Sunday, November 06, 2011

Chicken Death

Over the years I've seen a lot of ways that chickens can die. I've seen them go by way of dog predation. I've seen my horse step on one. I've seen a coop of dead chickens lined up by a mink or weasel after killing them all just to partially eat one of them. I've seen an egg bound hen die and I've seen a chicken brutalized by other chickens. However, yesterday I saw a chicken die like never before.

I had just opened the gate to the coop so the chickens could go out and forage. The chickens all wait at the gate to be let out and once the gate is open they dash for the bird feeders to make a meal of the seeds the birds let fall to the ground. Since their gate gets opened at a random time each day they may not all be waiting to be released. Some are in the coop eating or laying. At this point they can come and go as they please.

As all the other chickens are tending the bird feeders I returned to feeding the burn barrel. I noticed a late hen exiting the gate and as soon as she crossed the thresh-hold she fell over on her side, squawked and kicked her legs out a couple times. When I got to her there was liquid coming from her mouth. She was breathing, but within five minutes she was dead.

When something like this happens I can only hope this isn't the beginning of something that is going to spread through the flock. The hen was two years and four months old and maybe it was a heart attack or a stroke. I didn't perform a necropsy since I really wouldn't know what to look for. Are there any chicken people out there that have experienced this before? Any ideas?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That lady at Coal Creek Farms blog calls herself the chicken doctor. Maybe she can help you.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I have never heard of any such thing happening!

8:13 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

My guess is that she was constipated, or "bound up" as some bird types call it. Birds sometimes reach a point of no return with binding.
Easy to confirm and probably not your fault.

5:08 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I wrote to Coal Creek Farms and she has not replied.

Gearhead, that's how Elvis died, constipation from all his medicines.

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about your chicken, but sudden chicken death is not that uncommon, although most people don't witness the event. Usually it's a story like "It was healthy and running around and when I came back 10 minutes later it was dead". That's what happened in my case. The cause is for the most part a mystery.

9:07 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

It did seems like it was a stroke or a heart attack. Really fast, interesting and scary...

5:31 AM  

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