Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?

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Cal.

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Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?
« on: October 25, 2020, 19:46 »

Hi everyone,

Apologies if this belongs in a different section! I wasnít sure if Hen House or Chicken Chat was more appropriate.

Just looking for some advice really from some experienced chicken keepers like yourselves. I have 8 Rhode Island hens, 4 (ĎThe OG Girlsí) I got from a local farm at 20 weeks old last April and 4 (ĎThe Ex-Batsí)  whom I rescued from culling in June after living in battery hen conditions. They are all roughly the same age. This morning I suffered a devastating loss when I found one of my ĎOG girlsí (as I fondly refer to them as) sadly dead underneath her perch.

Iíve had what I believed to be an impacted/sour crop problem with one of my ex-bats this week. She was lethargic, puffed up, kept herself to herself and whenever I felt her crop it was squidgey whereas all 7 of my other girls had firm crops. After some reading I massaged her crop 3-4 times a day, fed her olive oil, Nettex drops, Actimel and maggots. After a few days she perked up and now sheís right as reign. However, then the OG girl who has passed began displaying the same behaviour.

I first noticed something was amiss when it was evident she had moved down a few positions in the pecking order this week. Since acquiring my 4 ex-bats in June, the pecking order has been pretty stable. Top 4 are the OG girls;  theyíre feistier. Bottom 4 are the ex-bats; naturally theyíre a bit quieter and nervier due to their horrendous past. We have a coop attached to a shed to house the girls and the OG girls sleep in the coop together on a perch and the ex-bats sleep on a perch in the shed. Thatís nothing Iíve forced - just something theyíve worked out together. I check on the girls every night when locking them away just to make sure theyíre all in there and Iím not missing anybody, as you can imagine with 8 girls it can get difficult to account for everybody unless youíre vigorous! When I had done my nighttime checks this week, I discovered that the since passed OG girl was now sleeping on the shed perch with 3 of the ex bats and one of the ex bats had taken her place in the coop.

Anyway, she had been a bit under the weather yesterday. I noticed that she was last out of the coop when I let them out in the morning which is very strange because normally sheíd be outraged to be the last out. She looked a bit puffed up and a bit lethargic and kind of stayed to herself like my ex-bat a few days previous but she was eating fine. I left her to her own devices as I had felt her crop and it was fine and then suspected that it was down to molting because a few of my other girls have already gone through it this year. The fact she was reluctant to be handled by me when I was checking her crop confirmed my suspicions because sheís normally fine to be picked up, given the once over and petted and I had read that molting girls can find handling uncomfortable due to their new feathers coming through being sensitive.

When I did my nighttime lockup check last night, she was in the corner of the shed all puffed up on the floor. Sometimes my girls can take to the floor so I wasnít really concerned, although did find it odd, considering her ritual of always sleeping in the coop with her sisters already having been broken this week. I decided to pick her up and place her on the perch with the ex bats, said goodnight and closed the door. This morning, when I opened the coop door, she didnít appear, although the other 7 did. Concerned, obviously, I opened the shed access door for myself and found her dead on the floor underneath the perch, her head slumped against the plastic dog bed I have in there acting as one of the nesting boxes.

I held her in my arms for a good 20 minutes. I had a little cry but I did note how well she looked. Her comb was bright red, she was a healthy weight and sheís always looked after herself and been a pretty bird.  I treat the coop with mite spray every time I clean it up and Iíve inspected her and canít see any mites. The only thing I will say is she had a few bubbles around her eyes when I found her but she definitely did not have any symptoms like that yesterday and neither did my other ex-bat who was ill this week.

We havenít buried or cremated her yet. Sheís in a basket lay on a towel in the summer house. I donít believe there is any vets near me who will perform a post mortem. Shall I wait and see what happens with the rest of my girls? The rest (even the ex-bat who was ill earlier this week) are completely fine. They have ACV and Poultry Drink supplements in their waterers. Their feed is a mixed combination of Layers mash, corn, oyster shells, mixed grit and poultry spice. I fed the rest of my girls some scrambled eggs mixed with oregano and garlic this afternoon just out of worry if it is disease related as obviously the eggs are good for protein and the herbs are natural antibiotics. I must also admit that during my frantic googling today Iíve discovered that my girls arenít actually wormed. Iíve stupidly believed that Verm-X is a wormer when apparently itís nothing more than the poultry spice in the sense that itís just herbs and spices that help with their digestive health but donít prevent worms?

