My healthy chicken suddenly died?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by ILuvMyGirls, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. ILuvMyGirls

    ILuvMyGirls New Egg

    Nov 21, 2010
    Wondering what could have caused my Rhode Island Red full-grown chicken to suddenly die in the chicken coop? Do chickens have heart attacks? Could eating a Widow poisonous spider kill them? My other 2 hens seem fine.
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Sorry about the loss of your chicken. Eating a black widow spider would not have caused its death. Unfortunately, it’s not real uncommon for this sort of thing to happen and there are a number of possible causes.
    Heart attack (as you suggested) is one of them. Most commonly this happens with the very fast growing Cornish cross chickens, who are subject to all sorts of health problems.
    Being egg bound is another fairly frequent form of death. Hens can die if a fully-formed egg gets stuck somewhere between their shell gland and vent. Sometimes it happens because the egg is too big, or there is injury to the reproductive tract that blocks the egg, or the chicken has calcium deficiency. Overweight chickens are prone to getting egg-bound. So are young hens that are pushed to lay before they’re fully mature. Egg-bound death doesn't typically happen real suddenly; there are usually signs that a hen is egg-bound and there a some steps you can take to move the egg. However, the blockage often isn’t discovered until after the chicken is dead and the owners can be caught by surprise.
    Accidents can always happen. A chicken could ingest something poisonous (but a black widow spider shouldn't do it). One bird could simply jump down from a high roost onto another bird. Sometimes weird accidents happen which just cannot be anticipated.
    You may never know why your chicken died. All you can do is pay careful attention to your birds and ensure that there's nothing obviously dangerous. If you have reason to suspect injury or disease, or notice abnormal behavior in other chickens in the flock, get your dead bird examined immediately. If the rest of your chickens are doing their normal, happy chicken activities, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. As one chicken owner put it: “Where there’s livestock, there’s deadstock.”
    The only unsettling thing about having a bird die for no obvious reason is there is really nothing concrete you can change or improve as a matter of prevention and protection for the rest of your birds. Good luck with the rest of your flock.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Michael has given you some great ideas as to why she may have died. But yes, they do have heart attacks. Egg binding is very common, many bacterial and viral infections can take them fast. The only way to truly know is to do a necropsy on them. Some vets can do this for you. You would have put the freshly dead bird in a plastic bag and put her in the refrig, not the freezer, make an appointment with the vet to bring her in.

    I am so sorry you lost her. [​IMG]
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I'm very sorry you lost her. Even roosters may die with no apparent reason - so it goes well beyond egg binding.
  5. ILuvMyGirls

    ILuvMyGirls New Egg

    Nov 21, 2010
    Thanks for your response & cute pic! :)
  6. ILuvMyGirls

    ILuvMyGirls New Egg

    Nov 21, 2010
    Thanks for all the info. & she was a big chicken so maybe it was the cause. Too bad about the spider not being the problem though cuz we threw her eggs out to be sure there wasn't any poison in them. OOPS! She was buried in our garden & then coyotes dug her up after burying her several times. Funny thing is we live in So. CA in an urban city but now have coyotes. Our Chicken Coop is secure to protect my girls tho.
  7. ILuvMyGirls

    ILuvMyGirls New Egg

    Nov 21, 2010
    Thanks but can't do a necropsy with a chicken which was buried weeks ago & then reburied several times after coyotes kept digging Red up.
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    At our lodge
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Sorry about your bird! You've received lots of great info above.
  9. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Yes chickens do just kill over for no apparent reason and stroke and heart attack [​IMG]

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