This Hen Seems To Be Dying, Help? (Pictures Included)


5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
My red sex link has been acting funny since the 5th.She began to lay down a lot and stopped eating a while after. She was laying runny, light brown poo. She's a little younger than a year old. The other chickens have been avoiding her since we've gotten her. At first I thought she was egg bound, but found that there wasn't an egg in her, just a hard lump about the size of a golf ball.

Now she's started something new.

She has been looking around vacantly, and seems surprised when I touch her. She's laying down for good now, and has given up on following the other free range chickens.I think she's lost her vision. In addition to that, she's been looking straight up at the sky. Her crop is also empty, save for some mush from a hard oiled egg I fed her.



My father's probably going to cull her tonight, put her out of her misery.

Do any of you have a guess as to what caused this?
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She has a blown up crop, so I am thinking it is likely GI related, which is unusual in RSLs. Normally RSLs go from EYP or internal laying, or both. She is kind of young for those problems to rear their heads yet anyways.

She is really too far gone to try to save. She should be culled. I am sorry.

Her crop is pretty much empty. I'll add that into the first post.
Empty? Really? She looks blown up like a balloon. Is it puffed up with air or fluid? Or is it just her posture?

She is star gazing, which is often a sign of a serious vitamin deficiency. I find it hard to believe that she is showing this sign so late in the game (usually seen in chicks, not nearly 1 year olds).

If you want to try to save her we can try to help, but I honestly think she is too far gone to save.
Her crop looks enormous, and she has opisthonatos, which is a form of wry neck. Wry neck is a neurological symptom of many different things, such as a disease, injury, vitamin deficiency, and I have seen a hen of mine have it seconds before sudden death. In your other post you said she had a lump inside her, and I wonder if she has a cancer or a blocked gizzard. I'm so sorry that she is probably dying, and other than offering vitamins and electrolytes, I don't have any suggestions now. I would think that your father might want to help you do a necropsy, which is basically the same as butchering without removing the feathers, and looking for a possible cause of her illness. Take pictures, and many people can help you decipher what was going on if you post them on here. Sorry that you are losing her.
Sadly, once they start "acting funny", an ailment is usually well underway. Birds naturally try to hide their illnesses (for survival reasons in the wild) and so sometimes by the time we notice something is going wrong, they are very sick indeed.

Anyhow, where is the hard lump that you felt?

I'm sorry about her condition. I wish I could help, but usually once they go unresponsive (unless you know what is wrong) about the only help you can get is a skilled, knowledgeable avian vet that is familiar with poultry. She may be experiencing a severe vitamin deficiency, disease, or injury.. a lot of things can make them "star gaze" like this at the end. :(
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She has very thick feathers around her neck. Her posture does also make it look like her crop's full.

She was on the same feed as the other chickens, who aren't having a problem .

I think she's too far gone too, she's getting it tonight. I just want to know if her symptoms match any other sort of disease. I was thinking maybe a tumor? The lump is the lump is below her breast bone, near her vent.
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No, her crop is mostly empty. I'm not sure about doing a necropsy. There might not be enough time. We're going to be leaving for a short vacation tonight, so I'll have to ask him soon.
I am going to bet she is an early internal layer. RSLs are known for this. A lump in the plumbing is an indicator of either this or cancer. Cancer is also a common end to a lot of RSLs.

The trouble with the high production layers is that they are bred like high production meat birds. No care is taken in their genetics for longevity or quality of life. They are bred for one purpose- high production of whatever it is that they have to give. Egg layers will produce eggs until their reproductive systems implode. Meat birds will keep growing muscle mass until their bodies are literally disintegrating under the weight of their own mass. Unfortunately, this leads to certain "breeds" being rife with issues that often lead to their early demise. RSLs are one of those "breeds".

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