Hen Turned Mean then Died

by Delaney

Hello there. I have had a flock of laying hens for over 2 years now and they have been doing great. I introduced four new hens to the flock last july and they have all got along well. Two weeks ago though my brahma hen suddenly turned mean and started pecking the vent of another hen that she has been with since day one. Within a few hours she had pecked the other hen to death (I was not at home when this happened.) Then the next day she turned on one of the newer birds and begin pecking her vent. After a search through my chicken books I found that she could be needing extra protein so I gave my birds some venison I had in the freezer. This stopped the attacks thankfully. Two days ago I found one of my newer hens lying on her back on the floor of the coop totally paralyzed. She was awake but not able to move and had been fine just hours earlier. I ended up having to euthanize her. Then this morning I went out and my mean but otherwise healthy brahma hen was dead. She had also been the picture of health just a few hours earlier. Both hens were healthy and showed no symptoms. No scabs or sores, no mucus, no diahrrea, no changes in comb size or color, no weight loss, nothing. Any ideas what may be going on and how to treat it?

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Feb 19, 2012
Hen Turned Mean then Died
by: Linda

Do not feed any meat especially any wild meat. Chickens do not need to eat meat, and you'll need to take remaining birds to an Avian Vet ONLY, and they can help you with a higher quality feed for them. I believe there is possible disease in your flock, and possibly you have the hens overcrowded. Overcrowding causes birds to lose control and kill others. Disease can also bring about this kind of death and slaughter.Either way, you have a serious problem here that needs to be addressed quickly.

Please do not delay having a necropsy done on dead hens and the live ones have to be examined for possible highly contageous disease. If contageous disease is found, vet is mandated, by law, to contact the proper authorities who will quarantine your birds until further notice. Do not sell any birds or eggs until you know what is going on. Move birds only to take them to an avian vet. I also suggest you eat no birds or their eggs until you know what killed the dead ones.

Proceed quickly and with caution until cause of this has been determined by an Avian Vet ONLY as they are the only ones who are licesnsed and trained to treat birds. Let us know how this goes and good luck and God's speed!

Find an Avian Vet

Feb 18, 2012
Hen died
by: Tracie

You need to have a necropsy done on the dead bird to determine the cause of death. Please Find an Avian Vet to to examine the bird. Dr B can not tell what is going on over the Internet.

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