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My 9 week old silkie suddenly passed away. I am not sure…

My 9 week old...

My 9 week old silkie suddenly passed away. I am not sure why. If she died of an illness I just want to make sure my other chickens aren't sick. This morning when I turned them out in their run, all of them were perfectly normal and healthy and even playing. There was no sign of loss of feathers, trauma, or pecking

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the bird's name?

Chic***** *****ttle. she seemed to have past away out of nowhere in the chicken coop I changed the food and water hoping to limit the transfer of germsn germs*

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the bird?

That is all- all seemed happy and normal this morning

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Answered in 12 hours by:
11/14/2017
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,185
Experience: As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
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Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

Can you tell me of any signs she had before she died?

Was she lethargic, had any diarrhea, appetite loss, coughing, sneezing, discharges from any orifice, etc?

Are they wormed and vaccinated?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I got them 9 weeks ago as hatchlings. They were medicated. No signs of illness to me. I noticed the day before she died, a maroon color looking bowel movement. However, I am not sure which chick it was. She was the largest of the three silkies and everything seemed normal. Eating fine, pecking, and playing with the other ones. I turned them out in the morning and the by the time I came back to turn them she died in the coop. I read chickens sometimes get sudden death syndrom. I also read sometimes chicks can get heart attacks if they are growing too quickly. Could this be accurate? She was significantly larger than the other two

Hello again,

Now unfortunately the situation you find yourself in is a very common one. Often we find that the instincts of the chickens can thwart us. This is because they do a very good job of covering up when they are sick. This is because as a prey species, attention to your illness will make you a target for predation. And too often we only see the few vague signs if any before one suddenly dies.

Now it possible to see heart attacks/defects in some quick growing birds but this isn't overly common. So, it is a concern but we'd be more concerned about possible underlying infectious illnesses or toxin exposure. Therefore, I would advise reviewing your management system, diet, and the remaining birds (including their feces if we aren't sure who passed that odd colored stool) at this stage. You want to make sure they are on a balanced feed that is in good condition (ie not moldy, etc). From there, you want to review their environment to rule out toxin exposure. Common toxins that we can see manifest so dramatically include rat bait, zinc, lead, pesticides, antifreeze, and salt (which some people use to kill slugs and end up poisoning local hens). And just to note some of the infectious causes, we can see bacterial disease (ie Clostridia, Listeria, Salmonella, Pasteurella , etc), viral (ie adenovirus, herpesvirus, etc.), fungal (ie Aspergillosis) and acute parasitic disease induce death without warning. So, there is a lot to rule out and consider here.

Finally, of Chic***** *****ttle just died, you could consider submitting her for an autopsy. While it is not nice to think about, an autopsy can really shed light on what is causing these deaths. If you speak to the vet, they may be able to perform the autopsy in the practice. Alternatively, if you live near a vet school, vet lab, or agricultural college, they too likely can help you in this manner. If the vet performs the autopsy, they can check the body for disease specific signs, check Chic***** *****ttle's heart, and hints of potential toxins (ie stomach contents). If they cannot find an obvious visible cause of her death, then they can collect samples to submit to the lab for the pathologists to evaluate. The pathologists will be able to examine the tissues under the microscope and determine the causative agent that lead to her death. As well, if bacterial or viral causes are suspected, these can be cultured to determine what is present and what treatments will effectively clear them. This will both give you closure on the loss, but also help you know if this is something that threatens the others. And once you know the causative agent, you will be able to protect them effectively.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

******************************************************************************

I aim to provide best care for you just as I do for my own clients & their pets. If you have any other questions, please ask – I’m happy to help but please rate me with the **STARS** (or leave a written rating of 1-5; 5 being great) as this is the only way I am credited for my work by the site & this allows me to continue to help here. This is included in your question fee. Once you rate, your question will not close & you can still ask follow-up questions. Thank you. : )**

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thanks so much for getting back to me! We rebuilt theyre coop recently so I am aware of no mold and no toxins mentioned above. She must’ve been ill. I am hoping it doesn’t spread to the rest of my flock. This morning when I turned them out I saw no sign of odd looking stool. I can recall the day I got my hatchlings 1 out 3 was significantly weaker. They grew so quickly I lost track of which one was ill. I kept her next to my neck all day thinking it was lack of heat. She bounced back and immediately and seemed to be thriving. I believe it was the one who died, because I noticed the hatchling that was weak that day was much larger than the other two. Perhaps she was ill at birth. I’m more concerned now with keeping my flock safe from the transfer of illness and disease. The grounds been frozen the past couple of weeks so I am not sure the likely hood of my chicks contracting a parasite in the 2 weeks they have been living outside. I will take your advice into consideration. I am new chicken owner so I am learning as I go along! My first two hens are rescued and I would be devastated if anything happened to them.

You are very welcome,

I am glad we can at least exclude those for your wee ones. And it may be that this was the inital weak chick which would fit with possible underlying disease or a defect potentially in the heart. In any case, do keep a close eye on everyone remaining and if you have older birds perhaps keep these chicks away for the next week or so, just so we can see if anything arises with them but also to avoid any potential for spread if this is infectious.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.

******************************************************************************

I aim to provide best care for you just as I do for my own clients & their pets. If you have any other questions, please ask – I’m happy to help but please rate me with the **STARS** (or leave a written rating of 1-5; 5 being great) as this is the only way I am credited for my work by the site & this allows me to continue to help here. This is included in your question fee. Once you rate, your question will not close & you can still ask follow-up questions. Thank you. : )**

Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,185
Experience: As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
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