How to find out why a chicken died

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Shetazzie, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Shetazzie

    Shetazzie In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2014
    Does anyone know where I could take my chicken to find out why she passed away? She had been sick for just a few days and even after my best efforts she passed away last night. I was hoping I could take her somewhere to find out why so I know if my other chickens are at risk. I do not know of a chicken vet in my area and it being Sunday everywhere seems to be closed.
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Refrigerate the body, but don't freeze it. Most states will offer a necropsy, some are free, but most charge a fee which can vary greatly. What state are you in? California is free, and there are at least one other that is free also. I can't seem to post links at this time, but will try again later. Try to Google your state Dept. of Agriculture for a phone number.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It depends on where you are. A vet probably won't be able to help. Good avian vets are rare as hens teeth and those with poultry experience even more scarce.
    You need to find your state poultry lab. Sometimes there's one at a state vet school.
    In the mean time, you need to soak the bird and lather it up with dishwashing liquid and refrigerate till you can get it there. The sooner the better.

    Casportpony did a good write up on it here.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    If you have not already done so, double bag it and refrigerate or place in a cooler with ice so the body so it will be useful for a postmortem.

    You can try calling a vet, even if they don't treat poultry they may be able to give you info on who to contact.

    Or, call your county extension agent for advice. Most have an in with poultry experts.

    Or contact poultry division of the closest vet school if your state has one.

    Hope this helps, sorry about your loss and that your others are not ill.
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Or you could do it yourself even. I've opened up a couple and found an obvious cause.... they both had impacted gizzards from eating long grass cuttings. I appreciate, you won't be able to establish if it is a microbial problem, but a large worm burden etc should be obvious.
    You also learn a lot in the process. I appreciate it is not for the faint hearted and I really had to psych myself up to do it, but I was proud that I did and actually found the cause.

    Good luck whatever you decide. I do think it is important to find a cause if you can, so that you can protect the rest of your flock or prevent it from happening to others.


  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    If you want to try DIY…Chicken health for Dummies has instructions and photos to help you do the post mortem. Personally I never had a problem with dissection in college labs, but could never dissect one of my own pets.

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