My Hens Are Dying. Can You Help?

SandLapper

Chirping
May 31, 2017
34
77
77
My 5 ISA Brown hens have been acting very normal, eating and active.

They are 9 months old and are in a fenced run about 10 by 30.

Last night I went to shut the coop and found one dead under the coop where they hide in the day.

I saw no visible signs of attack and the hen had nice feathers and color otherwise.

It was late so I waited to check her this morning for other clues.

Instead I opened the coop and only 3 hens ran out.

The 4th was slow...lethargic...and picked up a piece of lettuce and dropped it immediately.

She won't eat but is taking water.

She is now under the coop alone and I'm afraid she won't make it overnight.

I see no signs of illness. In fact her eyes are bright.

But she does have her head "pulled in".

I feel no egg bound, but I am new at this.

I feel something liquid in her crop and it does look swollen, but that could just be because her head is pulled in.

I massaged the crop and held her upside down but no liquid came out.

I noticed a dropping of white diarrhea or discharge near her.

Yesterday I fed them a treat of leftover beans and rice. They were not old and were well cooked.

Otherwise they ate lettuce and scratch that day.

Any direction would be appreciated.

My intuition was at first the first hen died being egg bound but now that a second is sick I don't know.

My flock is very beautiful and just started laying but now it seems to be collapsing
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,222
471
Lincolnton, NC
First off, stop all treat’s immediately. Especially high carb treats like beans and rice - which can directly affect a chickens crop. Too many carbs are super bad for chickens; even scratch should be provided in limited amounts. The hen in question; separate her with no food or water for at least 24 hours and then check her crop (it should be flat and empty in the am). That’s where I would start - also check your food to make sure it hasn’t molded or spoiled.
 

SandLapper

Chirping
May 31, 2017
34
77
77
Thanks for the reply.

I will separate her but she just doesn't seem to have 24 hrs...though I hope she pulls through. But I don't need to withhold food since she is just sitting under the coop not moving now.

If she makes it overnight I will feel the crop again and go from there

I did find out today in my research that I have been overfeeding scratch and treats, so you're right.

But would that kill an otherwise healthy hen immediately and then leave another on the verge of death within one day?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,982
832
California's Redwood Coast
The 4th was slow...lethargic...and picked up a piece of lettuce and dropped it immediately.

She won't eat but is taking water.
Sorry for your loss. :hugs

And that your gal is unwell! :(

Please consider sending the first one in for necropsy to see about getting answers if you still have her body...
State poultry labs

How to Send a Bird for a Necropsy


I saw the treats but what is the regular feed routine?

Hope your gal improves! :fl
 

SandLapper

Chirping
May 31, 2017
34
77
77
Thanks for the compassion.

I mostly just hate not knowing what to do to help.

I already buried the first hen in the orchard, but may consider excavating the body...

My usual feed routine is throwing out scratch in the morning along with a head of lettuce and some shredded carrots.

Later I feed kitchen scraps and let them poke around the pen.

Every other day or so I feed a half dozen scrambled eggs and shells.

They also have oyster shells crushed.

Thanks again
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,222
471
Lincolnton, NC
Thanks for the compassion.

I mostly just hate not knowing what to do to help.

I already buried the first hen in the orchard, but may consider excavating the body...

My usual feed routine is throwing out scratch in the morning along with a head of lettuce and some shredded carrots.

Later I feed kitchen scraps and let them poke around the pen.

Every other day or so I feed a half dozen scrambled eggs and shells.

They also have oyster shells crushed.

Thanks again
IMO, that’s way too many treats. Let them have their regular food throughout the day and give treats in moderation - again, bread, rice, corn and all carbs in serious moderation.
 

SandLapper

Chirping
May 31, 2017
34
77
77
IMO, that’s way too many treats. Let them have their regular food throughout the day and give treats in moderation - again, bread, rice, corn and all carbs in serious moderation.

I'm sort of new at this...I thought I was providing them a well rounded diet and that a little extra was a good thing.

Do you think this is the cause of death? They don't really look fat and were all vibrant and healthy.
 

shawluvsbirds

🦆Lord luv a Duck!
Apr 17, 2017
25,945
164,826
1,592
Missouri
Thanks for the reply.

I will separate her but she just doesn't seem to have 24 hrs...though I hope she pulls through. But I don't need to withhold food since she is just sitting under the coop not moving now.

If she makes it overnight I will feel the crop again and go from there

I did find out today in my research that I have been overfeeding scratch and treats, so you're right.

But would that kill an otherwise healthy hen immediately and then leave another on the verge of death within one day?
I don't know a whole lot about chickens. But I'm going to say feeding the treats did not immediately kill an otherwise healthy 9-month-old hen.
So don't beat yourself up about that.
No they do not necessarily need all that stuff but I know plenty of people that feed all kinds of scraps, bread etc. on a daily basis and their birds look and act fine and live decently long lives.
I suppose that all depends on how long you expect a chicken to live.
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,222
471
Lincolnton, NC
I'm sort of new at this...I thought I was providing them a well rounded diet and that a little extra was a good thing.

Do you think this is the cause of death? They don't really look fat and were all vibrant and healthy.
No, I do not think it was the cause of death. I’m just saying that to ensure a balanced diet, feed treats in moderation bc they will choose treats over their vitamin and mineral fortified food. That’s why I only feed treats in the evening so I know they are eating their food all day. By no means do I think it killed your girl (unless it was moldy or rotten).
 

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