Help! Tragedy for unknown reasons

kkonnoff

Chirping
7 Years
Feb 1, 2012
3
4
64
Hi all,

I had a 6mo old, previously healthy, Jersey Giant suddenly die Tuesday and her 6mo old sibling (who had been healthy that morning) die less than 24 hours later. We have been trying to figure out what happened. The rest of the flock is fine, they didn't get into any poison, no signs of trauma. They died with rapid breathing and what seemed like fluid in their lungs (I'm a nurse and if they were human, I'd say it was heart failure). Very odd since no other chicken has any symptoms. Has anyone heard of this? Is it a genetic weirdness with Jerseys? Could the second one have died from a broken heart? Is that a thing? Any ideas would be appreciated.

Kelly
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
36,679
51,556
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
Hi all,

I had a 6mo old, previously healthy, Jersey Giant suddenly die Tuesday and her 6mo old sibling (who had been healthy that morning) die less than 24 hours later. We have been trying to figure out what happened. The rest of the flock is fine, they didn't get into any poison, no signs of trauma. They died with rapid breathing and what seemed like fluid in their lungs (I'm a nurse and if they were human, I'd say it was heart failure). Very odd since no other chicken has any symptoms. Has anyone heard of this? Is it a genetic weirdness with Jerseys? Could the second one have died from a broken heart? Is that a thing? Any ideas would be appreciated.

Kelly
I'm sorry for your loss:hugs

Without testing/necropsy, there would be no way to know for sure what happened. If you still have the body or if you lose another one, refrigerate it and send it to your state lab for testing.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,752
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
Hi Kelly and welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry that is is under such sad circumstances.

The surest way to find out what killed them would be do have a professional necropsy done by your state agricultural or veterinary diagnostics lab if you are in the USA. Some states subsidise these services so it can be relatively inexpensive and some are even free but you would need to refrigerate the carcass as soon as possible and then send it off to them in a cooler pack.
If that is not an option, you could do a DIY necropsy yourself, especially since you have some medical training. If you decide to go that route, take lots of photos so that we can look at them and perhaps help you come to a conclusion.

The commonest disease that might cause respiratory symptoms and relatively sudden death like that in birds of that age would be Marek's disease It is caused by a virus (a herpes virus), which amongst many other possible symptoms also supresses the immune system and leaves birds vulnerable to aspergillosis and pneumonia.
 

kkonnoff

Chirping
7 Years
Feb 1, 2012
3
4
64
Thanks everyone for your input. I made a gravestone for my daughter to place on their grave (she raised them from chicks
IMG_3439.jpg
).
 

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