Older hen died suddenly - wheezing up egg yolk colored liquid


Aug 1, 2016
Aloha fellow chicken lovers - I've owned hens for a few years now and have lost a couple - both were egg bound. My chickens are healthy and good layers….Just yesterday one of my older hens (about 3 1/2) was hiding in the bushes wheezing. I gently pulled her out and she immediately started convulsing and coughing up what looked to be egg yolk (could have been mucus?)…I set her down and I tried to give her some water with no success...I watched in complete helplessness for the next painful 60 seconds as she convulsed and flapped her wings gasping for air. She seems to have suffocated???!!. She wheezed up this egg yolk liquid a few times before dying on her back. It was completely horrifying and I can't find ANYTHING explaining what might have happened. She was completely fine, symptom free, roaming the yard and eating normally the day before…even earlier that morning..I'm completely baffled and have no explanation. My other hens are completely fine today and show no signs of distress or illness. I've read about sudden chicken death - that might explain the "sudden death" and the convulsing and flapping of the wings but what about the wheezing and egg yolk colored liquid she was coughing up? Has anyone experienced this before?? I really appreciate your help!!!
She could have had a heart attack, the liquid was probably what was in her crop, though it's possible she aspirated and choke on the liquid as sometimes hens will vomit water if they drank too much. Are you in an area where there are cane toads? Those come to mind too. I don't think I would worry that it was contagious, it sounds like one of those freak things. Sorry, and welcome to BYC.
Thanks so much for your reply!!! A heart attack seems likely since it happened so fast…but I'm on the island of Oahu where there are in fact cane toads…which until you mentioned it I had no idea they were a threat…so this could have been the culprit as well..thanks again
I have watched a few shows about the nasty invasive cane toads and how poisonous they can be, so I thought I would mention it.

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