What can cause a healthy hen to just die?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Danielmc, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Danielmc

    Danielmc In the Brooder

    Nov 20, 2011
    Our broody hen had been doing totally fine, sitting on eggs, running around like crazy when snacks were given though (just like the others!) etc, but one day this week she was just dead - in the run. She had been totally fine that morning. Her wings were covered in sand and dirt so it was as if she had died halfway through a sand bath!!!

    I took her in for a post mortem and while there is still no definitive answer, so far they've ruled out the more obvious ones like sour crop, egg binding, etc. They did find some lice and a small amount of worms in the intestines, but they said it wasn't anything concerning/that would have killed. We found this to be odd though since we regularly deworm and de-lice them...how can this be?!

    Any ideas? They all caught some sort of resp disease (we guessed maybe mycoplasma) but had been fine overall since treatment, though many kept on sneezing including this hen (no other symptoms/problems). Loads of energy all the time and no problems.

    Still awaiting reports on bacteria tests etc so hopefully by next week we will know more. She was such a sweetie and such a good mother, I was devastated to find her like that. She had been chasing after little treats I gave her just that same morning. :(
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Crowing

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Interesting to see what the lab reports show. I'm sorry about your hen. People often overlook Fowl Cholera which is a common disease spread by wild birds and rodents. They don't always swell up on the comb and waddles. A seemingly healthy bird can be dead the next day. Pasteurella Multocida is the bacteria which causes Cholera. It will show hemorrhages in the lungs, and in the fatty tissue surrounding the heart. This causes the heart to become enlarged causing respiratory distress. Parasites, malnutrition, poor sanitation, and stress can also cause birds to be more susceptible to Cholera.

    You might also consider the wormer you used may have not been broad spectrum enough to kill the type of worms in your bird.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  3. Danielmc

    Danielmc In the Brooder

    Nov 20, 2011
    Is it easily transmissible between chickens? Hopefully they will have the results soon so I can make sure it does not happen to the others!
  4. deeschicks19

    deeschicks19 Chirping

    Jun 2, 2013
    That same thing happened to one of mine few weeks ago. She was just fine and healthy and few hours later she was dead. Looked like she was in process of dirt bath too. Never did figure out what happened. But then few days later two more were sick. There breathing sounded bad so I put all of them on antibiotics for a week and now they are fine. Actually putting vitamins and electrolytes in their water this week. But strange thing is the 2 that were sick are now losing lots of feathers. Like molting but more feathers gone from back sides than the neck. Checked them this morning with magnifying glass to make sure is not mites or lice. And we didn't find anything on them other than new feathers coming in.

    But never did find out why my other girl just dropped like that. As yours she was one of my sweet girls.

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