Hen Just Died

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by imphavok, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. imphavok

    imphavok New Egg

    Aug 31, 2013

    I have eight hens. One of my Orpingtons seemed a little lethargic yesterday and today was very lethargic. We brought her inside and couldn't get her to eat, but she would drink a little water. Her one eye was closed and she just wanted to lay still. We separated her from the other hens and had her inside with us. All evening she seemed to be weakening and seemed extra thirsty.

    All of a sudden she dropped on and went into death spasms. She died within a minutes. there was blood coming out her beak and eyes. It was horrible.

    All the other hens seem to be fine, but we are of course watching them carefuly.

    Any ideas what the heck happened? I cannot find any chicken diseases in my online research that match what happened. She was fine 48 hours ago.

    Many thanks for your help. I'm very worried for my other ladies.

    If it matter the Orpington was about 11 month old, seemed extremely healthy and laid regularly.
  2. Baileyje

    Baileyje New Egg

    Jan 30, 2014
    I'm new to all if this so don't have any answers, but wanted to say that I'm so sorry for your loss. I wonder too what happened, I'm interested to see what replies you get.
  3. Motts

    Motts Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2013
    I'm not the one to have any idea about what may have happened. I know that chickens can go into kidney failure. Depending on your state you can submit her for testing and necropsy and it may be free. I lost a stray hen after months of treating her for wounds from some kind of attack. I submitted her and they were very thorough and found out she probably had Mareks' though that was not the cause of death. So glad I didn't encorporate her into my flock.

    So sorry for your loss.
  4. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2013
    Dallas, Tx
    I too am terribly sorry for your loss.

    I am researching it the best I can and will attempt to get back to you with an answer.

    How was her breathing?

    Was there any diarrhea?

    Was there any discharge from anywhere before the blood?

    Are there any lesions or warts?

    Are you chickens vaccinated against any disease? (for ruling out)

    Are there any signs of parasites?

    Are there any signs of injury?

    My worst fear for you right now is the blood symptom but I need more info on the legs, if there was diarrhea and breathing pattern
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014
  5. imphavok

    imphavok New Egg

    Aug 31, 2013
    Thank you everyone for your sympathies and kind words

    Her breathing seemed normal at first, but became labored as the day went out

    Yes, there was diarrhea, again it showed up in the evening, It seemed fine during the day

    There was some blood on her nose about eight hours before she died. No warts or lesions

    no vaccines (We got her when she was seven months old, so she may have had some before we got her.)

    No signs of parasites at all and no signs of injury.

    From what I have found researching, it sounds like she may have either eaten something sharp or eaten something poisonous. We are doing a search today to see if we can find anything poisonous she may have gotten into.

    Today, the other seven hens seem to be their normal ornery active selves.

    Thank you very mcuh for your help. We certainly don't want anything to happen to our other hens. Theyare beloved pets.
  6. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2013
    Dallas, Tx
    Is there any rat poison she could of gotten into or similar? Rat poison would cause death by internal bleeding. I's a blood thinner. It would explain alot of the symptoms

    Here is a list of poisonous plants to chickens that might be in your backyard
    Bull Nettle
    Castor Bean
    Curly Dock
    Ground Ivy

    Horse Chestnut
    Horse Radish
    Lamb's Quarters
    Lily of the Valley
    Nightshade (Also called Deadly Nightshade)
    St. Johns Wort
    Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata L.)

    I wish you the best. I am sorry for your loss.
  7. imphavok

    imphavok New Egg

    Aug 31, 2013
    Thank you

    Definitely no rat poison (as we would never use poison around here). However, the hens do eat dead mice that the cats bring home and perhaps some of the other farmers around us use it.

    We did find that someone had gotten into some corn seed that was stored in the basement. It was covered in the pink pesticide that is commonly seen on corn seed nowadys (the stuff that is killing the bees). The farmer beside us left in the field last year and we put it in the basement so no one would get into it. I'm not sure if she ate any of it, but the bag was ripped open. I'm not sure if that could cause it, but it's the only poisonous thing we could find in the basement and garage that she could of possibly gotten into.

    I'm in Ontario Canada,so we have a foot or snow of snow, so the hens have been in the garage a lot lately (the basement is accessed through the garage). there is not a lot of plants outside for them to eat, so I don't think she could of gotten a poisonous plant.

    Thank you for all the help and kind words
  8. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2013
    Dallas, Tx
    My gut says it's the other farmer's rat poison and the chicken got a fatal dose. The cat killed a mouse. It may be feeding on your food.

    Most rat poisons are anticoagulants which are blood thinners. The most common is rat poisons made from Warfarin. This medication is used in humans after surgery. It's used in rat poison because the doses are necessary are small. The antidote would be easy if a kid (not chicken) got into it making it safer than previous methods (such as arsenic) because it's a human medication.

    If the chicken got into rat poison it be similar in effect to a overdose in humans. It would explain most the symptoms. It really is a bad way to go. http://www.drugs.com/sfx/warfarin-side-effects.html

    I am very sorry for your loss.

    It may be best to set up live traps to keep the mice away from your chickens and also look into a treadle feeder. A good treadle feeder will make it so only your chickens can get the food.

    There are some designs of home built treadle feeders on the site


    There are places to buy them but they will run you 100 dollars at least
  9. imphavok

    imphavok New Egg

    Aug 31, 2013
    thank you so much for your help!

    My ladies are free range so they run all over our five acres so it's hard to completely control what they eat.

    Many thanks for your help
  10. kym wood

    kym wood New Egg

    Aug 6, 2013
    Help advice needed! I've had 3 hens died in two days, all xcross breed frizzle and austrolps. Sisters. First all looked normal and healthy, dead in pen in morning. Other was dead by night. Next one was nearly dead with her neck twisted around couldn't move.. then died.. I don't think it was poisoned. Could it be a genic disorder? No sighns of blood or trama?

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