One of our girls found dead... need advice from someone who knows more than we do.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cmccindy, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. cmccindy

    cmccindy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2012
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    We just got our 4 girls in March, Buff Orpingtons. Things have been going very well, healthy, eating, friendly, get along with the dog. They started laying about a month ago. Laying regularly, eegs, hard shells. We let them out to free range in the yard everyday. Up until last Thursday. I had gone out, watered, given fresh food. Everyone was fine. I left for about 1 1/2 hours. When I got home I went out to check for eggs and found Skittles dead on the ground in the coop. I got her out, she had not been dead long and checked her over really well. No marks, blood anything. We have concluded that one or all of the other chickens killed her, some kind of chicken kerfuffel. Maybe a chicken pile and they smothered her or broke her neck. Nothing can reach in through the wire. Very small, tempered steel, mesh.

    Our coop is a prefab deal we bought at Orchely. It is not really big, but has small yard and the coop with 2 nest boxes and roost bars. Anyway, one of the chickens, Esther, who is the top hen, has been acting more aggressively toward our other two girls. I first noticed it yesterday, she was running up and pecking them and acting very menacing. What can I do? I am worried about losing another one of our girls. Hate to get rid of anyone, we are raising them for the eggs and to live more self sustained life.

    We are planning to convert our shed into a coop. More room, in case this was a case of overcrowding or boredom. I am really freaked out. Probably silly, but that's the way it is. I would appreciate any input. Thanks
     
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    There could be issues going on with her internally that you may not have considered. If chickens ganged up to kill her, she would be bloody - trust me. I have seen them almost kill a sick bird.

    Usually birds don't just die for no reason. There could be many causes, but I think your best bet is to get a necropsy done. Maybe she was laying internally? Maybe she was egg bound?
     
  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    What she said. Necropsy may be expensive but it will give the answer. She had to have had something going on inside that you could not have detected.
     
  4. cmccindy

    cmccindy Out Of The Brooder

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    I had thought about the egg bound being a possibility. Unfortunately, it is too late to check, we disposed of her body last week when we found her. We were getting ready to leave town and I never even thought about that. [​IMG] I have never dealt with a dead chicken before, I really thought her neck might be broken. Just by the feel and the way her head was flopping when I picked her up. I am worried that if there was something wrong it might effect the other chickens. They are acting fine, look healthy, we look them over frequently, for pests, or things hidden under their feathers. This is our first flock. I have to admit, I was pretty upset when I found her, even though I promised myself, I would not get attached, it is kind of hard. Skittles was one spunky girl and really sweet also. Are their any symptoms we should look for if they are egg bound or laying inside? I am guessing that this would be unusual?
     
  5. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    With most things, you do notice they're a bit "off" for a while if you watch them closely like I do before death. But sometimes, not. There is always the chance she managed to break her neck somehow, chickens sometimes do the strangest things. I don't know much about your setup but it's also happened that dogs have run back and forth in front of a run and scare them so badly that they run into something and die.
     
  6. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It might give you the answer it might not, there are no guarantees. If it just died of a heart attack there will be no clue. Just lost one of my BRs the other day, found her on the coop floor first thing in the morning. She was perfectly normal the day before. Had the NPIP inspector here yesterday and she said sometimes they just die without any real foreseeable reason. Can't see getting an expensive necropsy unless she was showing signs of sickness as to not to endanger the rest. otherwise it won't bring her back unless you need a piece of mind.
     
  7. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    In all liklihood it was a heart attack. When an apparently healthy bird dies suddenly that's usually the cause. It happens. Any illness would have been apparent days prior to the hen dying. Rest assured the other chickens didn't kill your hen.
     
  8. cmccindy

    cmccindy Out Of The Brooder

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    I really appreciate everyone's input. I had no idea a chicken so young could have a heart attack. I have a lot to learn. We saw no signs of anything wrong. I am going to assume at this point that is what happened. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply.
     
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Saying it is a heart attack is the easy way out. Young birds just don't up and die from heart attacks often.

    Everything can be explained. Of course she COULD have had a heart attack, but there are lots of more logical reasons why she passed away.

    Wish speckledhen would help out with this one. She would tell you the same thing - they don't just die of unknown causes.
     
  10. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sure there are endless possibilities but what good will a necropsy do? Unless she was showing signs of illness, why bother? Stress induced heart attacks can happen at any age, more so because the OP suspected that she may have been being picked on. Wasting money on a postmortem is foolish seeing that there was no sign of illness. I suppose there are markers that are present in their blood like humans to say if you had a heart attack but knowing that doesn't bring them back. I guess if you got money to burn to find out that the chicken had something that was totally unpreventable go for it I guess. Just can't un-ring a bell, sorry. Can only imagine what it costs to do a necropsy. If the flock was dying off would be a good reason but that's not what is going on so.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012

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