healthy hen died today for no good reason- advice wanted!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Marcy, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Marcy

    Marcy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 28, 2008
    Atlanta, Ga
    First of all, I've read through a lot of these posts and fully intend to take the bird to be necropsied if possible, but unfortunately I have to be at work this afternoon and tomorrow so I'm worried about my other birds in the meantime. Any advice at all is welcome!

    She is a white Brahma, adult, same size as most of my other hens. This morning I came outside to feed them and the others are all acting normal (flock of 9 hens and no roos), but the bird in question was standing with her head turned around and buried in her back feathers, like she might do if sleeping. She normally doesn't like to be petted but when I touched her she didn't move away or look at me. I pushed her a little, gently, and she staggered a bit but didn't do anything else. I moved the feathers to see her face and her eyes were almost white. Until this morning she has been fine, very perky... anyway, I came inside and called a vet to make an appointment, but when I looked out the kitchen window I could see her lying or falling down. I went back to the coop and she was lying on her side, face out of her feathers but her legs were sort of slowly kicking. I took her out of the run.

    She had no bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma, and nothing unusual has happened lately. I feed them Layena feed and sometimes scratch or kitchen scraps, although they hadn;t had any scraps for awhile so there was nothing weird in the food. They live in a coop that's about 8 by 4 feet, raised off the ground with a mesh floor and perches, and a run that's about 12 feet square and completely enclosed by chickenwire so there' no contact with outside animals. They have open access to come and go between the coop and run.

    I haven't checked droppings yet because of being concerned with the hen but I will go out and check shortly. There was no treatment because it happened so fast. I can take a picture if it will help but she just looks normal except for the foggy eyes.

    The only issue that might even remotely be of concern is that I increased my flock a few months ago and they all stopped laying. One of the new birds died after she had a toe pulled off by a raccoon (which is why I know the coop is completely impervious to other animals- I turned it into fort knox after that), but there hasn't been any kind of a problem since then. Only one of the birds has begun laying, but it's the start of cold weather so I wasn't too concerned. But now I'm worried about the remaining 8 (2 RIRs, 3 Silkies, 1 Aurucana, 1 Golden-laced Wyandotte, 1 Dominique) getting sick. Help??
     
  2. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Sorry for your loss. I don't know what could have happened, but hopefully a more knowledgable person can help you.
     
  3. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    First of all I am very sorry this happened. [​IMG]

    I don't think there is any way to know what happened without the necropsy. I only hope for you that it is a fluke thing and will not effect the remaining flock. Best wishes. [​IMG]
     
  4. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    If this bird Seemed ok until today & the others all appear ok [ie: active, eating well, etc] then I doubt you have an infectious disease.
    All living things die some day-sad but true.
    With chickens it isn't all that unusual to occasionally have one die w/o showing signs of illness. More often than not it's a heart attack. If you have vet school near you that will do a post mortem free then why not. If you have to pay for it the cost is likely to exceed the value of your flock.
     
  5. Marcy

    Marcy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 28, 2008
    Atlanta, Ga
    you're right... I followed the link at the top of this forum to find the state vet, and their poultry department claimed not to know what a necropsy was. It doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence. I did find an exotic pet veterinarian who treats chickens but a necropsy would cost $150, and they told me up front that they rarely can come up with a cause of death, just rule out some of the things it wasn't. So I guess I'll just give the coop an extra-good cleaning and hope for the best.

    Also, I called McMurray and asked what the best thing was just for a sort of better-safe-than-sorry treatment for the girls, and they recommended something called VetRx. Has anybody tried this? I haven't ever really treated them for anything because for 3 years now I haven't had a bit of trouble except for a predator issue.

    Thanks for the sympathy.
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Vet Rx is only like Vicks for chickens. It will cure nothing, except maybe smother leg mites, but regular oil or vaseline will do that without the cost. Gee, sounds like something feedstore personnel would tell you. [​IMG]

    EDITED TO ADD: Sorry you lost one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  7. Marcy

    Marcy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 28, 2008
    Atlanta, Ga
    Gah. Well, thanks for the info... they told me it had antibiotics and would control mites and lice. I thought they were so reliable, too... it's unfortunate but in metro Atlanta it's hard to find a good feed store. Not exactly farm central around here [​IMG]

    Is there anything y'all know of that controls skin parasites and is good for the chickens to have just as a sort of immune booster? I don't want them to catch something (whether whatever the other chicken had is catching or not) just because they've got run-down somehow.

    I feed them every day with fresh feed and oyster shells and water, scratch on cold days, scraps when I have something suitable... we clean the feeder and waterer weekly (and they hang off the ground so as not to get so gross), and clean out the coop and rake the run pretty regularly... I've been thinking about a lightbulb for some heat, but Atlanta doesn't really ever get terribly cold. I just don't know what else I could be doing... and honestly, the others look fine. I'm just paranoid now because the one who died also looked fine, until this morning.
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    they told me it had antibiotics and would control mites and lice

    That's an absolute fabrication, completely untrue. Bet they've killed lots of birds with their "sage" advice. Geez.​
     
  9. Marcy

    Marcy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 28, 2008
    Atlanta, Ga
    Quote:That's an absolute fabrication, completely untrue. Bet they've killed lots of birds with their "sage" advice. Geez.

    ...which is particularly awful, because I called their customer service and asked them specifically about those points, and was assured so by a real live person.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I have VetRx. It has oil of oregano, oil of this and that, camphor, etc. No antibiotics in it whatsoever. It's just like Vicks VapoRub.
     

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