Pullet died in the night

Apatch

In the Brooder
Jul 4, 2020
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Hi everyone, I am so upset because one of my newish pullets died at some point last night. I checked on them before I went to bed and everyone was fine. When I got up and checked on them one was dead in the little dog crate I have in their enclosure. I have had them over a month with no signs of illness. She was about 5 months. The other pullet in her enclosure (from the same hatching) had a small amount of blood on her beak and there were some feathers about, but hard to say if it was more than usual. They have been together since I got them and seem to get along beside little squabbles. It’s not possible that she killed her, right? Also, today I had a huge rat snake in the yard. Is it possible it got in their enclosure and got her, but didn’t/ couldn’t eat her for some reason? I’m sorry to even post I’m just upset and would like some opinions. I sent her off to have a necropsy done. Just really upsetting. Everything was going so well.
 

Wyorp Rock

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When I got up and checked on them one was dead in the little dog crate I have in their enclosure. I have had them over a month with no signs of illness. She was about 5 months. The other pullet in her enclosure (from the same hatching) had a small amount of blood on her beak and there were some feathers about, but hard to say if it was more than usual. They have been together since I got them and seem to get along beside little squabbles. It’s not possible that she killed her, right? Also, today I had a huge rat snake in the yard. Is it possible it got in their enclosure and got her, but didn’t/ couldn’t eat her for some reason?
I'm sorry that she died.

You mention "little" enclosure and the other pullet had blood on her beak.
Where is the enclosure and is it secure from night time predators - meaning could a snake, rat or something get into it? It's possible the snake entered the cage or something else did and startled them, she panicked and since she couldn't get out.

Hopefully the necropsy will reveal something.
 

Apatch

In the Brooder
Jul 4, 2020
21
20
41
I'm sorry that she died.

You mention "little" enclosure and the other pullet had blood on her beak.
Where is the enclosure and is it secure from night time predators - meaning could a snake, rat or something get into it? It's possible the snake entered the cage or something else did and startled them, she panicked and since she couldn't get out.

Hopefully the necropsy will reveal something.
A snake could have got in. This was a temporary enclosure until their new bigger coop was built and they could go with the bigger girls. However, the build got put off. I always thought rat snakes were diurnal, so we just used the fencing we had available. The enclosure is about 3’x5’ and I had a little dog crate in there that they liked to sleep in together. That’s where I found her this morning. Her head was tilted slightly back. Idk it kinda looked like her neck was broke. Would a snake kill a chicken, but not finish eating?
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Sep 20, 2015
46,825
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Southern N.C. Mountains
A snake could have got in. This was a temporary enclosure until their new bigger coop was built and they could go with the bigger girls. However, the build got put off. I always thought rat snakes were diurnal, so we just used the fencing we had available. The enclosure is about 3’x5’ and I had a little dog crate in there that they liked to sleep in together. That’s where I found her this morning. Her head was tilted slightly back. Idk it kinda looked like her neck was broke. Would a snake kill a chicken, but not finish eating?
Snakes can move about at night too.
A snake could kill a chicken and not eat it if it's too big to ingest.

Birds that are frightened and caged have been known to kill themselves as well by trying to get out flailing around panicked as well.
 

Apatch

In the Brooder
Jul 4, 2020
21
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Snakes can move about at night too.
A snake could kill a chicken and not eat it if it's too big to ingest.

Birds that are frightened and caged have been known to kill themselves as well by trying to get out flailing around panicked as well.
Oh no! That’s terrible! I guess I will see what the necropsy says and keep you guys update. Thanks for responding.
 

Apatch

In the Brooder
Jul 4, 2020
21
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41
We definitely think it was a snake. It came back last night at dusk. The girls were still out and it got into their opened door to get eggs. We got rid of it. This really sucks. Now I’m having a problem with the other chickens being mean to the surviving pullet. They are cool free range with her, but 2 of the hens were running her around the coop this morning and holding her down and pecking and grabbing her head. Poor thing!
 

Apatch

In the Brooder
Jul 4, 2020
21
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41
I got the necropsy report back and she had congestion and hemorrhaging in the lungs and hemorrhaging in her heart. I suppose that could be consistent with a snake constricting her to death. However, it also said that she had hepatitis. I’ve google searched it a bit and found some info on it, but still seems kinda weird.
 

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