Hen just dropped dead

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SoGaReds, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. SoGaReds

    SoGaReds New Egg

    Oct 11, 2013
    South Georgia
    Have 5 hens, 4 RIR's, and one EE. About 8 months, all laying(3-5 eggs per day). Let them out yesterday afternoon to free range in backyard. 5 mins later my son runs up with Penny-crying says he found her just laying in the flower bed. I examined her and found no visible signs of anything. We were all in backyard-no predator, unless it was a snake-but no evidence. Only other possibility was red berries(from a coral/Christmas berry plant) were in the yard. Not sure if poison or not. The other hens are fine. Any ideas?
  2. garp94

    garp94 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    New York
    A post-mortem exam might give you a clue.
    I posted a 6 or 8 month old Buff Orphington a few years ago and she had bled out from a tumor in her liver!!!. Never would have thought that so young, but some of the viral infections can lead to tumors at that age.
  3. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 1, 2013
    Smithville, Missouri
    I had a similar event last year with a guinea, never found out why.
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    How sad. Sometimes you just don't know why chickens drop dead- even with a necropsy. Very sorry for your loss.
  5. sandman221

    sandman221 Out Of The Brooder

    May 6, 2013
    had my hen also just die the other day. feed at 8am. and come home at 11am for lunch and shes dead. im thinkin she was having a hard time layin, she lays LF size eggs but is maybe 2lbs. hope ur others are fine
  6. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I would first off suspect insect poisoning. Has that flower bed been sprayed for bugs within the past couple of weeks or months? Sometimes the insecticide will re-constitute after watering or a rain, a hen will find a small depression filled with this contaminated water, drink from it, and die almost immediately.

    I've lost two hens to this cause. You can forget you sprayed since it all dried, and all traces seem to be gone, but it doesn't take much to kill a chicken.

    Some chickens are born with heart defects. I had a two-year old rooster who had a seizure right in front of me. I was able to revive him, but ten months later, I found him dead under the perch in the coop. The same thing happened the previous year to an older hen.

    You need to cover the possibility of insecticide poisoning or risk losing more chickens. though.
  7. SoGaReds

    SoGaReds New Egg

    Oct 11, 2013
    South Georgia
    Others appear to be fine. Couldn't do necropsy with 7 yr old son. These are his girls-he takes good care of them and they are his pets-feeds, waters, collects eggs, but he also understands that they can die-I personally thought we would lose one to predators instead of one just dropping dead. I researched the berries and the plant is Coral ardisia-a non-native invasive in north florida and south Georgia. It has pretty red berries that the kids had collected and some spilled on the ground. the information says toxic to livestock, but also that many birds eat the berries and spread the seeds? The plant will be gone today just to make sure.
  8. SoGaReds

    SoGaReds New Egg

    Oct 11, 2013
    South Georgia
    no insecticides or herbicides in use on the property. The flower bed is really just a large bed of leaves and straw with a few shrubs-they love to get in there and scratch it up.
  9. myskydolphin

    myskydolphin Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 8, 2013
    Northern California
    I am so sorry to hear this. I lost my one and only RIR a few days ago. She was fine with no signs of any distress. She is also the same age as your RIR. Laying well and very active. My son, unfortunately went out to check for eggs and he came running in saying 'Cinnamon is dead'. I went out and she was laying in the laying box no signs of any injury at all. Just like she was laying there and just died. I have read here that chickens die quickly and for what seems like "no reason" at all. Our chickens are like many - they are our pets. To have my son check eggs and find one our beloved little gals had passed away has been traumatic. He has no interest in checking for eggs now. :-(
    I'm really sorry for your loss and even more so that your son found her.
  10. Betsy57

    Betsy57 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Mar 31, 2011
    Murphysboro IL USA
    I went out yesterday morning to feed the chickens and let them out and I found a hen dead under the roost. I've read where others have found a dead chicken and it appears they just died on the roost and fell off. That has always been in my mind, wondering when/if that will happen to one of my chickies. Finally did. She was a Cinnamon Queen and 1 1/2 years old. A good layer. Hope that doesn't happen again.

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