Why are my bantam hens dying?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickenDaddy26, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. ChickenDaddy26

    ChickenDaddy26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2014
    We have had 3 bantam roosters for over a year now. My brother gave us 2 tiny bantam hens this spring to go with our roosters. We are so proud of our bantams. They are sweet, little, beautiful, pet chickens! I came home yesterday to a tragedy...I found one of the bantam hens lying out of the coop, in the middle of the run, face down, dead. My first thought was she froze to death as the temperatures have been in the teens here over night and in the 30's in the daytime. I then realized this cannot be the case as we have a nice coop, full of straw and all the other bantams to keep her warm. When my brother had her she did not have NEAR the luxuries and housing that she has here with me, and she survived a BITTER cold winter sometimes below zero temperatures with him. My second thought...something killed her. But no sign of loose feathers or any kind of break-in to my coop or run. She is just dead. And I don't know why. Her sister seemed to be in mourning, if that is possible. She was real "sad", moving slowly and sitting by herself. She did eat some cracked corn, but then went back to being all pitiful acting and sitting huddled up in the corner of the run and closing her eyes. I burried the dead hen, and got some extra pine chips to add over top of the straw in the cool, due to fear of the cold nights. I filled my coop with pine needles and got my only little bantam hen and held her for a bit. I then put her in the coop, covered her good down in the pine chips so she should be good and warm for the oncoming night, making sure not to cover her head, of course. I put my little roosters in with her so they knew where she is, as they are VERY protective of their little hens! It is early morning now, I just went outside to my coop to check on my flock, and my last little hen is inside the coop, up out of her shavings, and face down, dead. Just like her sister yesterday, only inside of the coop. I don't understand what happened. Short of them living in my house and sleeping in my bed with me, my chickens could not have it any better than they do! I take pride in them as they are my prized possessions, and so I take such good care of them. They are my pets. Why did my hens die??
    P.s.
    I do have 3 rhode island reds in the same coop/run, but they NEVER fight. They are all so sweet and get along wonderfully. Just want to establish ALL information. Please help! I now have no bantam hens and don't understand what is going on!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  2. ChickenDaddy26

    ChickenDaddy26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2014
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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry about your situation. It is difficult to say what the problem is based upon the information you provided. I've kept Wyandotte Bantams, and roosters of that breed were not aggressive with each other or hens. That was an exception to the rule I've seen over a long period of time, and have found it ideal to keep one rooster per 10 or more hens with standard breeds. Are the Rhode Island Reds Bantams too? You looked over hen's bodies thoroughly and saw no wounds? Were the hens an immediate addition to your existing birds? Did you notice any labored breathing besides other symptoms you mentioned? If so, it is always a risk to add new birds to an existing group without at least a 30 day separation/quarantine to ensure they are healthy and free of disease. It is possible your other birds had immunity to something which the hens did not.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi

    Really sorry to hear about your little hens.

    If I understand you correctly, you have had these hens for about 6 months (assuming you live in Northern hemisphere) with no problems and suddenly they both die consecutive days for no apparent reason?

    How old were the hens?
    Were they laying?
    Did they look healthy and happy until these last 2 days.

    My initial thoughts were that they had been over bred and maybe gone into shock and died or had their necks broken in the tussle. 3 cockerels to 2 hens is not a good ratio. But if you have had them for 6 months, it would be odd for them to suddenly have problems. You also then mention that you have 3 RIR's so, assuming they are hens, that improves the hen to rooster ratio a bit.

    Did you examine the dead birds thoroughly? Stoats sometimes just nip their necks and can get through some very small holes/mesh. Did the birds feel well fleshed out or were they emaciated. Feathers can hide a lot! I appreciate you say they all get along well but could the bigger birds be preventing them from getting enough food to keep themselves warm. RIRs can be quite bossy in my experience.

    I would be inclined to do a post mortem on the most recent one..... I try to do one every time I lose a hen..... so that hopefully I can prevent that problem happening again. I know that it is not easy when it is a pet, but it is better than risking losing another pet by burying a vital piece of information. Of course there is no guarantee that you will figure out what the problem was, but so far I have found the cause with each of mine, which is helping me manage my others better.

    I hope you manage to get to the bottom of it or at least don't have any further losses.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. ChickenDaddy26

    ChickenDaddy26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2014
    They have all been together living in perfect harmony for around 6-8 months. No problems at all before now. I watch them all eat daily and they all get plenty of food. Have done so for 6-8 months now. No wounds that I can see. Necks don't seem broken.
     
  6. ChickenDaddy26

    ChickenDaddy26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2014
    [​IMG]
    This is a small wound I found on the second bantam hen before I buried her. Kind of a pinkish spot on her breast/chest area. Any ideas? Thanks for all your input!
     

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