My favorite hen died & I dont know why

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by joneus, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2011
    Ballston Spa
    I found my favorite hen, Matilda, dead on the shelf in the coop this morning. I'm devastated over this- but I'm also concerned for the rest of my flock. I checked her over before I buried her and didnt find anything- no parasites, she was well fleshed, no injuries, nothing. It looks like she just died in her sleep and landed on the shelf that covers the food bucket. [​IMG] She was a month shy of her 1st birthday- so it wasnt old age.

    She hadnt had any obvious health problems and was completely fine yesterday. The only explanation I can come up with is that it has been unseasonably hot the last couple of days. Could that be it? The temps went from the mid 50's/low 60's (over the weekend) to 85 on Monday and 74 yesterday. They were all panting and had droopy wings on Monday, so I let them free range all day both days and made sure they had plenty of water all over the yard. (the panting/droopy wings stopped when they got out into the yard)

    Maybe she didnt drink enough?? I dont know... I cant think of anything out there that she could have gotten into (chemicals), she hadnt been exposed to anything new, the rest of the flock is fine, and I'm not seeing any signs of distress in any of them.


    My poor lil grumpy diva mama chicken... I loved her so much. Rest in Peace, Matilda. You were a good girl who laid the prettiest olive green eggs and guarded your babies viciously. You're gonna be missed horribly.
  2. goldnchocolate

    goldnchocolate Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2008
    Awwww....I'm sorry for your loss. [​IMG] Sometimes chickens just die and you never really know why. They sure do work a way into your heart, don't they?
  3. Sorry Joneus... Sounds like you took good care of her. It's like losing a little friend you get to see every day. Very painful!
  4. dreamcatcherarabians

    dreamcatcherarabians Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2010
    Only guess I might have would be maybe egg bound? That wouldn't show from the outside. I'm so sorry, they are so sweet and we love them so much! And it hurts so bad when we lose a favorite.
  5. applefalls

    applefalls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Cockeysville, MD
    I am so sorry.
    I had one do this last year. After we buried her, I started thinking that I should have checked her to see if it was her crop or being egg bound or something like you read about on the illness threads on BYC, but by then it was too late.
    My sympathies.
  6. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2011
    Ballston Spa
    I dunno. She had laid an egg the day before- would an egg binding issue show up that fast? Her crop was empty when I felt her throat & checked for a broken neck. Its so weird. Everything I've read about that causes a sudden death in a chicken has other symptoms associated with it, but as I said- she was totally fine the day before.

    Worms, maybe? Would those kill a chicken without any warning? She wasnt gaining weight back from her 3mos of broodiness as fast as I would have liked, but I figured it was because they free range pretty much all day, every day (so lots of exercise!). Maybe I should take a poop sample to the vet, just to rule it out?

    I miss her. [​IMG]
  7. ignatz

    ignatz Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2012
    Panting and droopy in the coop, and fine after they got out. Think about that now. It sounds like your coop has no circulation and it's far too hot for them in there. If need be, put a small fan in there on low at least to help cool it off some.
  8. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2011
    Ballston Spa
    Thanks for the suggestion! On both days the coop was actually cooler inside by a couple of degrees than it was outside. Altho, when its 85 outside, 83 inside isnt all that much better. The coop itself is shaded, for most of the day, by the trunk and branches of the large tree that it sits under and its got huge windows on all 4 sides to let the breeze in. Its the run that was too hot for them. Normally, when the temps are high, in the height of summer, the run is completely shaded for most of the day... but, the leaves havent come out yet, so for now it sits in the sun.

    Maybe I'll put a fan in the run & throw a tarp over the top if it gets that hot again.
  9. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    I always keep water in my coops even at night in warm weather. I know a lot of people look down on it, but they do not have access to water otherwise. I had a pullet have heat stroke on me because of a stupid mistake I made, and I learned real quick to make sure there was plenty of ventilation and keep water in the coop. That was when I first got chickens, and did not have this site for reference/learning. I found this site after that had happened.

    I also put a dutch style door on my coop. I has hardware cloth in a frame that I lock in place and leave the top of the door open on days and nights when it is very hot so we always have good air. The girls will then roost near those dutch doors. It has made all the difference. My coop is also in a very shady area, but it still gets hot when you have birds with a body temp over 100 all together in a coop... They heat it up.
  10. mkcolls

    mkcolls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2011
    [​IMG] I'm so sorry for your loss.

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