Lost a hen suddenly - What is it? PLEASE HELP! - post mortem pics

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickenWisperer, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    Just lost a hen.

    Athena is an EE hen - unknown age - more likely a araucana cross (no muffs/beard, tailed). We bought her at an auction this past summer. She is the beta hen, always healthy, good egg layer, non-aggressive. Up until recently, we got eggs very steadily from all of our girls. suddenly, we havent. We have assumed that something has been eating them after finding an empty egg shell, and yolk in the nest. Our girls shouldnt have mites as we've treated them for that. They got A LOT of pumpkin innards/seeds/etc the other day as a "natural de-wormer".

    Athena always was skittish, but never sickly. Good sized bird, healthy, never had any problems. Gorgeous eggs.

    Today, I got home and let the girls out somewhere between 4:10 - 4:20 to free range. Everybody was fine. No blood, no strange behaivior, nothing. Athena looked fine - not wobbly, ran around, talked, normal stuff. They had run out, again, so I filled it up. Gathered the eggs, went back to the house.

    Then, about 5:00 or so, Dad told me he came home, but heard all the chickens making a fuss (cackling, etc) said he went down to check. Nothing ran in or out of the house, nothing. Said a few were on roost, but the others were standing outside the door, still making a fuss. But, that nothing else seemed out of place. He then came in, and promptly told me that the chooks were hollering, standing outside the door, not anything wrong, and that they are "stupid". Knowing that SOMETHING was happening, I jogged down to the coop. It was dusk, and dark enough I couldnt see real well.

    There in the the corner of the coop, was athenas body. It was in the small corner between the chickens' door to the run and the main door to the coop. Looked, and all the other birds were on roost. I ran back, told dad something was into my chickens and a hen was dead, to bring a flashlight. We got back, and looked at her body. Her right let was sticking up in the air - wings to her sides - and neck straighforward, but head slightly bent (it was NOT at a strange angle, didnt look to be broken). Her mouth was open and eyes closed. The other birds were upset, but apparently unharmed. Dad picked her up by one leg, and we looked all over at the body - we could NOT see any blood or wounds - nothing looked out of place.

    We took her body back to the house for closer examination. We found that there was something wrong with her vent. There was a yellow substance, I dont know what, and her vent was red, angry, and apparently inflamed looking. I had no clue what was wrong.

    she had shown NO SIGNS of being egg-bound.....no lethargy, her abdomen was NOT swollen. I checked and felt of her gut post-mortem - it was firm, as if she was going to lay or something, but was not swollen and wasnt hard. There was no access blood around the vent area at all. I couldnt see any blood anywere in the coop either. I thought perhaps a prolapse, but there werent any guts hanging out.

    Here are some pictures of the body, AFTER it was moved -



    What was wrong with her? Do I need to take precautions? what can I do?

    This is more than just livestock, these are my pets and babies! I am so shocked.....i dont think it has hit yet. Please, ANY help or suggestions will be so appreciated.....
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    By any chance did you open her up and really look inside? The color of the internals, the continuity of the intestines, potenial growth on ovaries and so on can't be seen from the outside.
  3. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    Quote:No, I didnt. I just dont have the heart to.....she was a pet to me. And she is already buried now. I doubt that there is anyone I know of who would do that for me - and my vets office refuses to even look at chickens, much less dead ones.
  4. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Almost sounds like Tip Over Syndrome from the way you found her. It is where they suddenly die for no reason and you find them flat on their back with feet in the air, head and neck straight out, wings out to sides. I watched one do it right in front of me. It is like they have a heart attack and just die. And it happens to what we think is perfectly healthy birds.
  5. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    Quote:That is so strange. I dont know, I just cant figure this out. Thank you for your help.
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
  7. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    Anybody else?

    I am almost wondering if maybe she was an internal layer all of a sudden for some reason?
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If you didn't open her up, the only thing you can really say is that she just up and died like some birds do in life. Usually it is a heart attack when you just find them flat on their backs and dead.
  9. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    By any chance did you "feel" an egg or firmness inside the vent? Finding yolk in a nest previously and seeing the yellowish yolk substance near the vent, it could be an internal laying issue...almost like the egg was not forming properly and was staying within the body. Poor girl. I am so sorry you lost her.
  10. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    Thank you all so much for your help and kind words. My other birds appear fine, so I am going with the fact that it was probably an individual problem.

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