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When your young chicken dies for no apparent reason

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by azygous, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It hurts. It's disappointing. It's puzzling. It's guilt producing. What could I have done wrong? Why did my otherwise healthy, perfect-in-every-way chicken die?

    I lost a healthy in every way pullet this morning. It's heart breaking because she was close to laying her first egg, and she was one of my favorites from my latest batch of EE chicks. I found her lying on the floor of the coop this morning. No, no sign of attack by a predator or the other chickens. Not a mark on her flawless body, no secretions out of any orifices indicating illness. She had not been acting sick.

    But I do know what killed my pullet because after a string of these unexplained deaths, beginning with the first two adopted hens that began my flock nine years ago, I had a necropsy performed. It was a couple years ago that I learned that lymphotic leucosis is present in my flock, a nasty, incurable virus that causes tumors on the organs of chickens that aren't resistant to the virus. My pullet probably had tumors on her heart and died of a heart attack.

    This post is purely to inform others that mysterious deaths have a cause and shouldn't be written off as a fluke. Have a necropsy done on that chicken that died suddenly "for no good reason". You need to know why. It could affect all your other chickens, and even other flocks in the area.

    I know that I'm running a risk each time I introduce new chicks into my flock. Some will have a genetic resistance to the virus, but others won't. My new EE pullet obviously didn't. The amazing thing is that I have a flock of 24 other chickens, ages two months to eight years, that are as healthy and productive as any normal flock. Most appear to be resistant to the disease.

    It still hurts like the devil when I lose one.
    1 person likes this.
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Great Thread....I have only ever lost one to Heart attack...Tarp blew off and scared her to death....

  3. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    I am very sorry for your loss.

    It's always, ALWAYS good to know what happened, if at all possible.


    No one ever said this chicken thing was easy.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Thanks, MrsBrooke. Almost every day there's a new thread pleading to know what caused the death of someone's chicken. There's simply no way to know for certain unless you get a necropsy. It can not only put your mind to rest, but it could mean life or death for the rest of your flock.

    I cross-posted about this event over on the Behaviors forum. This evening I discovered that I wasn't the only one traumatized by the death of this little pullet.
    1 person likes this.

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