Hi- I believe that the extension vet for necropsy in NY is cornell. You have to google the animal lab at the university and they have a way to put them on ice and send them in a cooler. In CT we have free pickup from UConn and free necropsy. I think that my friends on LI said that its somewhere around $100 to get a necropsy but you would have to check.
The things about this hen that you didnt say (because sometimes a hen just dies...it happens all the time if you keep a huge flock like I do)
was she eating and did her poop look normal? have you seen any hen huddled or puffed up?
was she shaking her head or sneezing? any raspy breathing?
Did you check for mites or lice (yes a bird can die of that) and was she laying?
was she normal weight?
was any blood in droppings? not the usual orangy stuff but dark red blood.
How was her crop? was it filling and emptying? was it squishy? did she have a smell in her mouth?
These are just some of the things you need to be on the lookout for. Birds in general are pretty stoic so by the time they are a little off, they are usually sick.
How old was she?
I am expert in medical things so you can always ask. I have a meetup in southern CT but we mostly email around and meet just a little. I do post about upcoming events and chicken shows and I do some lecturing and teaching, so if anyone wants to join and follow, you are welcomed to. Its a varied group that goes from people with a few in the backyard to farmers and show people. so people have much info about illness...its a good resource. or you can always just email me directly.
I am only responding to this because I follow your group and it seems like you don't have any medical people involved. The vets will rob you blind and of the things that happen to chickens, most of them can be handled at home unless it is very serious.
This is the time to check your birds for mites and lice! we have had huge outbreaks and they can kill a chicken or bird. you need to use poultry dust (or a variety of other products) if you have them . DE is a preventative and not a cure. if you must use DE you need to make a dust bath with sand, DE, peat moss, and also I suggest washing your chickens (not in deep water but under the faucet) to get the eggs off. you can use frontline spray, but many consider that a medicine and will throw away eggs for a couple of weeks, as with most things. Garden dust in pretty benign and it is topical on the bugs. you must repeat treatment in 4 days to kill the hatching eggs.
If you want to know about the cornell vet I will post to my NY people and find out the exact info.
Its good to have and to know how to send a bird in case you lose one;-)
But really, it happens. Chickens don't live all that long. They can get to be 10 or so, but usually they get internal laying or some infection before they are much older than 5. They are only bred to live a short time...maybe 2 years laying and some less than that. The vet labs look at disease in light of poultry farming so its best to take your report to someone who specializes in backyard chicken keeping .
a great resource is First state vet supply, and Peter Brown there, He is someone who has in the poultry industry for many years and then switched to supply natural supplies and also standard meds to people with backyard flocks. He has much knowledge (I am planning on doing a day long health seminar in the summer with him...and he will cover everything from the mildest illness, to wellness, to necropsy, how to do your own and what to look for, and how to put your birds to sleep if you need to.
He also has a new line of preventative probiotics and an oregano oil containing product that he is just developing. I think it makes sense. He is pro vaccine, to prevent the illnesses that we dont want to load up on antibiotics to prevent....I suggest him for your medical needs.
But you can always also email or call me.
Sorry for your loss. I doubt very much it was rat poison. Botulism is common in spring if there is standing water, but that is also unusual...mold in your feed...but you have to go over the bird first because it could have been any of a million things.
On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM, Hannah Kirshner <[address removed]>
I'm looking for a little advice.
I found one of my hens dead in the coop this morning with no obvious reason. I'm wondering if anyone has advice about determining why she might have died. Also, as a country girl, I'm used to burying dead pets; what am I supposed to do in the city?
I have one suspicion about her cause of death. I saw a dead rat in the yard after they had been roaming free yesterday, and if she pecked at it she may have consumed poison. Is there a reasonably way to get/do a chicken autopsy?
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