PSA - My hen died from eating crumbles

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MESOFRUFFEH, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I just got off the phone with Texas A&M diagnostics lab - I had sent in a hen that died after having some sort of respiratory issue. I have been stressing and obsessing over whether or not my flock has MG since they got sick with some sort of respiratory illness last winter and I was unable to send one for necropsy. I was able to do it this time thought and I sent my dead hen off for a necropsy yesterday. They determined she inhaled crumbles which lodged in her wind pipe and asphyxiated her.

    I am just sharing my story because I feed an all flock crumble and never thought something like this would happen. He said it does not happen often, but it does happen more than you think. I am not saying stop feeding crumble, but I did want more people to be aware that there is a risk of your chickens asphyxiating on crumble! Maybe this will save the life of someone else's chickens.

    [​IMG]


    RIP Lady Gaga. You were beautiful. You were fabulous. But you ate like a pig. You will be missed! [​IMG]
     
  2. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I give my hens some scratch mixed in with bird seed.as a night time treat.at least one a week gets to sneezing and stand with their mouth open. I stand guard incase they should need my help. But to be honest I would not know what to do. Years go I tried pellets and they would not eat that. I am sorry for your loss.
     
  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm sorry for your loss.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
     
  4. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It was such a frustrating ordeal! When I went out and saw her struggling to breath all I could think was "It's happening again, I am going to spend all winter nursing my chickens back to health" just like I did last year. But she was not acting like the others did last year. She literally acted like she was choking to death, which seemed completely absurd to me at the time. I kept wondering what in the world she could have gotten stuck in her windpipe. Now I know! I have also been giving the girls cracked corn before bed since it has been so cold. I got the necropsy report this morning, complete with 3 pictures of her obstruction. There were a few cracked corns and a lot of crumble in there. I just never really would have thought one of them would choke to death on feed. It was heartbreaking watching her struggle. This was not an overly friendly chicken, not a big pet like some of my other ones, but when I had her in isolation, I was sitting next to her cage and she kept walking over to me very frantically and looking at me like "I know I don't usually let you touch me but PLEASE HELP ME". I felt so helpless! Even now, knowing what happened to her, I have no idea if I could have helped her even if I tried. A chickens windpipe is not an easily accessible area. I held her as she died, and I even tried to do a little CPR on her, but I don't think it would have helped unfortunately.

    I really did not think she was suffering from any sort of illness, but I sent her for necropsy with the hopes that even if she was not sick, they might still be able to test and see if she was a carrier for MG or any other contagious diseases as I would like to sell/give away/trade chickens but do not want to spread anything to someone else's flock. Since her wind pipe was full of food, they were unable to get a good swab of her trachea (which is where he said they swab to get their samples for testing) so I still didn't accomplish my goal of getting tested for those things. I will be having to get blood samples from my girls and send them off for testing to get the results I wanted.

    But anyways, I just wanted to share my experience because this is something I would have NEVER dreamed would happen, and dying from choking on food is an absolutely ridiculous (not to mention terrible and scary) way to die in my opinion, one that could be prevented. My new rule at our house is crumble will be served wet and as soon as you can eat pellets, thats all you're gonna get! I will be buying whole corn next time instead of cracked. Such a heartbreaking experience, Lady Gaga was one of my favorite birds, stunningly gorgeous, and I had planned to breed her to a beautiful ameraucana rooster next year.
     
  5. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not just crumbles. It happens with pellets, too. Sometimes they just eat too fast and choak to death. I have had it happen a couple of times over the years.
    So sorry for your loss.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  6. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lord have mercy.... I could have gone all day without hearing that LOL! I have never had chickens that stressed me out so much in my whole life, and I was practically born in a chicken pen! We had 300 hens when I was growing up, I spent every single second I could playing with those chickens, and I don't ever remember them being sick or just dropping dead for no apparent reason. The only thing that ever killed them were mostly dogs. When I started back up again with chickens a couple of years ago, I could not believe all the drama we were having from predators to illnesses. I think part of our predator problem is we live in the boonies, but a lot of people have sold their pasture land and the gated communities keep popping up all over and I think it is displacing the wildlife. Our little area is one of the few that has remained untouched by the gated communities so the wildlife keeps getting closer and closer. I have enough to worry about as it is lol, I just never thought I would have to worry about them dying from eating, but I have since added that to my "To-Worry-About" list lol. I sure love these girls, but they like to keep me on my toes.
     
  7. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try this for worry. Just now I looked out my back door to see what my dog was up to. She was happily cleaning up some chicken food left on the ground. And right behind her, in the back pasture, stood a big Ol coyote, watching her. She never heard it, never saw it. I yelled to her and she studiously ignored me, and the Cotyote only looked at me. I had to start yelling loudly to get it to leave...and my dog? Still munching on chicken food..she is old, and practices selective hearing...no wonder I am down to 5, maybe less now, chickens.:barnie
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I am terribly sorry for your loss! [​IMG]

    It's great that you were able to do a necropsy. Do you mind sharing how much it cost? Glad it isn't something contagious and you won't be fighting it all winter.

    Chickens do not have a gag reflex. So they usually shake their heads to get things out of their throats. Wouldn't have a clue how to get something from the wind pipe. Having inhaled things down my wind pipe, it definitely isn't comfortable or ever easy to recover from!

    My chickens hated pellets. Since you are thinking about wetting your feed, maybe consider fermenting. I highly recommend it. Check the link in my signature line if you like. The difference in the smell of poo alone is worth doing it. [​IMG]

    Ah, the nice gated communities... [​IMG] It's true there is an ever present pressure on wildlife to find new homes and forage. I am thankful to live in a wildlife type area where we have just about every predator under the sun. It's the two legged wildlife living in those communities that we wish to avoid the most! But even when I lived in the city we had kit foxes, owls, hawks. But the worst are loose dogs!

    Bless your heart for trying to do CPR on a chicken! [​IMG] I know you really tried.

    Thank you for sharing an experience of something I would have never considered.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    In nearly ten years of keeping chickens, I've sure seen plenty of different ways chickens can get themselves dead. They could write a book.

    There is a chicken Heimlich maneuver. I've used it and the hen is still alive at age seven. But she was as good as dead as I watched her choke on a cherry tomato. If I hadn't been there to grab her up and forcibly invert her, allowing gravity to pull the tomato down and out of her windpipe, she would have been a gonner.

    Have you considered fermenting your crumbles? It's not only safer, but much more packed with wonderful nutrients than dry feed.
     
  10. DS-Cluckers

    DS-Cluckers Just Hatched

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    So how can you stop it from happening? I feed my girls crumble also.
     

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