Help! What killed my silkie mum?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by fishermum, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. fishermum

    fishermum Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    U.P. of MI
    Hello all.
    I just returned from a horrible surprise at the henhouse.
    My black silkie hen (and mum, she has two two week old chicks) is dead! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A little background: I have (had) 6 silkies in all. Three are a year and a half old: 2 hens (including the one that died) and 1 roo, and the other three are 7-8 month old hens.
    I also have 4 d'uccles (banty sized)--3 hens and a young roo, all 6 months old.

    The d'uccles don't sleep in the henhouse, they roost in a tree above it.

    The silkies all sleep in the henhouse, and from what I see they usually just pile up together on the floor with the rooster sitting above on top of the nesting boxes. I use pine shavings as litter in the hen house.
    (don't know if this info will help at all but the sticky said to give background)

    My black silkie was absolutely FINE yesterday. The day before that she and her chicks were out in the yard for most of the day (she's been bringing them out lately to forage in the yard).
    The last time I saw her alive was yesterday late afternoon. She was in the house with her chicks.
    This afternoon I went to the henhouse to check on her and the babies (one of my white silkies has also gone broody and is always in the house as well) and saw that she was laying by the door. The chicks were hovering around the other broody hen. My black hen was stiff. She had no trauma that I could detect--no blood, nor missing feathers. She was in a sitting/crouching position with her head down, neck stretched out. (almost reminded me of the position she would assume when protecting her babies). I put on gloves and looked her over. Couldn't find any wounds, and of course, the other chickens are all fine.

    What could have killed her? Could it have been a disease?
    The other chickens all seem fine--no symptoms that I can tell. Then again I am fairly new to chickens, and very new to silkies, so perhaps I wouldn't be able to tell(?)

    One more question: What should I do with the chicks? Should I bring them inside, or do you think there is a possibility that the other white silkie hen might take over the mothering?

    I am pretty upset, as this hen was the sweetest out of all of my silkies, and such a good mum. [​IMG]
     
  2. roosters4sale

    roosters4sale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2010
    missouri
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope the other mother takes to your chicks. If she doesn't peck them and lets them under her when she sits down you are in the good, but ,if not you should bring them in , especially in the cold nights. the only thing I can say about the hen is that weasels usually only break the neck and just drain the blood out. (drinking) Good luck with the chicks.
     
  3. DaniLovesChickens

    DaniLovesChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2010
    Michigan
    So sorry to hear about your hen![​IMG]

    Did you look on her (and the others) for mites and lice? Is there anything that she could have gotten into that could have poisoned her?

    Normally a chicken won't eat mushrooms or weeds and such that are poisonous to them, but was there anything else around?

    I have never had silkies so I don't know if there is some health problem that they are prone to. Hopefully a silkie owner will respond.



    Is the other broody hen sitting on eggs? I think that probably the only way to get her to care for the chicks would be to remove the eggs (at night) and then put the chicks there. Keep a very close eye on them! You may need to just bring them in and take care of them yourself. You have to make sure that they are being taken care of if left outside or they would easily be picked off by a predator (a red-tailed hawk got one of ours last year)


    Good luck and again, so sorry!
     
  4. fishermum

    fishermum Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    U.P. of MI
    Thank you both for the replies.

    I did take the one egg that the broody hen was sitting on (turns out it was rotten anyway). She isn't pecking at the chicks, and lets them climb on her, but isn't really 'mothering' them, or getting up to let them crawl under her. It's more like she just puts up with them cuddling up to her for warmth. Hopefully she snaps out of her 'lump in the coop' stage and takes an interest.

    I did not notice any mites, although I did not look for them really closely. I did poke through the feathers a bit to search for any trauma, and felt her neck (did not feel broken).
    I don't think she could have gotten into any poison. None around that I know of, and as I said before, the other chickens are all fine. It's just strange...

    I'm leaving the chicks in the hen house tonight, and will see how they are doing, and if white silkie hen has shown any more interest in them tomorrow morning.
    Keep your fingers crossed for me that she 'adopts' them! They are my first hen/home hatched chicks so I'm kind of attached to them! [​IMG]
     
  5. roosters4sale

    roosters4sale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2010
    missouri
    The chicks sound so cute, you'll have to let us know how they are doing.
     
  6. fishermum

    fishermum Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    U.P. of MI
    They are cute!

    Here are a couple of pics of mum with her babies (taken a week ago)

    [​IMG]


    And I just love this one:

    [​IMG]


    Wish I knew why/how she died! [​IMG]
     
  7. roosters4sale

    roosters4sale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2010
    missouri
    Those are some dandy baby chicks.
     
  8. DaniLovesChickens

    DaniLovesChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2010
    Michigan
    That's so great that you have those pictures! It's horrible that she died, of course, but I'm glad you were able to get those pictures.

    You may have to accept that you just might not ever know what killed her.[​IMG] That unfortunately happens.

    Good luck with the babies! [​IMG] Keep us updated!
     

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