Hen Drops Dead, Want to Know Why

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hillbrothers eggs, May 17, 2011.

  1. hillbrothers eggs

    hillbrothers eggs Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 9, 2009
    Placerville, CA
    Hello All,

    It is with sadness in my heart that I have to announce the death of our Buff Orpington Smudge. I went out to the coop this evening to eggs and found her lying under the roost. She was cold and stiff so I think she must have pasted earlier today. It has been unseasonably cold today. Smudge has been a beautiful active hen. She is one of our biggest chickens with every nice feathers. I think she has been laying ok. It is hard to tell because we have 10 hens. We get about 3 eggs a day right now. Smudge was just over two years of age. Over the last couple of days, I have not noticed anything going on with her. She has been very active. She free ranges for most of every day.

    I did a necropsy on her thinking that I would find fatty liver disease, which took another of our orpingtons last year, but I did not find that to be the case. In fact, her liver looked great.

    Here are my findings:

    1. Smudges crop was soft and full. It did not have any smell. Good mix of grass and grains.
    2. Lungs looked good. Nice bright red (IMO)
    3. Heart also looked good. Not enlarged
    4. Liver was normal size with good color. No growths or fat around it.
    5. Gizzard also looked good. There was plenty of gravel and puree of food.
    6. Intestines looked good also. There was no discoloration or redness. They looked full. There was poop near the vent that looked normal.

    7. There seemed to be a lot more fat in the abdomen than normal.

    Now for the interesting part.

    8. There was a fully developed egg in the tube. When I first touched it, there was a couple soft spots. I thought at first that I might have pushed to hard on her abdomen and cracked the egg, but after thinking about it, I think the egg was already cracked. The shell was somewhat soft and still white. Usually her eggs are tan. As I moved the intestines around I found an egg yoke that looked to be normal size, then I found another one that was smaller. As I looked further toward where her ovaries are, I kept finding smaller and smaller yokes. I pulled out about 10 yokes of different sizes.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Does anyone know how many yokes should be developing at once? What I found seems very unusual. The other hens that I have done necropsy on did not have anything like this.

    2. How do you tell if a hen is actually egg bound vs. just not laying that egg yet? Like I said, I had not noticed her struggling at all to lay.

    3. If the egg had cracked for some reason such as trauma, would that cause her to become egg bound?

    4. We have a new rooster and He has taken a liking to Smudge, could he have possible caused some trauma? He is a silkie rooster, actually smaller than Smudge.

    Thank you for any help. I don't want to loose any more hens.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I am so sorry for your loss, and also sorry that I have no advice to give.

  3. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    An egg bound hen will show distress. They normally pant excessively and spend alot of time in the nest boxes, or wherever they lay. You can feel an egg in the vent of an egg bound hen. I am not sure how many yolks can be present at one time. There is also internal layers, which I do not know what that would look like on the inside.

    Hopefully, someone will have some answers.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by