This thread is a follow up from the one here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=443006 I still need help! Basically the story is: In Early december I buy four young hens, I was told the age was 20weeks. This is the first time I have had chickens, so I mightve have missed precautions when buying. To begin with all the hens were quite smelly, their droppings looked like undigested feed pellets. After some time in their new spacious home and eating a lot of grass, their droppings were now huge and healthy looking. Like mini horse poo. All except one, a "bluebelle" who always seemed to have runny droppings. The hen was also always very timid, and almost too-docile when picked up. But I just attributed this as to her personality. She always ate plenty, despite the others being more boisterous around the feed/treats. One morning, I saw her stretching her neck and opening her mouth repeatedly with no sound coming out. I watched for a while but she seemed OK so I left. I cam back two hours later to find that she had died. This was a big shock, as the hen did not seem ill. I kept the "body" for a while, researching potential causes of death. I found out about gapeworms, for which the symptoms fitted. (The gaping and sudden death) I tested with the Q-tip method. Interestingly, on the first day I tried to look down her throat, but mouth was frozen shut, just couldnt open it. But by now the muscles had relaxed I guess. I noticed there were two passages in the throat, and I was unsure of which was the windpipe. I slid the tip down the large passage towards the rear first, very deep but it came out clean. I then carefully fed the q-tip into the smaller hole just below the tongue, this was more of a tight squeeze but I again got it in deep. When I pulled it out this time however, I noticed the tip was covered in blood, just the cotton tip that is. So it had come into contact with a bleeding area, I didnt feel any obstructions so I dont think I created any wounds to let out blood. Now, this is poultry basics I guess, but I dont have a clue which of these two passages is the windpipe and which is the food passage (oesophagus?). The blood I found was just blood, no worms. I looked VERY carefully. So now I need to find out what this means. If you guys think it may be some kind of parasite/gapeworms then I will buy some flubenvet ASAP (the only thing available in the uk that works on Gapeworms). If you think the blood was the fault of me sticking q-tips in places where it shouldnt be, then the death is a mystery. Perhaps choking? One of my other hens had made spluttery/cough noises for the whole time I have had it, she has also become scruffy, lost head feathers and become a more matted dull colour. However she is still very bold/agressive so whatever it is, it hasnt made her physically weak (yet). Getting to the bottom of these issues is really important for the health and survival of my remaining birds!