Ruby is dead! Internal layer or something else?

kittykat01

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 4, 2011
77
0
29
Brisbane
Hi

Very sad as our gorgeous Buff Sussex girl Ruby died today
Ruby was around 6 months old and appered in perfect health before we found her dead in the nest box today.

Given that she is young, and appeared to be symptom free I am scared for the health of my other chickens! I have four other girls, they all appear healthy at present.

Ruby did not have mites / lice, could not have eaten poison (the girls 'free range' within a fenced off grassy area away from the road and neighbours). I have not found worms in any of the feces, and all girls were wormed a few months ago. We have not introduced any new chickens, not changed food etc. It is a warm day (about 28 c) but not 'hot'. The girls have adequate shade, and fresh food and water at all times. To my knowledge there are no poisonous plants within the run / free range area. I have not found any unusual poops in the coop / run, so don't think coccidosis??

What could have happened to her? The only slightly different thing that we noticed yesterday is that she shut her eyes for a minute or 2 and and had a few 'nana naps' through the day while standing up, but apart from that she seemed active and happy to be held as usual.

My only thought at the moment is that she may have been an internal layer. We have found quite a few shell less eggs over the past few weeks and as we have not seen Ruby lay, we can't rule her out as having layed them. Would that cause her to pass away suddenly?

I have just examined her and she appears to be normal weight, no sores / wounds, crop is not full (I did see her eat yesterday, but she died today). There is some poop / diarrhea around the vent area, but I think that may have happened at death? Her abdomen does not seem to 'feel' unusual....not that I am any kind of expert......

Any opinions are appreciated. I am so worried for the other girls! I have just cleaned out the coop (it is cleaned twice weekly anyway) and changed water etc.

Thankyou!

RIP Ruby
 

nurse_turtle

Songster
8 Years
May 28, 2011
3,518
91
201
Foothills of NC
I would have done a necropsy. It makes it easier for me to do if I cover the head and face so I can't recognize my bird. It could have been a number of things that caused her death.
 

kittykat01

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 4, 2011
77
0
29
Brisbane
Thankyou nurse_turtle. I did consider it, but she is my daughters favourite chicken, and it didn't seem right somehow..... I also would not have known what I was looking for, having managed to dodge the disection part of biology. Asked my local vet, but they wanted way to much to do it
 

pattycake

Songster
12 Years
May 7, 2007
414
3
151
fingerlakes, ny
My rooster died in a similar way last summer. He was fine until I found him dead under the roost one morning. It didn't spread to the other birds, and no one had any sign of illness. I just put it down to "heart attack" which does happen occasionally. In my experience, a quick death is hugely preferable to a long, dragged-out illness, esp in chickens! Though it did leave me with unanswered questions.

I had an internal layer and it was a horrible thing: her belly got bigger and bigger until she couldn't walk. It was a process that took many weeks. I ended up taking her to the vet to confirm my diagnosis, and he put her to sleep.

My condolences on your loss.
 

CMV

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
6,770
164
281
Honestly, without a necropsy you will never know if she was an internal layer. And if she wasn't an internal layer, an at-home-necropsy often raises more questions than it answers. A lot of folks simply don't know enough about chicken anatomy and physiology to find anything awry, and most folks can't get cultures run to test for pathogens.

My advice is to just monitor the rest of the flock for illness. The cause of death was probably not illness-related, but you never know unless you watch the rest of the flock. After a week or two, if the rest of the flock seems well, then I would assume your girl died of reproductive issues or heart issues. Both are common in chickens and will lead to sudden death.

I am sorry for your loss. Good luck with the rest of the flock.
 

Rockin' Reds

Songster
9 Years
Sep 3, 2010
494
0
111
Penrose, Colorado
I'm sorry for your loss.
I know this isn't much comfort, but sometimes chickens die and we don't know why. If she wasn't showing any signs of illness then I would think maybe heart failure or some other organ failure that just presented itself. I have had it happen a couple of times without explanation, and even with necropsy sometimes you will just never know. Just keep an eye on your flock for any signs of illness.
 

kittykat01

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 4, 2011
77
0
29
Brisbane
Thankyou everyone


The other girls all seem well this morning, happy and active, poops normal. I will continue watching them very closely, and I have dosed them all up with acv, greek yoghurt, garlic granules and colloidal silver. I have to admit to going out to check on them with a flashlight in the middle of last night, but I am trying not to obsess about it.

Whatever killed Ruby, she did not suffer. She was eating and drinking normally the afternoon before she died, and it looks like she just made herself comfortable in the nest and then fell asleep before passing.
 

Sussexpenthouse

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 24, 2011
15
0
22
Central Queensland, Australia
Hi noticed your post. Apologies for you loss.

Im in the same boat. Lost the family pet a Light sussex hen named McGee 18mth old today (head of the flock and most affectionate). She was in perfectly good health (excellent condition, bright eyes, clean stools, no parasites or worms etc) and waiting by the gate as per usual at 9am. Got home this afternoon and she had passed away in nesting box after laying an egg.

I see you located in Queensland Australia as well, which has been experiencing high temps (heat wave) ranging between 35-42C (degrees).

I've put my loss down to the heat and estimate she would have been in nesting box in the middle of day (peak heat). Kept birds throughout childhood and have got backing into keeping chooks over last few years. Losses tend to happen occasionally especially in the hotter months with larger birds from time to time.

My sussex was the largest bird in the flock, which in turn may mean she would have been least able to handle heat and high humidty we are presently experiencing in the north.

This maybe a possible explanation given that you are located in Brisbane and had healthy bird as well.
 
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