Healthy sizzle pullet suddenly died while eating!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bantyshanty, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

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    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I had a lovely sizzle chick/pullet of 12 weeks who died this afternoon of no apparent cause. I fed her and the other chicks in the run in the morning, specially, some extra scrambled eggs, and she grabbed her piece of egg & ran happily away with it. I gave her feed later in the afternoon, and then went out for several hours She was fine at 1 pm when I left. At 6 pm when I got home, I found her inside the coop, at one of the hanging galvanized feeders, with her head drooping down into the trough, dead. Her body was still warm. She was limp in the torso & neck, but her feet were rigid, and one was curled up as if she'd had seizure, one flat out. She looked as if she'd been eating when she died. She had no marks of trauma or having been pecked, and two silkies were still eating right next to her. I had both hanging feeders inside the coop today, as I thought it might rain, and my run has a leaky roof.

    I've had a half dozen chickens die of mold/fungal contamination over the years, but nothing this sudden, in an otherwise perky chick. Although I'd never seen another chicken harass her, and she's been in the run since 9 weeks with her mom & sister, she does have a vaulted skull. Maybe this is the cause of her demise?

    Here's my first guess: another hen pecked at her head to establish pecking order at the feeder, and it caused a seizure & brain trauma, and she died? She has no apparent wounds on her body.
    Another possibility: she had a genetic abnormality that only manifested itself at 12 weeks, as she was eating?
    A third possibility, is that she swallowed a small metal shard in the feed, which is a new brand of organic feed I'm trying from a local farm?
    A fourth, she just choked?

    The most difficult part (besides the part that a healthy chick is now dead) is that I hatched her for somebody else, and cared for her and her four flat-feathered siblings for twelve weeks. I rehomed the flat-fathered roos (no easy feat), and kept an extra flat-feathered sibling for her to go home with, all to sell her to someone I met who really wanted a sizzle, from mailed eggs, as well. All this work has come to nothing, [​IMG] and she was also the sweetest chick I've ever known. Her prospective mama will be heartbroken. [​IMG] She's been awaiting this chick since early June (4 month) since I ordered the eggs, and has visited her a couple times. I was going to deliver her tomorrow, as well. (Sniff!) [​IMG]
    Here she was, at 3 weeks, her feathers just curling: Yes, she was as sweet as she looked...[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  2. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    so sorry for your loss, she was very pretty [​IMG]
    it is possible that she got a peck to the head and that caused the seizure, but it is hard to say. You mentioned metal shards in the feed- does the feed naturally have bits of metal in it? That seems like a hazard for sure.
     
  3. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

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    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    No, I've never seen any metal in the feed. It's just a possibility, because it's a feed I've only used a couple weeks, it's grown and ground at a family farm, so there's not a quality control in place, and she died while eating finely ground chick feed. Chickens don't choke on crumbles, do they? Don't know what else to think except those two possibilities.
     

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