Lavender Orphington mysteriously dead???

Often times this is called sudden death syndrome. They are perfectly normal, and then dead. So discouraging. A dangerous time, is right after hatching 2-3 days you can loose them, and then right at 4 months - just when you think maybe it is time for eggs. So discouraging. An old time chicken keeper told me, that at that age, they are approaching full size. She felt that they had been hatched with a minor defect that was able to maintain the bird, until the bird got near full size.

Take a long hard look at the rest of you flock, if they seem bright eyed and bushy tailed, do not worry about it and go on. Once I lost one bird a month, 3 months in a row... just dead like that. I was getting very worried, and never had another one in years.

If these are hatchery birds, 10 to one, genetically speaking, the birds in your flock are not even related genetically. There is no way of knowing. If these are birds you hatched yourself, well, the healthy ones will go on to reproduce, so this should terminate.

If you would start to loose 2-3 birds this week, then I would have them necropsied, if you have that available. I would not bother if it was one bird, that was apparently healthy and then just gone. I would assume it was a genetic fault, and probably none of the others are that closely related.

Mrs K
Another possibility is a freak accident. For whatever reason she may have banged into something and broken her neck or suffered some other injury. Perhaps something startled her and she panicked: a loud noise, a piece of paper blowing by in the wind, who knows what it could have been. Maybe she was trying to get away in a pecking order fight or from amorous cockerel. Over the years I think I've lost two this way. Nothing wrong with them, I just found them dead. The neck felt like it was broken.

I agree that if it were a one time event it is nothing to be worried about. When you deal with living animals you sometimes have to deal with dead animals. That's as true with cats and dogs as it is with chickens. If it happens again soon then I'd look into it.

I don't know where you live. If you are in the US I suggest calling your county extension office and talk to them about getting a necropsy. That's an autopsy for chickens. Each state is different but ask about cost, how you preserve the body, and where you need to take it, weekdays and weekends. Some states make it really easy, some not so much. This way you are prepared if it happens again. If you are not in the US I don't know what your procedure would be.

I know it is upsetting but whether it was a birth defect or a freak accident it's nothing you did wrong.

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