Hen Declined/Died in less than 24hrs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Nashville Hens, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Nashville Hens

    Nashville Hens Hatching

    Feb 6, 2014
    Hi everyone,

    I have been enjoying all the advice and stories on this forum since October 2013. My wife and I are raising our first hens. I have been completely impressed with how hardy they are even laying with temps dipping into the single digits. I have winterized their coop well, and they are eating all the table scraps we can give them.

    Unfortunately, I am writing because our lone speckled sussex did not come out to eat this morning when I put their pellets out. I checked on her again this afternoon, and she was fluffed, head tucked in and eyes closed. I could get her attention and she would open her eyes, but I could not get her to move on her own. I went into the coop and picked her up to move her inside (in the 20's, but the other chickens are spry and unaffected). I put her on the ground to get out of the coop and she could not stand any more, was unable to use her feet...or wasn't up to trying. She was also breathing heavily, no wheezing, just visible deep breaths. I grew up on a farm and have seen these signs in animals before and knew this was not good.

    I made a warm box for her with water and food inside, and placed her inside while I went to the web to search. I did notice yellowish runny poop where she roosts and she had heavy signs of it on her feathers near the vent. She also had a large poop that was solid, but stained yellow by the urates and had a strange mastitis/stringy yellow looking substance over it. The only thing I can find that is close, is the Blackhead you all have mentioned.

    I went down to check on her after a few hours, and sadly, she had already passed away. It hurts to bury one of our chickens, we love them. We now have 6, they are all 32-36 weeks old. 5 are laying now, and I believe the speckled sussex was laying, but I can't be positive since they all started around the same time. If she was, I think it was only sporadic, over the last 10 days. I noticed two small "pullet" eggs that were a very light creamy color, different than our other breeds. I think these were hers. Initially, I thought she had trouble laying an egg. After she died I felt her abdomen carefully, but did not feel any "hung" egg (although I am not an expert). I am just at a loss.

    What could have caused her decline and die so rapidly (less than 24hrs)? I check them multiple times a day. We did have two straight days of rain, which kept them mostly inside, but she came out eagerly to eat both days (often first). I did not notice any strange droppings either until this morning (she roosts in the same spot every time which makes it easy to check. We did feed them avocado peels (now I won't after reading they can be harmful and have resulted in deaths for others), but they would eat them and have been doing so for two months! The only other thing I can think of is, we fed them some raw portabello mushroom trimmings in the last three days.


    Does anyone have any thoughts?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

  2. ten chicks

    ten chicks Songster

    May 9, 2013
    Unfortunately is could be anything from worms to being egg bound/peritonitis/impacted crop/heart/respiratory issues/injury,etc. Watch your other girls,if it is something serious you should see some symptoms. Look for change in poop/eating/drinking habits/fluffed out and becoming lethargic.

    My condolences,very heartbreaking when our pets die.
  3. Nashville Hens

    Nashville Hens Hatching

    Feb 6, 2014
    Thank you, all the others are strong and healthy. They have made it through the cold winter, and I am looking forward to seeing them enjoy their first spring!

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