Sudden chicken death, a few questions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by spagirls, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. spagirls

    spagirls Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2013
    Fallbrook, CA
    We got hens last summer, and have had our first fatality. Any insight appreciated!

    Chickie-sitter reports that Ladybird went to roost early the night before. In the morning, Ladybird was in a laying box, head and wing hanging out. She was drooling. Sitter tried to offer water; Ladybird died around noon.

    No poison is around, she showed no signs of illness before the early roost, no visible injury to her body. There are rattlesnakes but we haven't seen any on our property and it is a bit early for snakes.

    Questions: Any ideas as to what might have caused this? Other than cleaning the coop, anything else to do to protect remaining hens? Should I discard eggs that might be this hen's?
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    If you still have her body, put it in the fridge, prepare a box and send her to UC Davis for a free necropsy. http://cahfs.ucdavis.edu/index.cfm

    How to Send a Bird for a Necropsy

    They need the whole bird, not frozen. If you live in CA, there are four labs that do necropsies on poultry (chickens, turkeys, waterfowl) for free. I know that they do out of state necropsies, but I think they charge for those. You could call them and ask what they charge for out of state "backyard poultry". The lab I use is the one in Tulare, CA. If you are in CA, let me know and I'll get the FedEx number for you.

    This is the lab I use:
    CAHFS
    Attn: Dr. Shivaprasad
    18830 Road 112
    Tulare, CA 93274-9042
    (559) 688-7543
    (559) 686-4231 (FAX)
    cahfstulare@cahfs.ucdavis.edu



    The other labs are listed here:
    http://www.cahfs.ucdavis.edu/services/lab_locations.cfm


    If it's Friday, unless you want to overnight for Saturday delivery, I would suggest shipping on Monday for Tuesday delivery. What you need to do, if you haven't already done so, is put your hen in your refrigerator, NOT the freezer! Then you need to find a box, line it with styrofoam (I use the 4'x8'x1" stuff from Home Depot. You can also get smaller pieces at an art store like Michael's, but is way more expensive. Click here to see foam options. You'll also need at least one ice pack. Here are some pictures that I took of the last bird that I sent:

    Box lined with foam on four sides and bottom. Seams of foam taped sealed.
    [​IMG]


    Box, sides, bottom and and top.
    [​IMG]


    Frozen ice pack in ziplock baggie.
    [​IMG]


    Brown paper on top of ice pack.
    [​IMG]


    Hen in ziplock baggie on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]


    Brown paper on top of hen.
    [​IMG]


    Ice pack on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]


    Lid on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]

    Inside the box you should also include a submission form in a ziplock baggie. Do not tell anyone at FedEx that you're shipping a dead animal... that seems to really worry them. Just make sure that nothing will leak.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss and [​IMG]
     
  4. Danuta

    Danuta New Egg

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    May 14, 2013
    We just lost our "alpha" chicken a "red Star" 2 years old, no warning & she did not look sick yesterday -but this morning gone!! We live in San Fernando Valley California - dos anyone around us lost chickens also? Could it be a bird virus? Danuta in CA
     
  5. spagirls

    spagirls Out Of The Brooder

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    1
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    Mar 13, 2013
    Fallbrook, CA
    So sorry!

    Since you live in CA, you can follow the help posted by "castportpony" re free necropsy from UC Davis. When our 2nd RIR died, we followed her instructions and Fed Ex'd poor Dolly to UC Davis. The preliminary report was emailed back within a couple of days. It indicated that she had "gout". They were apparently doing further testing on her organs, but I haven't gotten any further report. Report says leading causes of gout in poultry include excessive protein and/or calcium in the diet. Since our girls are mostly free range, we haven't done anything to change the diet, except I no longer give them cheese scraps as scraps and I have held off on roasted crusted egg shell treats as well.

    UC Davis will bill you for the Fed Ex bill which you can put on their account to ship. Since Dolly had been in the refrig for 5 days, I sent her overnight and it was under $20. It was good reassurance that we didn't have some dread disease in the coop, especially since her sister had died similarly one month earlier.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC and sorry for your loss. It could be so many things, but probably not bird flu. It's very common for hens to die from reproductive problems like oviduct cancer or egg yolk peritonitis. You really should use California's free poultry necropsy service.

    -Kathy
     
  7. Danuta

    Danuta New Egg

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    May 14, 2013
    Thank you Kathy- yes I did mail her out to UCDavis Labs.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Glad you could do that... They should have a preliminary report by the end of the day that they receive her.
     
  9. ThaiDye

    ThaiDye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 8, 2012
    So Cal
    I just found one of my birds dead last night. It was 1am & she was in the quarantine coop because she just didn't look right to me. No runny nose, but she did have rattles when she breathed. She was stiff when I found her. Being that it was so late, I left her body there & decided I should deal with her in the morning. Its Sat tho. Can I still send her body in on Mon if I refrigerate her now? Also, should I refrigerate her dry or put her in water? Saline?
     
  10. ThaiDye

    ThaiDye Chillin' With My Peeps

    195
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    Jul 8, 2012
    So Cal
    "Do not tell anyone at FedEx that you're shipping a dead animal"

    What do you tell them it is then if they ask?
     

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