by Hannah
(Chesapeake, Va)

I am watching 6 chickens over the summer while my neighbors are out of town. Its been 5 weeks since I've been watching them. Yesterday out of no where, I found one lying inside the hen house DEAD!!! Now one of the other chickens is having like a violet color on its comb. Should I be worried that she might die as well? I contacted the owner and she said it might be a disease, don't eat the eggs produced. The weather here has been from 90-100 for a few days. The day before the chicken died they were fine. Can you please help me shed some light on the situation. I'll take anything you have to offer.


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by: Sharon

Many things can cause a chicken to die. The light colored comb can be a sign of illness, generally poor blood pressure, which can have many causes: disease, parasites, stress, injury, internal problems, just to name a few.

I don't know the breed you are caring for. Some breeds do better in heat than others, but this heat doesn't sound extreme as long as the chickens have access to clean water and good feed.

I don't know enough about the chicken environment and care to know what has happened. I don't know if a predator can get in. I don't know the age of the chickens or if there are any other signs.

Good basic care is always important. I like to give vitamins and electrolytes, at least once a week, when temperatures are constantly hot.

I'm not sure why the owners would suspect a disease that means the eggs shouldn't be eaten, unless they have had problems like this in the past. There could be a problem with parasites which can literally suck the life out of chickens, if there is an internal or external infestation, especially with the added stress of hot days.

I wish I could help you more. If you aren't used to caring for chickens and if you haven't spent a lot of time around these chickens, to know what is normal for them, it would be difficult to be aware of any other problems that might be going on.

I know it's hard to lose an animal you are caring for. Hopefully the rest will be OK.

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