Spontaneous Chicken Death Question

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jdratlif, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Jdratlif

    Jdratlif Hatching

    Oct 17, 2014
    Metro Detroit, MI
    We lost a bird this morning and are not sure of why it died and if my other 5 birds are at risk.

    For the last two days one of our ISA brown hens has been very lethargic. Yesterday was the worst, as she was sleeping wherever she stopped. She was sleeping outside in the run, right inside the door of the coop, and in a nesting box that night. Two nights prior she was sleeping on the roost bar with the rest of the chickens. This morning we found her asleep in the water breathing very heavily. We tried moving her out of the water and she fell over. At that point we wanted to separate her, so we put her in a separate cage. About three minutes later she let out some terrible cackles and then expired.

    A little back story. We got chickens for the first time last Saturday. We purchased 3 ISA Browns at an auction. I know nothing about their age. I built a nice coop and run for the chickens. The coop is approximately 4'x8' and the run is roughly 4'x15'. I have both hanging water and feeder for the birds. I am feeding the chickens 16% chicken feed from TSC. The chicken that passed was an auction bought chicken. When I brought the chickens home they were seemed in great health. They were wandering around the yard full of energy. Then on Wednesday I went to a local small farm and purchased one Isa brown (~1 year old) and two Amberlinks (16 weeks old). The 3 auction chickens beat the new chickens up pretty good, but I was expecting that. Now a week into my chicken career and I have a dead bird.

    Does anyone have a guess as to why or what killed my bird. Should I be worried that whatever killed my bird could be spread to my flock.

    Thanks for the help,
  2. I have a 3 1/2 year old production hen. She hasn't laid an egg in months & I would suspect your auction bird just died of old age. The typical life span of a production hen is around 2 years old. My hen is doing exactly the same things now. She sleeps a lot - sometimes in a nest box at night or perched with the rest. She even takes long naps in a nest box during the day too. She'll nap just about anywhere, actually. :/
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. A necropsy done by the state vet would be a way to find out positively what killed her. You also could try doing your own, and look at the intestines. Coccidiosis can be fairly common especially when moving to new soil, or exposed to other chickens. All chickens have coccidia, but most build up immunity gradually to the strain in their soil, but since there are 9 strains, they may get sick when exposed to a new strain. Symptoms of coccidiosis are lethargy, weakness, standing or sitting puffed up, diarrhea (with or without blood,) and poor appetite. Treatment is Corid (amprollium) in the water for 5-7 days. You may want to get some in the cattle dept. of your feed store in case any others show similar symptoms. There are many different problems that can kill a chicken, so I hope it doesn't happen again. Make sure all chickens are drinking well and that no one is being kept from water or feed. Worming them with Valbazen or SafeGuard Liquid Goat Wormer 1/2 ml of either given orally, then repeated in 10 days, would be something else I would do. Sorry for your loss. Below are 2 links to read about cocci. In this first link there is a picture of a damaged intestine in coccidiosis:

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