by Jen Robertson
Orpington died: One of my Buff Orpintons died this morning, I separated him yesterday as he looked unwell, his comb and wattle were dark red, his breathing was labored and his bottom was messy.
I have had him for 6 months and he is about 1 year old, he was in with 4 others until 2 weeks ago when I moved him and his brother in with my bigger flock of 25 to leave a trio of Orps together.
The rest of the flock seem ok but am really worried its contagious, his crop seemed very full also. Answer
The diarrhea is a good clue that there was something possibly contagious, although there’s always the possibility he ate something that didn’t agree with him.
A packed crop can become impacted, blocking digestion. This can happen easily when a chicken falls ill and doesn’t drink enough.
His bright red comb may indicate a fever and that he was fighting bacterial infection or virus. A high fever could be responsible for a crop going sour and impacting.
It’s so hard to know what has caused this without veterinary testing. Only then would you know for sure if this is something contagious. It’s best to assume it is and take precautions.
A vitamin drench for the rest of the flock would be good and a thorough cleaning of the coop and areas with lots of droppings.
Laboured breathing could mean respiratory infection or even air sack mites. When one system fails, like breathing problems, other systems can follow, like digestive problems.
Sometimes removing a chicken from its usual surroundings and companions can cause stress, which can lead to a compromised immune system.
This can open a door for bacteria and virus previously kept in check by a healthy immune system to gain a foot hold and begin to flourish.
There are so many possibilities of what might have gone wrong. I’m just mentioning a few things it could have been.
Without testing, you will never know. Getting a test on a few of the flock might set your mind at ease, or let you know how to or if you need to medicate to protect the rest.Return to Raising Chickens Home Page