SpeckledHen's Experiences on Egg Reproduction/Production Necropsy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by EweSheep, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    I want to share with our BYCers regarding to their hens having egg laying problems and thought of SpeckledHen's necropsies and her findings that I believe it will benefit ALL of us. I am sure there was another thread that was just as informative (asking about our hatchery hens and egg production problems).

    WARNING, these links are graphic!



    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/106294/rosemarys-necropsy-photos-warning-graphic
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...i-laymans-necropsy-warning-graphic-pics-below
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/218910/my-first-non-hatchery-internal-layer-im-so-tired-of-this
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...pers-what-are-you-losing-most-of-your-hens-to
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...educational-necropsy-photos-of-cause-of-death

    Thank you, Cyn, for sharing your experience with us!

    It would be nice if this was a sticky for egg perioditis and stasis problems. Worthy of a good read.
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That was so industrious and thoughtful of you to hunt all these down, Robin. Thank you!

    I remember the first time I saw in a medical paper that chicken hens were the only animal that experienced spontaneous ovarian tumors/cancers just like human women, therefore were studied to find cures for cancer in women. It really struck me that these hens produce an egg almost every day, at least the usual hatchery breeds most folks get at their local feed/farm stores, which is what I started with over six years ago for my first flock. Now, only one of those remains, a Buff Orpington, Sunny. She has not laid an egg in over a year and as far as I know, she just ran out-there is no abdominal bloating, nothing I can point to that is a problem, but of course, I wouldn't know for sure unless we necropsy her when she passes on.

    The hatchery hens are pretty much saddled with genetics that are even more likely to cause issues-naturally, hatchery stock is not bred with an eye toward longevity. The last link Robin listed in her first post, regarding Maxie, was a fluke, a huge egg within an egg that was just too large to pass and dropped into her abdomen where it was inaccessible and was her demise, but it just illustrates one of many reproductive issues that you may see the longer you keep chickens.

    We don't open up every hen who dies, but the ones we have necropsied have provided us with valuable information, and, in a way, comfort--we saw healthy livers and hearts (except for the one pullet who died of a heart defect as she came into lay) and knew that we were successful in providing a healthy environment and nutrition. Those just couldn't overcome bad genetics. They did, however, allow some of these hens to rebound over and over again before succumbing to their fates. Hopefully, these links will educate you or provide comfort in knowing that if you lose a hen to this, you did nothing wrong.


    These threads may also be helpful to you.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=362422

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=195347
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  3. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    I have seen new posts each and every day regarding to the reproductive problems. It is so heart rending to see those poor hens suffering and there isn't anything we could DO about it.

    Would crossing the hatchery to breeder's birds would increase the odds of NOT getting "cancer"? I would like to think so! We do have our beloved hatchery girls and want to increase their longevity a bit longer each generation from the original hatchery hen. I have not tried that but I know you have, Cyn, with your girls and whether or not, these daughters and granddaughters have suffered the same effect.

    It would be nice if all of us can recognize the problems of our laying girls and make them comfortable when they are closer to their demise. If we continue to buy hatchery birds, we will have to keep in mind, they are not going to live as long but we can make it the BEST they will ever experienced than their other sisters, whose fate lies into the factory farming.
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I have two 5 year old Barred Rock hens whose parents were McMurray hatchery Rocks--my friend, helmstead on BYC, gave me the hatching eggs they came from. They are laying regularly right now after a long break. Seems that the older hens take longer breaks, averaging laying only about half the year. My 4.5 yr old Ameraucana from Cree lines lays a couple of eggs a week for awhile, then quits for awhile, but she is still laying, no issues ever so far. Generally, my mutts and breeder stock are healthier than anything I got direct from the hatchery. Even my banty Cochin, who is a hatchery girl, has been egg bound twice.

    My BR hen, Fern, is the daughter of Ivy, who died from internal laying. Fern's sire was Dutch, whose parents were hatchery birds. Fern lays daily, never any issues and she is about 3 years old now. I do think the further from hatchery genetics you get, the better luck you might have with reproductive issues. That does not mean that breeder birds are immune, of course, but you can see what happened in my flock and who died of what and who did is still with me.

    At the moment, I'm losing my hatchery Lt. Brahma hen to reproductive issues, but then, she is over 5 years old now and just now began having troubles. My Buff Brahma she was purchased with hasn't laid an egg in many, many months, maybe as long as a year, but I don't know if she is having any actual internal troubles or not. Brahmas, however, are not the most common breeds folks get at the feedstore for their "egg-a-day" layers so could be their genetics aren't quite as bad, who knows?
     
  5. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    I never heard of Brahmas having problems, just the productions, Leghorns, Hatchery named layers are the ones I am familiar with.
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The main issues I'd say were the sex links (I didn't have any of those), the RIR and/or Production Reds, Buff Orps, Rocks and Wyandottes, which seem to be the main breeds I see in every farm/feed store when they get their hatchery shipments. Those seem to be the ones focused on, generally. My Brahmas are up in years now, so I don't necessarily attribute Miranda's current egg peritonitis (or what appears to be, from the outside) to her hatchery genetics.

    My first flock death happened just after they turned 2 years old, one of the Wyandottes, and they dropped off one by one after that, though some like Ivy rebounded with heavy doses of penicillin before finally succumbing to their fate.
     
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Excuse me for replying to a thread from almost a year ago, but I don't want to start another redundant thread. I had a McMurray Buff Rock that had a necropsy done at CAHFS in UC Davis, CA. It was oviduct cancer that took this hen's life. I also had a Dominique hen from the same hatchery convulse in my arms and excrete a mass of concentrated soft shells. 1 Golden Comet hen from Ideal made it about 2 years after dealing with prolapse problems I doctored for awhile, another just fell down one day and convulsed about 10 seconds and died while I held her. Currently, I have a Barred Rock hen and noticed her standing in the yard with ruffled feathers today. I called her while I was giving out afternoon scratch and noticed clear liquid dripping down her leg. As I was coaxing her to me, she excreted a normal looking yolk but no shell. She then happily began clucking and eating. When I came back from work tonight, I checked under the roost and saw the soft shell in a small shriveled mass on the floor with a trace of yellow yolk. I picked it out with my rake and scoop so they didn't pick at it in the morning. No other hens are doing this and I use Vitamins-Electrolytes Plus in the water a couple days a week, and make sure they have oyster shell along with high quality layer pellets. I'm wondering if could just possibly be a nutrient absorption problem or something lacking in their diet. I've seen the occasional soft shelled egg in the past, but not this.
     
  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Even of the best feed given to the girls, they will still succum to this horrible disorder of the reproduction tract. Something IN them that set their bodies off, causing multiple problems or one problem that persist thru their lives after a year of producing. Those hatchery girls were not made for longivity.

    Has the hatcheries done anything about those high producers? Most likely not. Its a risk for some of us that want eggs and lots of it, that we lose them faster than the breeder's birds.

    I've got Ideal Hatchery Spitzhaubens and so far, they have not gave me any problems and they will be a year old in March.
     

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