two chickens dead this morning

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Hamstery, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Hamstery

    Hamstery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2012
    New England
    we've had four RI Red's for over 4 months. all just under a year old. all was well until this morning when we went out to the coop and only two came out. the others were dead inside.
    one had a large amount of skin missing from the back of it's head and the other showed no signs of trauma.
    no signs of a predator getting into the coop or the run.
    i closed them in at 7pm last night and saw them all happily roosting.
    any ideas of what could have happened?
    there have never been any pecking issues...they all got along fine. and all week all four of them have come running to me in the morning as usual.....happy to get their morning treats. ( all from the safe list)
    this is so disturbing since this is our first time owning chickens. i know these things happen, but i am just trying to make sense of it. any insight would be greatly appreciated. i never thought my first post here would be about this........
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Could something have spooked them? A good many birds die from getting spooked- they fly into walls at full tilt and break their necks, get head injuries, etc.

    The scalping could have happened after death. Was there a bunch of fresh bleeding or did it look like there was a lack of blood. A head injury will bleed like crazy if the bird is alive when it happens. I am thinking that the bird may have already been dead when it was...sampled... by the other birds.

    Sorry for your losses. I hope you figure out what happened.
     
  3. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    Soooo sorry...how devastating! My first thought - they both died from "something" (to be determined) , then the wound on the one is from being pecked on either while dying or post mortem. I say this because if it were a predator, I would think you'd see wounds on BOTH. To determine what they died from, you need to start looking at all your girls. Look for the basics to start - lice/mites, signs of other parasites like worms, crop issues. You could look into a necropsy - I understand that some states have state agencies that will do this - you'd have to research that on here as I've not had to do it (someone may provide that info shortly). Definitely watch you other girls closely. If you have a wormer on hand (Valbazen preferably), you might want to worm them NOW just in case...

    Of course, it could still be a predator, in which case obviously you need to figure out how it's getting in and put a stop to it! Good Luck!
     
  4. Hamstery

    Hamstery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2012
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    ugh. i heard a fox ( or a few ) outside...in the distance... around 11 pm and i went outside making noise to scare them away if they were getting close. we have a window on the coop and now i am wondering if they were spooked, like you said. that would sortof make sense as to why BOTH of them were dead.
    i had no idea that could happen :( awful.
    there was not a lot of blood. i DO think that she was pecked at after she died.
    thank you so much for your reply.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  5. Hamstery

    Hamstery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2012
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    thank you so much for all the advice. would we have to worry about lice/mites in very cold weather?
     
  6. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    Absolutely - as evidenced by CMV's comment yesterday about spending Christmas Eve chipping out frozen bedding in her coup and dusting her girls in 10 degree weather! (can't remember where that was - but it was just yesterday).
     
  7. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Yup. It's true. Mites (and to a lesser extent lice) become a serious problem in the winter because birds can't dust themselves when everything is a block of ice. The mite population seems to explode overnight. My biggest mite problems always occur in the dead of winter when it is utterly miserable to deal with.
     
  8. Hamstery

    Hamstery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    what kind of signs do you look for? i've read about mites and have seen pictures of birds infected etc... and my birds looked completely normal yesterday. as do the two that we have left.
     
  9. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    check for them especially around the vent area. Look for itty bitty bugs, AND look for eggs especially at the base of the feathers. I understand you can also look at the roosts at night with a flashlight. Apparently they'll be there as well.
     
  10. Hamstery

    Hamstery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2012
    New England
    thank you. i will be checking them first thing in the morning. i will report on what i find. thank you so much for replying. i dusted the whole coop, nesting boxes and run with DE. i had been doing this once every couple weeks, but will do it more often.
     

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