Rooster fight - why did he die?

Wishapup

Songster
7 Years
May 1, 2013
821
45
171
Canada
It is a sad day. My two large Marans roosters are always kept separated, but some time this afternoon one of them managed to escape his pen and entered the pen of the other (I had the second pen door open so the chickens in it could free-range). I'm not sure how long ago it was but it couldn't have been more than a couple of hours.

I went to do evening chores and found one lying limp in the back of the pen, convulsing and gasping for air. I carried him out and laid him on the grass in the shade. I could find no visible injuries; only a little blood. He could hardly hold his neck up and catch his breath and kept shaking. I tried to give him water but he died a few minutes later.

My question is --- did he die of heat exhaustion, or something else? It was about 75 degrees here and he was a big, dark-coloured bird. I was worried the shaking was from being too hot. Or could he have a heart attack? Stroke? Shock? Too tired to escape the other bird?

Both roosters were a year old and very powerful.

I've had minor rooster squabbles before and seen them panting afterward, but never anything like this.
sad.png
 

saltandpepper2

Songster
6 Years
Dec 4, 2013
1,119
134
161
Somewhere over the hill
My Coop
My Coop
It is a sad day. My two large Marans roosters are always kept separated, but some time this afternoon one of them managed to escape his pen and entered the pen of the other (I had the second pen door open so the chickens in it could free-range). I'm not sure how long ago it was but it couldn't have been more than a couple of hours.

I went to do evening chores and found one lying limp in the back of the pen, convulsing and gasping for air. I carried him out and laid him on the grass in the shade. I could find no visible injuries; only a little blood. He could hardly hold his neck up and catch his breath and kept shaking. I tried to give him water but he died a few minutes later.

My question is --- did he die of heat exhaustion, or something else? It was about 75 degrees here and he was a big, dark-coloured bird. I was worried the shaking was from being too hot. Or could he have a heart attack? Stroke? Shock? Too tired to escape the other bird?

Both roosters were a year old and very powerful.

I've had minor rooster squabbles before and seen them panting afterward, but never anything like this.
sad.png

I'm so sorry!
hugs.gif
I've had many roo fights, but I've always been able to separate them, and nurse them back to health....
Just from my EXP, I would think that the other rooster may have injured his neck, and he was having trouble breathing, etc. That, or he had a heart attack/went into shock. I had a bird die with the exact same symptoms, and my best guess was that she went into shock.
 

Wishapup

Songster
7 Years
May 1, 2013
821
45
171
Canada
I am so sorry for your loss.
hugs.gif
I think it could of been any of those causes. How did the other roo look?
Hugs
Marie

Thank you. I knew that they had been fighting before I saw the dying rooster because the other one came marching toward me with a pecked, bloody comb (I've seen that before). He was hot, and holding his wings out from his body, but seemed absolutely fine and went back to scratching with the hens. Then I found the other one.
 

Wishapup

Songster
7 Years
May 1, 2013
821
45
171
Canada
I'm so sorry!
hugs.gif
I've had many roo fights, but I've always been able to separate them, and nurse them back to health....
Just from my EXP, I would think that the other rooster may have injured his neck, and he was having trouble breathing, etc. That, or he had a heart attack/went into shock. I had a bird die with the exact same symptoms, and my best guess was that she went into shock.

Thank you. I have owned at least 30 roosters, and 20 at one time, so I've had my share of rooster scraps too. My roosters don't always get along perfectly, but this completely caught me by surprise. I don't understand why he didn't/couldn't leave after he was beaten. In the past, the defeated one has always given up and then I can treat/separate.

I think it could have been a neck injury. He was holding his head up a little and making a croaking sound at first, then he couldn't even do that. But his neck wasn't broken, because he did hold it up originally.

It may have been a combination of factors? Him being big and overheating easily, he might have been thirsty to begin with, somehow suffered a neck injury, shock from the attack...

I did notice them pacing along the fence this morning, which I haven't seen them do-- I should have paid more attention to that. They were brothers and had been together as adolescents but I separated them later on.

Edit: This isn't their first confrontation, either, which is why I did not expect this outcome. Originally they were both housed together with the Marans hens. One was dominant (actually the one that died), and the other was respectful. I only separated because I wanted to use just one for breeding. A few weeks ago they were free-ranging outside and were ignoring each other. Actually, they've been in the same pen/region many times without a problem.
idunno.gif
 
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Wishapup

Songster
7 Years
May 1, 2013
821
45
171
Canada
I always meant to get a video of this rooster jumping on cue. He would leap several feet in the air and his thick leg feathering would flap in slow motion. He was very friendly and calm around people.
 

saltandpepper2

Songster
6 Years
Dec 4, 2013
1,119
134
161
Somewhere over the hill
My Coop
My Coop
Im
I always meant to get a video of this rooster jumping on cue. He would leap several feet in the air and his thick leg feathering would flap in slow motion. He was very friendly and calm around people.
I'm so sorry
1f615.png
I recently had to put down a rooster because of a fight, and had wanted so badly to keep him for breeding, but had to choose between my main marans rooster or him....
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,726
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
Heat stress may be a contributing factor although some of the larger heavier breeds can have infirmities that become apparent when challenged by fighting. I have not had a rooster die from a broken neck unless impacting a solid structure while in level and trimmed out flight thus likely going over 35 mph which most chickens cannot pull off. Neck design of chickens is very resistant to the type of breakage humans suffer. Another possibility is the rooster suffered numerous contusions to the head and neck where swelling obstructed blood or air flow. Impacts of wings can cause considerable damage in the form of bruises.
 

Wishapup

Songster
7 Years
May 1, 2013
821
45
171
Canada
Heat stress may be a contributing factor although some of the larger heavier breeds can have infirmities that become apparent when challenged by fighting. I have not had a rooster die from a broken neck unless impacting a solid structure while in level and trimmed out flight thus likely going over 35 mph which most chickens cannot pull off. Neck design of chickens is very resistant to the type of breakage humans suffer. Another possibility is the rooster suffered numerous contusions to the head and neck where swelling obstructed blood or air flow. Impacts of wings can cause considerable damage in the form of bruises.

Thank you for the information, @centrarchid. I've had 2 chicks with broken necks and they didn't act/look like my rooster. As I said, he was able to hold his head up at first and kept raising it momentarily. It seemed mostly like a struggle for air. I ran inside the house for a few minutes to see what I could find for him and missed the exact moment of his death. When I came out he had died, and his face had turned purple. I actually can't remember if all my chickens have looked like that after death or whether it was a sign of asphyxia as the cause. It was hard to watch him fight so hard for air. I wonder if it was from bruising.

aww, that sounds beautiful. When I lose a pet I say to myself " I will focus on all the time we had together and NOT the time they passed. I know it is hard right now, but this helps me.
hugs.gif

Marie

Im
I'm so sorry
1f615.png
I recently had to put down a rooster because of a fight, and had wanted so badly to keep him for breeding, but had to choose between my main marans rooster or him....

Thank you for your kind words, Marie and saltandpepper2
smile.png
It was my back-up Marans rooster that died and I had not planned to ever use him, but he was definitely more friendly than the winner.
 

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