Just found my favorite broiler chicken dead - one leg under, one leg stretched out - heart attack?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cocoloco, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. cocoloco

    cocoloco Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello folks - what a crappy way to end the year. I went to the coop this morning and my 5 birds were quiet, huddled around my favorite hen, Patti, laying dead in the straw. To refresh your memory, I'm the city girl who had 8 chickens dumped on her last May. My husband and I tried our best to make a go of it, only to find 6 were broilers/Cornish Cross and not supposed to live long. We got rid of one rooster, and then, one hen, that had been sick from the start, died July 4th. We have had the rest ever since and
    made it through the hottest summer in 80 yrs here in Mass. I am heartbroken. Patti was eating and drinking yesterday. They haven't left the coop in days because of the cold but they are active in the coop. I feel horrible because I awoke 5am - and decided to go back to bed for another hour. When I found her in the coop, she had one foot under her, another stretched straight out, as though she were walking and fell. Her head was turned to the side, eyes were closed and body was still warm when we found her. Her vent appears distended and has a bit of blood - is that from dying? I watch them carefully to see if any appear eggbound. They all stopped laying with the onset of winter -except for one - who lays once a week. I feed them layer feed with calcium. Do you think it was a heart attack? They are all meatbirds so we didn't expect them to live this long - still, I am hoping she didn't suffer. Here are more details - she was my sneezy hen - never a runny nose or eyes, but sneezed when I put hay in the coop and when she was eating (she would gobble the crumbles, put her whole face in them and sneeze). A month ago, I noticed her comb getting grayish. We started giving all of them VetX in their water and I put some vaseline on her comb. Still, I never had any chickens with a runny nose or eyes. They ate very well - lots of fresh greens. She never acted sick, her tail was always up. I am heartbroken - hoping it was a heart attack and quick.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It was very likely a heart attack as she was in apparent good health yesterday. You have done a great job with these birds, but understand that they have a relatively short life span.
     
  3. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with sourland, likely a heart issue. Based on the breed their internal organs are just not developed for long life. And the greying of the comb indicates poor circulation/lack of oxygen. Kudo's to you for giving her a good happy life!
     
  4. cocoloco

    cocoloco Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the replies. I keep wondering if I went out to the coop sooner, if I could have saved her, but,
    with a heart attack - you have barely enough time with a human - let alone a chicken. If there is one thing
    this group has done for me it is to not make me feel like a fool for mourning a chicken. It's just that she was
    the friendliest - the only one who wouldn't squawk and run when you tried to pat her. We are feeling so lousy
    but, with 3 broilers left, I guess we'd better get used to it.
     
  5. cocoloco

    cocoloco Out Of The Brooder

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    I accidentally posted to the Newbie forum - and a wonderful member told me these birds have an exp date on them so there is not much we could have done. That is probably the best way to put it. As soon as I learned what they were, I pulled back their grain when they were young and only fed it sparingly forcing them to forage free range most of the day and giving them a treat of fresh greens and healthy leftovers every afternoon. I think that is how they made it through the summer but, now, with the cold and snow, they are not moving as much. We buried our hen yesterday, but, beforehand, out of curiosity, I weighed her - she was over 15lbs. Yep, these birds are BIG. It has been a hard year - I lost my dad last Spring - the summer was one trial after another, a good friend passed about 2 weeks ago - through it all, chickens were a nice distraction. When I found that dead bird yesterday, I just broke down - I quickly realized it wasn't just the bird, but all the other stuff from this hellacious year. I feel much better today - I just went into the coop to do my morning "wellness" check - LOL - yep, all still alive. My problem now - I have 2 roosters and 3 hens (2 broiler hens and 1 bantam hen). Horrible ratio, I know, but, remember, we did not acquire these chickens normally and knew nothing about them. We have been learning as we are going along and things were ok when the other 2 hens were alive. We have a dog cage in the coop - and the hens will go in there and in the nesting boxes when they don't want the roosters bugging them. Here is a question - Do you think I should get a couple of full grown hens to balance things out? I saw an ad on Craigslist yesterday - someone has 25 egg layers and can't keep them all. I thought it might help the ratio and add some excitement to the boring
    winter coop.
     
  6. herechilychiky

    herechilychiky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi cocoloco
    I would check out the farm/owner first. You don't want ANY diseases brought to your new flock! If you do decide to add some hens make SURE to quarantine them for several weeks. Watch they're behavior and look for any health issues, then you can start slowly integrating them into your flock. I would be cautious. If you research the topic through BYC you'll find some good info. Good luck!
     
  7. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Excellent advice! Many people introduce disease by not following quarantining advice! Not a reason not to adopt, just a reason to be cautious and prudent. I quarantine for 30 days, and I'm very, very cautious about where they came from.
     

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