I suppose Iím posting this for some advice because Iím at an absolute loss on what has happened to my poor girl. It was so sudden. I have read up today on some instances of hens falling off the perches in the middle of the night and dying from the shock? Could she have been a bit lethargic due to molting and the fall from the perch has killed her? Or do her symptoms sound like anything else youíve ever heard of? Can I purchase anything to help the rest of my flock?

Thanks so much for your help in advance everybody!

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grinling

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Re: Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 20:36 »
Verm x is a preventative rather than a curative. You can get layers pellets with wormer,Flubevent, in it online. They should have that on it'sown,so no extras.
Can you pick up each bird and check under their wing with your hand for temperature, should be all the same.
Place on your legs and check by move feathers under wing and near vent on belly for little yellow 3mm mites, if seen then dust them. I put anti mite powder in their dust bath and she does it herself.
Listen to their breathing, see if any sounds raspy/rattly.
Check eyes, should be clear,no sign of bubbles.
Check underneath their feet for any marks.
Did you quarantine the new ones for a few weeks?

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Cal.

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Re: Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 00:06 »
Verm x is a preventative rather than a curative. You can get layers pellets with wormer,Flubevent, in it online. They should have that on it'sown,so no extras.
Can you pick up each bird and check under their wing with your hand for temperature, should be all the same.
Place on your legs and check by move feathers under wing and near vent on belly for little yellow 3mm mites, if seen then dust them. I put anti mite powder in their dust bath and she does it herself.
Listen to their breathing, see if any sounds raspy/rattly.
Check eyes, should be clear,no sign of bubbles.
Check underneath their feet for any marks.
Did you quarantine the new ones for a few weeks?

Thank you so much for your reply! I will have a feel for temperature tomorrow with all 7 and give them all another once over for mites. I do have some anti-mite powder so might create a dust bath tomorrow with it just in case. Never noticed anything about their breathing but perhaps will sit with a few of them tomorrow and have a listen. As I said none of them have ever displayed symptoms of fluid/snot/bubbles until I saw bubbles around my poor passed girlís eyes this morning. My ex-bats were quarantined when I first got them in June but not sure how that would suddenly cause one of my OG girlsí deaths 4 months later in October?

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New shoot

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Re: Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2020, 08:04 »
They do mask illness as long as possible, so it often seems sudden to us, but they have been unwell for a time.

Do the checks that Grinling suggests and get them wormed properly as soon as you can.  That should cover the basics.

If it was something more serious, there would have been a limit to what you could do.  Some vets are more knowledgeable than others about poultry, but once they get past the options of things treatable with anti-bios and the like, even they are not always able to help.

Decent living conditions, good food and treatment for worms and mites are your insurance against unnecessary illness, but even so I have had birds just drop for no apparent reason. It is part of poultry keeping  :(


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Debz

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Re: Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2020, 10:50 »
Sorry for your loss - they can go very quickly and without warning in my experience.  One evening I was feeding mine corn at 6pm and I watched them all eat it.  By 9pm she has passed away.  No symptoms, no visible reason.  I consoled myself with the fact that she too was an ex-batt and had the best possible semi-retirement I could offer.

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Cal.

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Re: Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2020, 11:47 »
Hi everyone! Thank you all so much for all your responses and condolences. I ordered some layers pellets with Flubenvet and some new mite spray, both of which are arriving tomorrow. Will be giving the girls a once over each shortly and going to be providing a dust bath in their small covered run with the mite powder also. :D

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Aunt Sally

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Re: Has my poor hen died of shock or disease?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2020, 11:56 »
Sounds like youíve got a good plan now, Cal  :)
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