UPDATE: Puffed up pullet has died. What happened?

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
3,459
9,433
487
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
I know that a puffed up chicken can mean anything, but... that's precisely why I need your help narrowing it down.

I have a 9-month-old Red Partridge Orpington pullet that was perfectly fine until yesterday, and then yesterday she spent the day puffed up and uninterested in daily chicken life. She sat on the ground a lot, or just stood there, huddled (but without closing her eyes the way very sick chickens do). She pecked half-heartedly at some treats I offered, but was generally uninterested in anything. At bedtime her crop was completely empty. No sign of injuries (the flock of 8 females gets along well, no bullying), comb and face look fine, no discharge, panting or respiratory issues. I'm ruling out egg-related problems because she's not laying yet. Long overdue at 9 months, but her comb and wattles are still small and pale and haven't even started reddening yet (one of her sisters' headgear is quite red already, but she's the only one of the bunch). I saw her poop one normal poop yesterday while I was with her.

The flock doesn't free range and always eats the same feed (Purina flock raiser crumble). With some scratch or mealworms occasionally as a treat. They have eaten nothing new in recent days. No big changes in their lives, except this pullet recently saw her first snow (Friday through the weekend). I cleared their run right away and put down dry leaves I'd bagged in the fall, and the flock has been out and about happily scratching around. The only other big thing is that, coincidentally, yesterday her sick day overlapped with our first serious cold snap of the winter (and first in her life). Single digits the night before, low teens throughout the day. The coop is very well ventilated and I haven't had any cold-related issues yet, with the pullets or the older hens. But it's this girl's first winter, and first temp drop this low. Could it have been the cold? I know chickens are supposed to do fine in this kind of cold, and this girl is fluffy and fully feathered and otherwise healthy... Or did the cold unlock something else? Or maybe it's not the cold?

Last night she went into the coop and roosted for bed, but it was going to be in the single digits again so I took her into the basement in a crate with food and water (with electrolytes/vitamins in it). Figuring she doesn't need cold stress on top of whatever else is going on. And this morning she's looking SO much better!!!!!! No longer puffed up, and looking lively. I brought her a scrambled egg and she devoured it hungrily. She looks alert and is talking and looking around, tried to sneak out of the crate. No new poops yet (maybe because she starved herself yesterday?). I'm so very relieved, but still worried. Do you think it was just the cold? What else could it be that's improving so drastically with warmth, and what else can I do for her? It will climb above freezing mid-day today, so if she's still looking good, can I put her back in the run? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Here's what she looked like yesterday, sitting down looking puffed up (even the feathers on top of her head were standing up!):
1641997423336.png


And here she is this morning, no longer puffed up, hairdo looking normal, hungrily eating her get-well breakfast and looking to sneak out of the crate again:
1641997717631.png
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
3,459
9,433
487
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
Check for mites/lice?

She could also be abit deficient with some vitamins. Do you have any Nutridrench you can give her?
Forgot about mites/lice, thanks for the reminder. I just checked her, I don't see anything. Her vent is nice and clean, nothing crawling around it, no caked on poop, no discharge etc.

I gave her poultry vitamins, but I have NutriDrench, too. Will change her water and try the NutriDrench.
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
3,459
9,433
487
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
She died, and I can't stop crying! :hit

I had checked on her again later in the morning. She had eaten a lot of her feed and drunk a bunch of water, a big improvement since yesterday! She was no longer puffed up. I sat with her for a long time in the basement and she came into my lap for snuggles as usual (she was my most affectionate chicken, a true lap chicken!). A couple of times I tried to put her back in the crate or even on the floor next to me, but she protested and flew into my lap again and sat down, snuggling in :love She preened herself while in my lap, which was another normal activity she wasn't doing yesterday.

