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Unexplained chicken death?!?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lisaleesa546, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. lisaleesa546

    lisaleesa546 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2016

    I have a mixed flock (2 RiR, 2 silver laced wyandottes, 2 black star sex links). They are all perfectly healthy birds. I've been getting 5-6 eggs a day for weeks now. They are all a year old but started laying between November -January. They have constant access to food and water.

    Yesterday I was doing a lot of work outside, I'm in New England and we had our first hot day of the spring (75 degrees). The chickens were free ranging in their fenced in area and I gave them a few treats throughout the day, mostly a few handfuls of sunflower seeds.

    I checked eggs around 10am and saw a RIR and a Wyandotte laying together in the nest. I came out around 10:30 to check on the girls again and the Wyandotte (I think the same one, but not positive as they're very hard to tell apart) was still laying but seemed fine still. When I went out around 11:30 and noticed she wasn't out yet I was a little worried and checked and found her dead in the coop just outside the nest box.

    She was laying on her back, wing slightly stretched out, feet stretched and neck curled in against her chest. As I mentioned, aside from a possibly lengthy egg laying that morning, she was completely healthy leading up to her death, at least from what I could tell.

    Sorry for the lengthy post but I wanted to get as much detail as possible. Has anyone experienced this? I have heard of sudden chicken death and am suspecting that is the case. But I am nervous that it could have been something else and don't want another flock member to die. Her body showed no signs of trauma that I could tell (no blood or wounds). The other chickens seem fine today and I have been checking them often.

  2. coach723

    coach723 Songster

    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    I'm sorry for your loss. It's nearly impossible to guess what may have happened.
    Your best option is to have necropsy done. Then you will know for sure if it was something that could affect your other birds or not.
    A necropsy can provide peace of mind, and also information that might help in your flock in the future.
    Here is a list of labs: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf
    You can call the one in your state and find out about getting a necropsy done.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Sometimes when chickens are feeling poorly, they will either stand in a corner alone, or they take to a nest box for comfort. I would be suspicious that she may have been eggbound and died, but it could have been most anything. You could save her body in a plastic bag, and refrigerate it until you can send it off to your state vet or poultry lab for a necropsy. Or you could check the body yourself for egg binding (insert a finger 2 inches inside the vent to feel for a stuck egg,) or a crop problem (impacted or sour crop.) Check her lice and mites. And you could do a necropsy yourself by opening the abdomen to look at her organs. Take pictures and post them here for advice. It is a way to learn what goes wrong with them. Chickens can look healthy one day, and drop dead of a heart problem the next. There are so many things that can go wrong. The breeds you have are know fro being good layers, but that also means they can have reproductive problems. So sorry for your loss--it is always a shock to find a healthy bird suddenly dead. Here are some links to finding a poukltry lab or the state vet for necropsy:
  4. chcknwhisperer

    chcknwhisperer In the Brooder

    Thank you for this thread. I have lost a silver laced Wyandotte two days in a row now. It appears that each check and took some kind of a fall. My sister-in-law and I can only figure that the chickens were pushed. Maybe they're in too big of a hurry to leave the coop? I'm still trying to figure out what's going on. Added a natural electrolyte to their drink in hopes of preventing any more death. So here is what happened:

    Yesterday, the chicken did not have a name yet, at seven weeks old one of our hands broke her neck. She was mostly paralyzed when I found her and I separated her immediately hoping that I could help her get well because I didn't know her neck was broken yet. She didn't last very long. I'm just hoping she didn't suffer.

    Today, I went out a few hours ago to play with them and all seven chickens were doing just fine. I went out a half an hour ago and one was completely dead. No explanation. Her wings were a little bit askew, making me think she fell and didn't really cover quickly enough. Our coop is not that high!

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