Newby with a strange question....or maybe not?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Nina n Tina, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Nina n Tina

    Nina n Tina New Egg

    Oct 14, 2015
    Hi everyone. Thank you for providing me with a forum to share and ask questions about my feathered girls.

    Sadly today one of my girls died. She hadn't been herself for at least 4 days and her symptoms included lethargy, diarrhoea, weight loss and although she looked to be eating she was really only pecking at her food. I separated her from the flock last Sunday and brought her up to the house for one on one attention but she never recovered. She was up-to-date with her worming and external parasite treatment and FGDE is always added to her grains and her dirt bathing area.

    One weird thing I noticed when I found her deceased was that she was on her side with one leg straight back and the other straight forward as if running really fast. I remember reading something a few years ago about this being a characteristic of a chicken dying of a specific illness or disease but I can't find anything on it online today. Has anyone got any information relating to this?

    She is an egg-laying hybrid of 2 years. I'm unsure how well she had been laying before she was sick as we have a mixture of ex-battery hens and rescue hens as well as some elderly ladies who are living out their retirement. We don't keep them purely for their egg production but having fresh eggs is a bonus.

    Any helpful comments would be gratefully received.
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich True BYC Addict

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    First lets welcome you here [​IMG]

    As to the reason for your loss. I do not have an answer. Consider these points.

    Many of the hybrids do not have long life spans. They lay a lot of eggs and just burn out.
    Sometimes natural causes just cause the chicken to die.

    I like the way you are taking care of battery hens as well as other senior chickens. [​IMG]

    I likewise keep my chickens to the end. They are only pets. One is 9 1/2 years and is blind. She eats when I put food in front. I think that you and I see things in a similar way.

  3. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2011

    CHickens are funny. Sometimes they just keel over. The leg thing seems strange. Possibilities:

    If she didn't lay while in confinement she could have had an egg stuck.

    If she wasn't eating she could have had sour crop.

    If all your other hens are fine, it was probably something related to the above or old age. Production hens do have a limited life span I have noticed. Many have just died suddenly on me without warning.

    I am sorry for your loss. Glad to hear you are keeping old hens and loving them! Welcome here.
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Sorry to hear about your hen.

    The posture you describe with one leg forward and the other back is a classic sign of Marek's disease. The other symptoms you mention she suffered from before she died can also be signs of Marek's although it usually affects younger birds.
    Stress often triggers a Marek's attack. Have you added new birds recently that might have upset the pecking order or changed routine... maybe confined them to a run when they have been used to free ranging or possibly even the opposite..... or maybe even just the stress of moulting.
    It could be that she has had a previous minor attack when she was younger and it has lain dormant until this major one. This virus can do that.... it's a Herpes virus that causes Marek's

    Of course it may not be Marek's but the only way to find out would be a necropsy/post mortem.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015

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