Two hens dead within 48 hours


In the Brooder
5 Years
Dec 29, 2014
West Virginia
I've had chickens for less than a year... and I'm really worried about my flock/not sure what is going on... anyone have any guesses?!

I had 9 hens and a rooster. They're in a completely fenced in area with mesh over the top (I have a chicken killer dog). They're run area is pretty big though... around 20 feet long and 10 feet wide.

The chickens were all completely healthy up until 2 days ago. They were all eating and laying just fine. I was averaging around 5 eggs a day. Wednesday evening my brown leghorn (who was my best layer) was in her layer box and was acting like she was trying to lay an egg... nothing looked unusual. I went out in the morning for their feeding and her egg was in the egg box but she was on the ground dead Thursday morning. I thought maybe she had been egg bound?

I came home Thursday night and went out to take care of the chickens. My rhode island red hen was in the layer box and looked like she was trying to lay so I left her alone. I went out this morning to feed and my RI hen was still in the same spot I'd left her in... When I reached in to pet her she didn't respond and I thought she was dead too... I picked her up and she gave me a couple clucks but didn't even open her eyes.

I have her quarantined off in my house now but had to go to work... I'll be very surprised if she's alive when I get home. She was barely hanging on.

Neither of them showed any signs of being sick before this... and neither have any discharge or abnormal areas and they weren't having breathing problems. I wormed everyone 2 months ago.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what may be going on or what I should do?!

All the other chickens were totally fine this morning and swarmed me for their breakfast happy as could be...
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Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
There can be 10 to 20 different things that can kill chickens quickly with no symptoms.
When more than one bird dies in short order, it is time to get to the bottom of it.
Your best bet is to send your ill bird off to the state poultry lab for necropsy. Lab work is the only way to know conclusively what you're dealing with and the correct course of action.
You can wait till the bird dies and ship it off or you can send it off for humane euthanasia and dissection.
The fresher the bird (read that as live) the more conclusive the results.

Here's your lab info.

West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Poultry Health Division - Moorefield Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory
60B Moorefield Industrial Park
Moorefield, West Virginia 26836
Phone: 304-257-8973 Fax 304-538-8133

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