They ate a dead flock member!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lady_Cluck, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Lady_Cluck

    Lady_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    Oh, why are chickens so gross sometimes? One of my hens was sick (lethargic, with green diarrhea) so I separated her from the flock, putting her into a dog kennel in the corner of the barn with a heat lamp. I gave her some electrolytes in her water and oatmeal with some DE and cayenne pepper (how I treat for worms). She got better for a couple of days, but then sadly, she did not make it. When she passed overnight, she fell up against the cage she was in, exposing her neck and side...and what did the other hens (who previously ignored the whole completely sectioned off corner) do? Pecked at her. That's right, they ate part of her! ACK! [​IMG]

    Now I am worried about disease transmission, or even eating the eggs from the little cannibals. Should I be? Is it as bad as I'm making it out to be? My husband says the chickens were only doing what chickens do: eat and survive. Well, the human in charge of the little feathered monsters still thinks it's disgusting.

    Any recommendations? Will the other birds be OK? The eggs?

    ...and from now on, if I have any other sick birds in the future, they will be brought out of the barn and into the garage, so if they unfortunately pass, they will be SAFE, which is a better practice anyway!

    Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions. [​IMG]
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    They were doing what chickens do. They aren't humans and their behavior shouldn't be expected to be the same.
    If you had kept her with the flock, they would have killed her and eaten her. That's how they eliminate threats to the flock.

    The eggs are likely OK. If it was a disease, the other birds could be affected.

    If you have another sick bird that resembles the symptoms of the last one, the best course of action will be to get lab work. When chickens are dying is not the time to guess what's wrong.
    Here are two labs for you.

    Illinois Department of Agriculture, Galesburg Animal Disease Laboratory
    Animal Disease Lab
    2100 S Lake Storey Rd
    Galesburg, Illinois 61401
    Phone: 309-344-2451 Fax 309-344-7358

    University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
    Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
    2001 S. Lincoln
    Urbana, Illinois 61802-6199
    Phone: 217-333-2123 Fax 217-244-2439
    AI, CSF, ND, FMD, IAV-S*

    On another note, DE and cayenne won't eradicate worms. First of all, most chickens allowed to free range will have a light load of worms, as will all grazers. Healthy chickens can do just fine with a light load. If they are less than healthy, the worms can get out of control. If that happens, they need a real anthelmintic.

    I've been free ranging chickens all my life and after thousands, I've only had to worm one.
  3. Lady_Cluck

    Lady_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    Thank you so much for your reply, ChickenCanoe, and for the resources. I will heed your advice!

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