming into lay was too much for it.
    When a pullet dies at point of lay, that is one thing I'd consider, a heart issue. There could be many others, too.
  9. chickenbike

    chickenbike Songster

    She was a White Chantecler and they are late layers, usually starting around 24-26 weeks. So she was due to lay her first egg anytime really. I may see if I can convince my friend to let me open her, as it could show something obvious. Her crop did feel normal, we felt that after finding her.

    She feeds an organic pellet mix, the odd handfuls of organic scratch and fresh veggies. There are 7 other hens (red sussex) and 2 roosters (both chanteclers). The only change she noticed was two days ago, the hen "slept-in" later than the others on the roost bar and later that day hung out on the outdoor roost bar for a bit. All droppings appear normal.

    Thank you all for your replies. I know all is speculation, but just hearing other scenarios at least provides some form of comfort. As I say, I will try and see if I can open her.

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