Mysterious death

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Snob Doctor, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Snob Doctor

    Snob Doctor Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2013
    Central New York
    Last week, when I went to close my chickens in for the night, I found my beautiful sweet Orpington hen laying on the coop floor. I picked her up to help her onto the perch, it was a very cold night and I wanted her to be able to snuggle on the roost with the others. I couldn't get her to grasp onto the perch though, and she fell off. It was dark and cold and I felt horrible, so I held her a bit, tried to warm up her legs and I noticed that they were locked and she couldn't stand up.

    I brought her into the house and laid her on a towel, but she still couldn't stand up. Under all her feathers, she seemed to have no meat on her at all. I had been gone a few days, leaving my dad to watch over them, so I didn't get to see her health decline or anything. It seemed as though her legs were paralyzed- she wouldn't bend them at all, but her toes would move slightly. She tried getting up a few times, but would fall over onto her side or chest, with her legs sticking straight out any which way. Every once in a while, she'd throw her head back (which I've seen a few newly hatched chicks do before they died.) When she tried getting up, she'd peter out very quick, almost like fainting. I tried getting her to drink some water, after several attempts she took a few big gulps and fell over again. I couldn't get her to drink any more after that.

    I tried massaging her legs in warm water with some epsom salts for about 15 minutes. They loosened up a little bit, but not significantly, she still couldn't stand. It was getting really late, I couldn't find much help on the internet, and I had no idea what to do, so I put some towels in a laundry basket and put her near the wood stove for the night. By morning, she was dead.

    I haven't been able to find a definite reason to what happened, but I did dig up a few possibilities. I can't do much now that she is dead, but I'd feel better knowing in case my other chickens are in danger. None of them have fallen ill, but yanno... I'll still worry.

    So she was underweight and couldn't stand or bend her legs, then she died... Any ideas? :/


    ~Mallory
     
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  2. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mallory,

    I don't know if I'll be any help I've lost one hen to sour crop and one I believe was egg bound. In both cases, the hens were weak before they died. In the case of the sour crop chicken, I had been trying to treat the condition for a few weeks, asking for help on this forum and from my vet. She was very thin when she died because the sour crop had interfered with he being able to digest her food. In the case of the other hen, she had been in the next box when I checked on them at mid-day and I hadn't thought anything of it (since there is often a hen i the nest box at mid day). She had also been in the nest box when I came at lights out, but I didn't think anything of it because this particular hen often slept in the next box at night. In the morning I found her on the floor under the nest box and started abusing myself for not realizing something was wrong earlier. Anyway, I'm not much help and hope someone has other ideas. I know that many animals can mask illness and weakness for a long time for their own survival in the flock or pack so that the others won't turn on them. It is possible that your hen had some longer term issue (such as sour crop) and you found her when she was at her last stage.
     
  3. Snob Doctor

    Snob Doctor Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2013
    Central New York
    I'm sorry for your losses :( I didn't even think of sour crop... It kind of looked like Marecks, but we're not very familiar with it. I thought that maybe her last few eggs were too big for her. They were huge... Seems like that could be problematic. Poor baby :(
     
  4. gram of five

    gram of five Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2011
    I am so sorry for both of your losses. What does sour crop look like? I came home last night, after work, and found one of my girls ( less than 2 years old, Black barred rock) dead out in the run. I checked her over, didn't see anything. no signs of fighting, she was just laying there. I am hoping whatever she had isn't contagious.
     
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Sour crop is a yeast or bacterial infection of the crop. In the hen I had, I had noticed that she had a huge breast. Since she was my only Jersey Giant, at first I thought that she just had an amazing and magnificent breast meat, but when I picked her up, I realized that it was all squishy like a water balloon. Once the crop gets infected, it fills with liquid and goo. The chicken can't digest its food properly because the food has difficulty passing out of the crop. The chicken gets malnurished and the crop swells. I had my Jersey Giant issolated in the garage and was treating her according to recommendations from this forum and various web pages when we had to evacuate our home due to the Waldo Canyon Fire. At that point, it was a matter of trying to keep all of my 43 chickens alive during the stress and heat of the 9 day evacuation and I did what I could for her, even consulting an on-line avian vet, but she died a few days after we got back home. It was very sad, but in some ways I considered myself lucky that she was the only casualty of a very stressful situation.
     

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