NECROPSY: Sudden seizure-like death in bird, stood still and puffed up, found asleep in the coop (Warning, graphic!)

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
219
189
96
North Texas
My Coop
Hello
We just lost a cockerel yesterday to what seemed to be a heart attack. He had been standing still several times for the past few days, and he would get all puffed up. I thought he was just cold...
Yesterday we went out to find him asleep on the ground. We took him in to warm him up, and a few hours later he started puking and died. Now, we are in management mode, trying to catch this before it happens again.

Looking at our oldest Roo (about 15 months old), and he has been acting strange for some time now, more so now. His comb and beard would get either pale or orange (which now could be from the cold, but he was like this when it was hot), and he would get pretty lazy throughout the day. He would lay down often, most times away from the rest of the flock. He would get a lot more sluggish, and would walk almost on his knees at times. He has never been a fan of me, and always keeps his distance from me, however now he almost lets me pick him up, which is very strange...

The bird we just lost yesterday would sorta do the same. He started to let us pick him up. Given the sudden nature of his situation, I want to catch this before it happens again. We are unable to do a necropsy, so we still have no idea what happened and we pray it isn't infectious.

My mother brought up the idea that he could be going blind? He hardly reacts to us around him, and even when I wave my hand a few inches from his face he hardly flinches. I'm pretty desperate here, so any and all help is appreciated!

We did just get finished deworming our flock as well...

I'll attach a few pictures of him. The first is from a while ago when it was still hot outside, the second is from today (its pretty chilly today).

(EDIT!!!): This post got a bit derailed, the initial intent of this post was to discuss the strange health of one of our roos (the one with I have attached pictures of). We also lost another, younger bird yesterday that I did an at home necropsy on. Posted pictures on the 3rd page of this post.
The bird would stand still, puffed up, and would let us even pick him up for the past two days. Yesterday, we found him on the ground, asleep in the coop. After a few hours of trying to warm him up in my jacket, he violently got up, began vomiting, his head went limp, wings flapping, sounding like he was gasping for air. The whole ordeal lasted about 10-20 seconds.
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Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
219
189
96
North Texas
My Coop
I should also add, he only got like this after we got rid of our other and more aggressive roo. This guy managed to be the flock alpha, but he would still chase the other one around the yard when ever he got close. With that, the hens would split between the two, causing the flock to always be on the move.
 

SBFChickenGirl

Crowing
Nov 12, 2018
3,760
14,917
481
How heavy is your rooster? I had a RIR roo a while back who just up and kicked the bucket. He had to be ten pounds. A while later I was reading that some of the heavier breeds can have problems with heart failure because they just get so stinkin' big! My roo had the same thing as yours did, just kinda sat there, all fluffed up and one morning he was dead.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
219
189
96
North Texas
My Coop
How heavy is your rooster? I had a RIR roo a while back who just up and kicked the bucket. He had to be ten pounds. A while later I was reading that some of the heavier breeds can have problems with heart failure because they just get so stinkin' big! My roo had the same thing as yours did, just kinda sat there, all fluffed up and one morning he was dead.
Well, the young one we lost yesterday was pretty big for his age. I don't have an exact weight / a way to confirm if he was heavy. We also have another up and coming roo who is, well, huge!

This one however, is pretty skinny...
 

Hei 20

Crowing
Oct 8, 2020
1,881
10,010
323
Hello
We just lost a cockerel yesterday to what seemed to be a heart attack. He had been standing still several times for the past few days, and he would get all puffed up. I thought he was just cold...
Yesterday we went out to find him asleep on the ground. We took him in to warm him up, and a few hours later he started puking and died.

Looking at our oldest Roo (about 15 months old), and he has been acting strange for some time now, more so now. His comb and beard would get either pale or orange (which now could be from the cold, but he was like this when it was hot), and he would get pretty lazy throughout the day. He would lay down often, most times away from the rest of the flock. He would get a lot more sluggish, and would walk almost on his knees at times. He has never been a fan of me, and always keeps his distance from me, however now he almost lets me pick him up, which is very strange...

The bird we just lost yesterday would sorta do the same. He started to let us pick him up. Given the sudden nature of his situation, I want to catch this before it happens again. We are unable to do a necropsy, so we still have no idea what happened and we pray it isn't infectious.

My mother brought up the idea that he could be going blind? He hardly reacts to us around him, and even when I wave my hand a few inches from his face he hardly flinches. I'm pretty desperate here, so any and all help is appreciated!

We did just get finished deworming our flock as well...

I'll attach a few pictures of him. The first is from a while ago when it was still hot outside, the second is from today (its pretty chilly today).
View attachment 2390512 View attachment 2390516
I'm sorry for your loss 😥😥😥
 
Sep 13, 2020
75
200
63
The possible blindness kind of makes me think Mareks, but I don't know. Does his eyes look strange at all? I had ad rooster go blind in one eye from Mareks and he died a few weeks later.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
219
189
96
North Texas
My Coop
Could be an avian virus in the flock. It would be a very good idea to take one of these dead birds to a lab for a necropsy.

I have lymphoid leucosis in my flock, and it can kill as these birds have been.
As much as I would love to send in the bird we lost, I don't know if we have the money for it. If we did, we would have taken him to the vet when we saw he was asleep in the coop. I'm at the point where I almost want to suck it up and do it anyways, but I still have bills and other payments to keep in mind
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
219
189
96
North Texas
My Coop
The possible blindness kind of makes me think Mareks, but I don't know. Does his eyes look strange at all? I had ad rooster go blind in one eye from Mareks and he died a few weeks later.
Not that I know of. His eyes have always been very large and dark, ever since we first got him when he was a little chick. My first thought was possibly eye parasites, but I haven't seen any...
 

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