Maxene is dead.....

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Owlwoman, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. Owlwoman

    Owlwoman Chirping

    Feb 1, 2012
    I found my Maxene (one of the Andrews Sisters) dead this morning. Her abdomen was distended and hard. So I cut her dead body open. There was a huge yellow mass in her that I removed. It had an organ in it that looked like a kidney maybe. The yellow mass looked like pressed egg yolks or fat.

    My other hen Maude has the same hard lower abdomen and her tail is on the ground and she waddles.

    My question is this: I feed them ground greens with rice/canned corn and bird seed every morning.
    Sometimes ramen noodles as well. Have I caused this? And if so should I cease and only feed them laying pellets?

    I am bereft and sad. I want my flock to be happy and healthy and feel I have done something wrong feeding them so much.

    What do you think? Thank you. Bobbie and the flock in NM
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    I am SAD WITH YOU as well. I think there is nothing wrong with the way you are feeding them. I also know there is a herd of peeps just waiting to come after me and beat me up. .I like natural feeds, and chicks do as well. ... The only thing that comes to my mind is " did your chickens have enough grit." Layer feed is the easiest solution to feeding your flock. I consider it a science diet. I AM NOT OPPOSED TO IT. You don't need grit when using these granules. Other food you give them, like seeds does need to be ground up inside gizzard ,

    with them taking grit. It is the natural way it happens.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  3. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    Always hate to hear of a beloved loss… as I think of yours, mine come to mind. I suppose it is good to care for an animal in such a way, as to morn its passing.

    As to the question of feed, I would use a good national/regional/local complete layer feed be that in crumbles, pellets, or the ground up type. Other items in your birds diets, should be limited to no more than five to ten percent of their total intake. As noted above, should you offer scratch, seeds, grains and what have you, you must provide grit. I do worry about the calcium your birds have been receiving. Please make sure to offer oyster shell free choice, if they are not getting enough from the feed you are offering.

    I would try to change your feeding method. I understand the feelings to indulge our charges, I also wish/want to feed… other things. But a complete ration as the main course, punctuated with just a few treats, is in the long run, what is best for our birds.

    Best to you and your birds,

  4. Owlwoman

    Owlwoman Chirping

    Feb 1, 2012
    My girls have laying pellets available at all times and they are free range after I let them out in the morning.

    I will cut WAY back on the produce I feed them and see how it goes. I buy spoiled produce from a local grocery and have been feeding 15 chickens a bucket full each morning. No more.

    No one else has seen the huge build up of yellow in the abdomen?

    Thanks to all of you....B
  5. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I don't think it's the feed, but the other posters have offered some good advice in that regard.

    The symptoms you describe are similar to the ones I observed in my 22 month old RIR. She stopped laying eggs and began walking uncomfortably, with her tail down and waddling. She walked slowly, isolated herself, and had puffed out feathers. This went on for a couple of weeks, and we finally put her down because she seemed so miserable. I had my husband cut her open to try to determine the cause. Internally, there were at least 3 large, hard masses of yolks (definitely not fat deposits). Each mass was about the size of a tennis ball.

    Reading other posts on BYC, I came to the conclusion that she became an internal layer. This is a common, and usually fatal condition that can affect high-producing hens (such as RIR). I think I've also read that older hens can suffer from this.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. Owlwoman

    Owlwoman Chirping

    Feb 1, 2012
    Internal layer?
    Is there no cure for this?

    My Maude has the same bloated abdomen, with tail down and waddles. The good
    thing is she does not appear to be miserable.

    Anyone have experience curing this disorder?

    Bobbie in sunny New Mexico
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    This is a common cause of death in laying hens. Causes are several. Longevity isn't selected for in breeding, only production that first year, because that's the most economical way to produce birds and eggs. High egg production is very stressful for the hen and things will go wrong in there. Unbalanced diets play a role too, as the hen has very little room for error in this area. She's using calcium at an enormous rate for every eggshell, and can't cope with issues of mineral imbalance. Once she develops the internal laying/ peritonitis, only abdominal surgery to remove the mass and uterus, and treatment for peritonitis, might save her. By the time you realize that she's sick, it's generally too late even for heroic (expensive!) measures to save her life. I value my older healthy hens, and try to raise chicks from those survivors if at all possible. I also am delighted that the feed companies have spent tons of money figuring out how to produce truly balanced feeds. Mary
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: