Lost two girls yesterday :(

Discussion in 'General Chicken Discussion' started by CaliDavali, Sep 26, 2020.

  1. CaliDavali

    CaliDavali New Member

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    Got up yesterday morning and just had a feeling that something wasn't right in the big coop. Sure enough, one of the girls was lying dead in the run, next to the feeder, and another was dead up in the coop.

    There were no signs of illness or distress prior to this. These were young white Rocks who just started laying last month. Each of them lays 5-6 eggs per week, meaning that we get 4-6 eggs per day from them. However, the two days prior to the deaths, we only had 4 eggs and 3 eggs, respectively. So I'm wondering if maybe they were egg-bound.

    The other four girls in the big coop, and the two banty cochins in the small coop, were fine all day yesterday. Everyone seems fine today, too, for which I'm very thankful. It is just hard to lose them, especially just as they have started laying. :(
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm sorry you lost them. It can be very hard to walk in to an issue like that.

    But, as closely as you watch your birds I'm pretty certain you would have noticed them being off. If they were having laying issues it would have evident.

    Either there is something that got in or is living in the coop pen now. I'd do a very thorough search and close the coop at night for the time being.
     
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  3. CaliDavali

    CaliDavali New Member

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    Thank you, @robin416. Good suggestion on checking the coop thoroughly. My plan was to rake it thoroughly today anyway, but you've made me realize that I should look for droppings, etc. We use the deep litter method so it might not be as obvious right off the bat. Predators were my first thought, as well, but there was no blood, no extra feathers lying around - just two completely intact birds with their beaks curled into their breasts. They were quite stiff, so they probably died sometime shortly after they roosted for the night.

    I have been eyeing a particular squirrel that wants access to their feed tubes in the worst way, but haven't been able to find any access holes. We do have hardware cloth going 10" into the ground around the coop perimeter, so it seems unlikely.

    What's so sad is that my husband had just finished securing the bottom perimeter of our yard fence, and today was the day we'd set to clip their wings and let everyone free-range. In fact, that's what the rest are all doing right now.

    And despite the sadness, we had a terrific laugh when the huge White Rocks came face to face with the banty Cochins (Fluffy and Puffy) for the first time. Until now, they'd only eyed each other through the coop walls, which are separated by a walkway. After we let everyone out, one of the Rocks rounded the coop and found herself within inches of Fluffy. They eyed each other for a second, but Fluffy wasn't having any of that, no sir. She huffed herself up into a fierce ball of indignation and flew right at the Rock, which was easily twice her size. The Rock turned tail and ran off like Godzilla was chasing her. We laughed till tears were running down. Just what we needed to help us feel better.
     
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  4. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I can't tell you how many times I've told someone don't think that just because a bird is small don't think it can't put bigger birds in their place. You've gotten to see it first hand.

    What did their necks look like? Did they look like they might, could have been wet? That would be a snake trying to swallow a bird. I've seen that one for myself. It's truly awful. And snakes are very good at hiding themselves.
     
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  5. CaliDavali

    CaliDavali New Member

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    Thank you, that's very interesting - I didn't know to look for that as a sign of a snake attack. I don't recall seeing wet necks, but they'd been dead awhile and probably would have dried by then, so I won't rule it out.

    I cleaned the entire run, coop, and nest box area. No signs of infiltration at this point. It also seems unlikely to me that I'd have two egg-bound hens at one time, with no distress signals. It remains a mystery.

    Meanwhile, Fluffy rounded up all the Whites and put them back in their run for the night. Saved me the trouble and was a hoot to watch. Apparently we should have named her Boss Lady.
     
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  6. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    If everything appeared normal with them the day before it was either something that got at them or the strangest thought, is that they had heart attacks. It's not that uncommon but normally it isn't two at the same time. Without a necropsy there's just no way to know what happened.
     
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