Sudden hen death... Just need some experienced eyes to take a look at it...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Gifa, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Gifa

    Gifa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Silver Laced Wyandotte
    2.5 years old.
    Dominant hen.
    She was near the end of a very soft molt, which began in March.

    She was acting normally yesterday and today.
    Found her lying dead by the waterer this evening.
    She was still warm when I found her.

    She had bloody feathers around her vent area... along with some excrement.

    I laid her out and looked her over for signs of injury or other trauma. Found none.

    I hosed off her back side to look for a wound of some kind. Found none.

    Opened her up carefully to look for the source of blood.
    No fluids in the cavity.
    Organs looked pink and healthy.
    No foul or unusual odors.

    Found a black blood clot like mass in the "magnum" region of her oviduct... it looked ruptured.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Should the oviduct look white like that? Is that some kind of Infection?

    Also, She did not appear to be egg bound... Only three yolks were in the works, which is about right for the up coming week of eggs I was expecting from her according to her recent laying history, and they looked to be developing normally... then the tiny sack of clear fluid that I am guessing was a fart egg of some kind..


    From my inexperienced eyes, it looks like a blood clot or some kind of embolism that caused a sudden rupture in her oviduct... She seemed to be in the middle of drinking water when she died... when I picked her up by the legs to carry her to the table, there was a few drops of water that came out.

    Anyway... I'd be interested in hearing anyone else's thoughts on it. It doesn't look like there's really anything anyone could have done... it just seemed to have been her time. Just curious if I need to be watching the rest of my flock for anything in particular.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  2. sherrihargrove

    sherrihargrove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 17, 2014
    I'm so sorry for your loss I have 2 that are 2 weeks old right now. I have high expectations for them but will be on the look out as they get older.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Could she have had a prolapsed cloaca that was attacked by the other chickens, and was pecked to death? Sorry for your loss.
  4. Gifa

    Gifa Chillin' With My Peeps

    As she was top bird in the flock, she would not have been the target of an attack... when I found her, none of the other chickens were around her... not even curious about why she was just laying there. And we found her within 10-15 minutes of the time she died because, like I said, she was still quite warm.

    I did a thorough check on the outside of her as I found her, and didn't see any signs of injury, not even a lot of feathers out of place... and when I hosed the area of her vent off to get an even better look... there were no wounds, her vent seemed to be in perfect condition from the outside, and when I opened her up, I did so carefully with a pair of poultry shears so as to not disturb the position of anything on the inside or around the vent...

    Everything seemed to be in place where it belonged and as it should be.

    When I started carefully removing the fat and looking at her individual organs, everything looked great, the intestines were clear, no parasites, the liver had good color and size, the gizzard felt firm and healthy... There were no weird fluids or blood inside the cavity... it was surprisingly tidy... She was bleeding on the inside somewhere and it out of her cloaca. When I found it, the anomaly was well inside her oviduct tract, up beyond the shell gland over halfway to her ovaries... way up in there, so I am certain this is not a case of being pecked to death or prolapsed vent.

    I think it's probably just one of those things, but wanted to run it by some more experienced eyes just in case it's something that I need to follow up with on my other birds...

    I only have 5 hens now... 3 of them are mild natured EEs. Sadly, the SLW hen I lost today was one of my more reliable layers... one of the only two hens I had laying at the moment and the only hen to lay all winter last year. But truth be told, she was one of the hens I was going to harvest and replace next year... because she was a bit of a flock bully. She actually put my Brown Leghorn in her place last week... making her submit and even mounting her. LOL I'm really mostly bummed she died this way, because I didn't feel like I knew enough about why she died or when she died to harvest her for stewing. =P

    Oh well... I have ample room to add new birds next year... my coop was built to accommodate 8-9 hens. Looks like I will be brooding up around 5 chicks in the spring. More if this up and coming winter claims another one. =)
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

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