I decided to try and put her back in the run so she could get some fresh air and move around a bit, since the temperature had climbed up to 35 and she was looking so much better. Top hen chased her around a bit and she started breathing with her beak open, which in hindsight I should have probably taken more seriously... I didn't think much of it at the time. I went back inside, thinking I'd bring her back into the basement for further observation in a couple of hours. As soon as I sat down at my desk and checked the run cam, I saw her lying lifeless... Ran straight back outside and found her dead. What could have killed her so quickly after she had shown improvement? What is it about being outside that had such a bad effect on her? Or was it just coincidence? She looked sick outside yesterday; I brought her inside and she showed immediate improvement; I took her back outside today and she dropped dead immediately! What's going on?!? I'm looking into having her necropsied. Do you guys have any ideas?

She had two poops this morning - a normal-looking cecal, and a regular poop that had the white section looking a bit too creamy for normal poop. Here's a picture. Any ideas?

1642012483871.png


RIP my little baby!!! The best pet chicken ever!!!!

The last cuddles, and last pictures, from today:
1642012605048.png


1642012715454.png


1642012784911.png
 

cherrynberry

🍒❤️🐓🐐🐕
Premium Feather Member
Aug 2, 2020
12,229
35,343
956
California
She died, and I can't stop crying! :hit

I had checked on her again later in the morning. She had eaten a lot of her feed and drunk a bunch of water, a big improvement since yesterday! She was no longer puffed up. I sat with her for a long time in the basement and she came into my lap for snuggles as usual (she was my most affectionate chicken, a true lap chicken!). A couple of times I tried to put her back in the crate or even on the floor next to me, but she protested and flew into my lap again and sat down, snuggling in :love She preened herself while in my lap, which was another normal activity she wasn't doing yesterday.

I decided to try and put her back in the run so she could get some fresh air and move around a bit, since the temperature had climbed up to 35 and she was looking so much better. Top hen chased her around a bit and she started breathing with her beak open, which in hindsight I should have probably taken more seriously... I didn't think much of it at the time. I went back inside, thinking I'd bring her back into the basement for further observation in a couple of hours. As soon as I sat down at my desk and checked the run cam, I saw her lying lifeless... Ran straight back outside and found her dead. What could have killed her so quickly after she had shown improvement? What is it about being outside that had such a bad effect on her? Or was it just coincidence? She looked sick outside yesterday; I brought her inside and she showed immediate improvement; I took her back outside today and she dropped dead immediately! What's going on?!? I'm looking into having her necropsied. Do you guys have any ideas?

She had two poops this morning - a normal-looking cecal, and a regular poop that had the white section looking a bit too creamy for normal poop. Here's a picture. Any ideas?

View attachment 2958274

RIP my little baby!!! The best pet chicken ever!!!!

The last cuddles, and last pictures, from today:
View attachment 2958275

View attachment 2958276

View attachment 2958277
Are you open for a necropsy?

@Wyorp Rock @Eggcessive
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
3,459
9,433
487
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
Are you open for a necropsy?

@Wyorp Rock @Eggcessive
Yes, I'm looking into having her necropsied by a vet. I have a friend who did that recently so I messaged her to send me the vet's contacts. If that's not possible, I'll do it myself, though I don't really know what to look for (other than anything obvious looking out of the ordinary). I've butchered chickens countless times so I know what a healthy body looks like, but if a problem is subtle, I don't know if I'd be able to catch it...
 

cherrynberry

🍒❤️🐓🐐🐕
Premium Feather Member
Aug 2, 2020
12,229
35,343
956
California
Yes, I'm looking into having her necropsied by a vet. I have a friend who did that recently so I messaged her to send me the vet's contacts. If that's not possible, I'll do it myself, though I don't really know what to look for (other than anything obvious looking out of the ordinary). I've butchered chickens countless times so I know what a healthy body looks like, but if a problem is subtle, I don't know if I'd be able to catch it...
A lab necropsy is going to be more accurate, for sure. I did an autopsy before, but its not the most clear, your right. However, I did find out what was wrong, as Wyorp Rock helped me. Otherwise, I wouldn't of known. Sorry your girl passed. Its never easy.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom