two chickens dead with in two weeks

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cmsearles, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. cmsearles

    cmsearles New Egg

    Nov 7, 2011
    I am new to chickens and started out with 6 chicks. All were healthy and thriving. The all started laying with in a few days of each other and laid well for about 2 weeks. Then one day, I found one dead on the floor of the coop. Then today, two weeks later, I found another one dead in their outside run. There is no sign of attack. Their outside run is fully enclosed (top, bottom and all sides and attaches directly to the coop, which is also very fortified) I am wondering about them being egg bound. Any thoughts?
  2. CrestedGirl

    CrestedGirl Polish Obsessed

    Mar 7, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    [​IMG] Are there any signs of disease? Might be egg bound too. Did you feel the abdomen of the dead hens? Was it swollen?
  3. cmsearles

    cmsearles New Egg

    Nov 7, 2011
    Palpated the abdomen, but did not feel anything unusual. Performed a necropsy to day. Found small pieces of plastic in the gizzard, so I am wondering if that wasn't the cause. Both the crop and the gizzard were packed with food. Who knows... Just hoping that I do not loose anymore. Searched the yard for more plastic and found some, but the roam in over a acre of yard, so there could be lots that I am not seeing. Two kids... Enough said.
  4. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    Hi cmsearles,

    I've had chickens for years now, and do you know I've never actually had an eggbound bird? I know it happens, but I just don't see it happening twice in two weeks. I could be wrong of course... But there are other possibilities. Were these birds well fleshed when they died?

    It might be worth asking whether they're getting into rat bait or some other toxin? I would have a really good look around the yard to see if there's something harmful (including poisonous plants, though to be honest I think chickens are quite good at avoiding toxic plants). Really filthy water could make them sick, but unless they ingested botulism I think it tends to show up as diarrhea and slow decline rather than sudden death. Sorry if this is painting a picture of a dirty yard, I certainly don't imply that. But if someone nearby has poisoned a rat, it could easily cross to your yard and become a possible toxin source. Plastic could have a part to play if it blocks the proventriculus or entry to the gizzard, I suppose. [​IMG]

    Reproductive problems tend to show up as sick birds for at least hours (and more usually days or even weeks) before the bird dies, if indeed she does die. Egg bound hens apparently shuffle around with a sort of penguin stance, but as I say I've never had one so can't comment; still, I would have thought you'd notice the problem before the hens died.

    Sudden deaths can come from other things too like cardiac arrest or overheating, but with young layers I don't feel they're likely causes either. Fatty liver can cause sudden death when the liver suddenly ruptures (usually by then the liver is in bad shape, and you'd notice a blackish section when doing the autopsy) but that's usually in older hens, not ones that have just started to lay. Layers can sometimes die fairly quickly from kidney failure if there's a serious mineral imbalance (too much calcium too young?) but I would think in that case there would also be some warning. I could be wrong there.

    Basically it's impossible to diagnose from afar, and it seems there are many possibilities. All I can say is if they were my birds I'd do the yard check, then have a really good look at the food to make sure it isn't mouldy. And I'd keep watching the other birds for signs of any internal difficulty, especially diarrhea (which could mean toxins, worm load or enteritis).

    Sorry I can't help further, and I hope this bolus of information doesn't make you feel swamped... I don't know what's going on with your birds, and am not an expert by any means, but it just seems unlikely to me to be caused by egg binding.

    Best wishes,
  5. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I don' t know, but I would keep the remaining birds up in the run (after making sure there is nothing harmfull inside) for at least a couple of weeks. Closely monitor food, behavior, and poo. At least you can eliminate some of the variables.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by