Not an emergency anymore...but help me figure out what happened?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bigcats, May 31, 2012.

  1. bigcats

    bigcats In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    I haven't visited the forum in a long time.

    My Nina, a 3.5 year old Red Sex Link, my first and my favorite chicken, seemed to be kind of droopy. I noticed her comb was drooping and then this morning she didn't even come out of the coop with the other girls. I checked out the forums and it seemed like she could be egg bound, so I decided to try the directions for that.

    I filled a rubbermaid tub with warm water, had her resting in that and she seemed content enough. I put a little mineral oil around her vent and was cleaning off some crusty poop from around it, trying to work up the nerve to stick my gloved finger in her vent to see what was going on. Suddenly she flapped around, her head went under very briefly, I pulled her out immediately, she thrashed once more, and then was still. She died. Right in my hands. She started to get rigor mortis just a few minutes later.

    I'm still in shock. Can anyone make suggestions about what happened? I'm sure that the force I used to pull her out of the water was not at all capable of breaking her neck. Her head was under the water for less than a second. She did kind of thrash it against the side of the tub but this was a plastic tub. Did she have a heart attack? Was my manipulation of her vent area so painful she passed out?

    She was such a fabulous chicken. Calm, even tempered, an excellent layer. I looked forward to having her for years and years, whether she continued laying or not.

    Thanks for any light you can shed on this.
  2. brahmabreeder

    brahmabreeder Songster

    Feb 22, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    Oh my gosh I feel so bad for you[​IMG]. Well in order to help solve your problem what color was her comb? I think if it looks purple that means she had a heart attack.
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  3. bigcats

    bigcats In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    Her comb was red, slightly on the pale side right before death.

    I just checked her body (waiting for it to get a little cooler outside before I dig the hole) and the comb is now kind of a lunchmeat pale red/brownish color.
  4. So sorry for your loss,

    I felt that my gold sexlink could stay around forever due to her disposition, and just like you, it didn't matter by that time, if her laying days were over with or not.

    IMO, I think that it was just your chicken's "time", and there is nothing that you did that caused her to die. I also think if it was the end of her life, there isn't anything that you could have done to save her.

    It could be that sexlinks are not long-lived chickens, they have a rather short life expectancy. They give so much all the time...and then they are gone. I still miss mine. You had her for her life and took good care of her. It was just her time to go.
  5. tellynpeep

    tellynpeep Songster

    Oct 4, 2008
    SW New Hampshire
    You didn't break her neck. That is how birds die: they flap around then just die.... I'm so sorry for your loss. If you want to know what happened (if you're concerned about your other birds) you can ask your vet to do a necropsy. Or call your state lab, who will probably do it for less $.
    I'm so sorry.... It is so hard to lose our girls...
  6. bigcats

    bigcats In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    Thanks for the suggestions and reassurance, brahmabreeder, chickat, and tellynpeep.

    I was reading the internal layer thread and I think it fits Nina well. I still don't know why she died at the very moment she did, but she was a heavy-layer breed, had that squishy feeling to her abdomen, and I did occasionally get a rubbery shelled, or shelless egg in the past so the description sounds right.

    I regret that if that's what it was, she was likely very uncomfortable for some time. That's upsetting - such a good little layer gets paid back by having her reproductive organs turn against her.

    I put her in the ground next to her "sister" who was killed by a predator a year and a half ago. My original chickens are now both gone.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: