In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
I just lost my 1st hen ever, to unknown causes....I thought I have read that I may be able to send her out for a necropsy? Can folks let me know what my options are? I am in New Hampshire.

I think that her bumblefoot infection may be what got to her....I just this week started soaking and cleaning the infection in her foot....I think I may have made matters worse and spread the infection maybe into her bloodstream? She was fine Friday afternoon, went out early evening, and she could not walk, so looked like she was drunk. She would try to walk, but stumble and fall right over....Breathing was hard and fast (panting), feathers poofed out. I isolated her from the flock, and by late evening she could no longer stand. Today she just layed flat all day, shifting from time to time. Her breathing changed from rapid and fast, to slow and shallower....and her breathing sounded like she was gurggling....I did start inj. Pen-G this morning, but I think she was already too far gone....

I am sad, as I was trying to do a good thing and help the poor girl and her bumblefoot but I think I made things worse :-(

I would just like to know the infection was the cause of death so I know what to do with the rest of my flock.

Any oral antibiotics that I should put them all on just to be safe?? And where to send her for necropsy results?

Thanks in advance.....Shannon
First off, if you plan to do a necropsy, be sure to refrigerate the body. If it won't fit in your fridge, then put in a cooler and get some ice. Do Not freeze! The necropsy should be done within 2 or 3 days to get good results.

Don't beat up on yourself - you did the best you could. Sometimes there just isn't a lot we can do to help them. I hesitate to come to any conclusions here on a cause. If the rest of your flock seems okay, I would not treat them just yet. I do not know where you can take her other than a vet. I have done that. If NH has an animal health dept you might look into that. I am in California and although it is quite a drive for me, I took one of mine to a state run lab and they did it for free. But the impt thing now is make sure the body is cold, not frozen. Please post on this again, I'd like to know what you find.
Not sure where you are in New Hampshire, but you might want to contact the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Durham: If they can't help you they can probably point you in the right direction. It may be too late for this time, since we're headed into a holiday weekend and your chicken may be too decomposed by next week for a necropsy to help much. It would be worth a phone call though.

2greenboyz is right. Do not freeze the chicken! Keep it as cold as possible without freezing the tissues, or the necropsy will be pretty much worthless. Found this out the hard way several years back. The freezer seemed like such a logical place to keep the dead bird until I could take it in to the lab. Boy, was I wrong! Turned out that freezing the bird had destroyed all the stuff that they could have cultured to tell me what she died from. Ooops.

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