Chicken Death or Dying Questions

Chicken death often seems sudden; never a warning sign. Finding one of your favorite hens or roosters after it’s already too late can be a very sad thing.

The reality is this: sure, a chicken can drop dead suddenly from heart failure or predator attack, but often, when finding a dead chicken, it has been sick or dealing with a problem for sometime. 

Chickens try to hide any signs of weakness from the rest of the flock and possible predators. They are hatched with this instinct. Likewise, flock members instinctively don’t want the weak around to attract predators to the whole group. However you look at it, chicken death should alert us, cause us to investigate and see if we can change something to help.

Chickens are mean. Their instincts are to protect the group and drive the weak away in a natural free roaming state, as their ancestors have lived since prehistoric times and still live today in a few parts of the world.

Living in coops and yards often makes this survival mechanism not function well, leading to bullying, starving, and even the killing and cannibalizing of the weak.

Know that a chicken being picked on by members of the flock may be dead soon. The other chickens are aware of a problem before you may have noticed anything else wrong. So learning to read flock behavior is an important part of raising chickens and avoiding chicken death.

More likely than not, a chicken suffering wounds from flock aggression, was already sick and should be isolated. It possibly has a disease or condition that you can treat or cure, so look at bullying as a request for help from your chickens.

You can’t prevent death when it comes to old-age related problems. The life span of chickens depends on the breed. Production bred hens often begin to die at about two year of age. Some breeds do well up to 10 years of age.

In cases where there is no cure, helping death along may be the kindest thing to do; preventing weeks, possibly months of suffering with failing health and abilities. This can also prevent disease from spreading in the flock as the weak more easily catch diseases and can become infested with different parasites. Concerning chicken death, some prefer to allow nature to take its course and that is a choice, but it may not be the best choice.

When there is possibility of a contagious disease, the longer host animal lives with the flock, the higher the likelihood of it spreading. Some diseases and parasites can harm other domestic and wild birds in the area, depending on the disease, of course.

I have noticed often, when finding a sick chicken, that external parasites are present. If one chicken has lice, mites, or other chicken bugs, the whole flock has been exposed and should be treated.

Parasites seem to love a sick chicken that may not have the strength to fight back. In a weakened state from parasites or disease, the parasites will only speed up the process of chicken death, robbing the chicken of fluids and nutrients it needs to be well.

Regular checking and treating for parasites can help prevent early death in chickens and increase the wellness of the entire flock. Young chickens growing in strength and size can be greatly slowed by the presence of internal or external parasites.

Before the cold of winter and the hot of summer, very challenging times in some zones, it is good to make sure chickens are free from pesky chicken bugs inside and out. Giving vitamin and mineral supplements can help, too. If you have a question you would like answered click here or type your question below.

Chicken Death or Dying Questions


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