Help please. Sudden death of hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lottielee, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. Lottielee

    Lottielee Hatching

    Aug 9, 2012
    Hi I wonder if anyone could shed any light? We had 5 hens, 2 we raised from chicks from aug 2012, 3 a year old rescues. One hen, Stevie, one of the originals raised from chicks had after 2 day feeling down last July suddenly changed, started crowing like a cockerel, became very dominant and aggressive but looked in fine health. Bright comb, upright stance, glossy feathers. She did begin to be aggressive towards my 12 year old daughter as she is the main care giver. Last night however she didn't come in to roost and after a long search in the dark (they are very free range with acres to roam) I found her lying dead in the grass. No sign of a struggle, no teeth marks and no feathers missing. Just lying stiff. She was fine when she was let out yesterday morning. My daughter is devastated and I'm trying to find an explanation for her. She fears it may happen to the others.
    Could it be to do with her change to (almost) cockerel?! She has been laying fine since December, with a brief downturn in them all in the last few months but back to an egg each a day in the last week.
    Any help will be gratefully received.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Sorry for your loss.

    There are any number of reasons a bird dies suddenly, like a cancer, heart disease, aneurysm, stroke, and so forth. In this case I suppose it's possible there was a cancer in the reproductive system or endocrine system which affected the bird's hormones. Ovarian cancer is unfortunately fairly common. You really won't know for sure unless you have a necropsy done, which a state vet or ag college will often do free or for a minimal charge. You could try contacting your County Extension office to check into this or look here. Many people will do a necropsy themselves. Actually, it's a good idea to look into this ahead of time, so that if it comes up again, you will know what their particular requirements for the condition of the bird or body are, costs, etc.

    If the bird was not showing any symptoms of illness, particularly respiratory symptoms like runny nose, mattered eyes, eough, etc., then it is unlikely she had something contagious.
  3. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Songster

    Jan 29, 2007
    [​IMG] Good responses above.

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