Rooster died suddenly

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by EscoChickens, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. EscoChickens

    EscoChickens New Egg

    Sep 9, 2016
    Southern California
    Hi, I am new to Backyard Chickens, although I have used it as a reference many times since we became chicken owners earlier this spring. I had a rooster die in the middle of the night last night. I saw no signs of this coming, but I am hoping to lay out the facts to see if anyone has any opinions as to why and if I should be worried for my other birds.

    I have (had) 3 barred rock, 1 rooster, and 2 hens. One of my hens is approx 26 weeks and came from my sons school where they hatch chicks every spring. She was 1 of 4, the others ended up being roosters and went back to the farmer. At that time we brought home 2 new hens but one ended up being a rooster. They are now approx 20 weeks.

    The 3 lived together perfectly fine in a 5x9 coop with a 3x5 hen house (modeled after the Wichita cabin coop). They get to free range a few times a week and on weekends anywhere from 2-8 hours at a time. I feed them all Freedom non-GMO poultry starter crumble. I have not moved to layer because they haven't started laying yet. Their food and water hangs so it stays clean, and the coop gets great ventilation.

    Wednesday after work the chickens were free ranging in the yard for a few hours in the evening. They all seemed totally normal. Thursday we got home from work late and I did not check on the chickens until after dark. When I closed the door to the hen house I poked my head in and noticed the rooster was not on the roosting bars with the hens but was standing in the corner facing the wall. When I opened the hen house this morning he was lying on his side dead.

    There was no sign of struggle, no messed up bedding, no feathers all over. I never noticed anything like wheezing, coughing, or discharge from eyes, nose, etc. I guess I'm just nervous about any disease spreading to the other birds. I left them out in the yard today to get them away from the coop and they were flying around and pecking and grazing as usual and seem fine.

    I've read plenty of "sometimes these things just happen" stories but just want to see if there is anything I'm not doing right.
    The only abnormal thing I could report would be there was green colored droppings I started noticing this week but I also gave the chickens some kale leaves as a treat just before I started seeing green droppings so assumed that was the cause.
    Also the rooster and one hen liked sleeping high in the hen house in a ventilated overhang. Last week I blocked access with chicken wire to help train them to sleep on the roosting bars with my other hen. They seemed to take to it normally but not sure if there was any stress related to that change that could have been a problem?

    Thanks everyone.
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    IMO stress would not cause this.

    Likely he was ill for more than the one day and that night he was just too weak to get on a roost- green or watery droppings could be a sign he was not eating? Without a necropsy there's no way to know what happened to him.

    Hope the rest of your flock fare well. Just keep an eye on them.

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