Sudden Death


9 Years
May 24, 2010
Albion, California
This morning all was apparently well - this afternoon one of the Narragansetts seemed sleepy while the others were still active, but that seems to happen sometimes - this evening, I went out to find the wife caressing a lethargic, gasping bird with its eyes closed. We tried feeding it sugar syrup but no luck, it died within an hour. Shortly before going down for the count, it briefly showed signs of life, fluttering its wings and actually escaping her grasp, but at the same time emitting a weird yellow stringy poop. I wonder if it had been eating straw instead of food? Up till today it had been one of the most active birds, seemingly eating and drinking just fine.

We took the sick bird out and put down red rosin paper and then laid new straw over that. The remaining poults all seem just fine, including the RGW we were worried about yesterday.

Anybody have any ideas what this might have been? How I could have prevented it? We did feed them some bugs yesterday, a few sowbugs and one small Jerusalem cricket, which caused a sensation and at one time or another I think each poult had that bug in its mouth. Hard to say for sure but I think one of the RGW finally got it down.
How old are they? Had they been eating insects, etc. prior to the feast yesterday, or was this a first for them? Any of our birds that die suddenly are subjected to immediate gross necroscopy as soon after death as is possible (to check for such things as obstructions/tumors).

Keep a close eye on any changes in behavior/droppings of others. UCDavis performs formal necroscopies (don't know how close you are).
Narragansetts were about 4 weeks old (didn't get a hatch date), the others were hatched 5/18 so about 2.5 weeks. As I said, we gave them some insects a day or two earlier, though I can't say whether this particular poult ever actually ate any. Lots of picking up and running around and dropping...

I wanted to open it up and check the crop, gizzard, etc but had no time - had to leave on business. We're about a 5-hour drive from UCD.

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