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#71032 - 03/05/07 01:04 PM 1st loss to mystery illness
Mini Tree Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 95
Loc: Maine
People emotions can be a funny thing, to this I can attest by my own reaction to finding one of my Speckled Sussex pullets dead in the coop this morning. I wish I could say I jumped right in and did a post-mortem investigation, but I am just not in the mood.

She looks fine externally. This is the first fatality in the flock since I received the chicks last spring. I started with a larger group than I needed, knowing that there could be losses along the way.

I have processed my own birds in the past -- three hens from a previous flock and an unwanted cockerel -- with mixed feelings each time. I even went to a workshop on chicken anatomy last summer to learn how to recognize internal abnormalities, but at this moment grief trumps intellectual curiosity.

Fortunately I did have some time today to linger in the coop, and just hanging out with the flock made me feel better. I watched the other 15 girls carefully, and they look absolutely perky and normal.

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#71033 - 03/05/07 01:36 PM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
Luisa Fels Offline
Bantam

Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 69
Loc: California
my heart goes out to you. a loss like that, so unexpected, jolts your whole system. i'm sad for you.
_________________________
L. Fels

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#71034 - 03/05/07 01:40 PM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
My little Speckled sussex did the same thing. My dad went out to feed. Saw her walking around, following him just like she always did. He locked the pen up and went to feed the pen down the hill. He came back up 2 minutes later and she was lying on the ground.

We did a postmortem because we didn't want it to happen to another bird. It was an aneurism (sp?) that got her. We figured that God just wanted to have this perfect little girl in his flock. She was my absolute favorite bird and even had a plan for tornadoes. We would wake up, gather the emeergency feed, water and run up the hill for Houdina! Then run back down to the house and into the cellar!!!

I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope it's not something with Sussexs. Was she at a good weight when she passed away?

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#71035 - 03/16/07 03:44 AM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
Mini Tree Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 95
Loc: Maine
Thanks for your condolences. It is so nice to know that I am not alone among poultry keepers to react like this.

Now I am down one more Sussex, and it's all the more frustrating because I am pretty sure I could have prevented it. I think a predator got her.

I only just started letting the girls out the other day when the first spring thaw began to melt some of the snow cover. The Sussex pullets were the first down the ramp to enjoy scratching along the fencerow and eating the first green grass of the season.

Yesterday I opened the door around 8:30am on a misty morning. When steady rain set in by early afternoon, I assumed the girls would have all come back inside and went to close the coop door.

It was at that time that I noticed that one bird was missing. I searched all around and found no trace, no feathers or blood or anything. Because of the partial snow cover, they had been keeping to a fence row under some tall ash trees. I picture a fox sneaking through there...

I know I have been lucky to have no predator losses in almost two years keeping chickens, but now I will be a lot more careful, even if that means less free-ranging time for the birds.

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#71036 - 03/16/07 06:57 AM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
Anonymous
Unregistered


This is so strange to read as just this morning during the feeding rounds, I found my little speckled sussex dead. It looked like she was just walking over for one last bite of food before roosting and she just fell forward. Cause of death, unknown but there wasn't a scratch on her. I imagine an impacted crop from a quick post-mortem analysis. She always did like to eat so I guess she died doing what she loves....

She was my only Sussex left and so friendly and sweet. Her name was Simon and she will be missed.

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#71037 - 03/16/07 07:38 AM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
Speckled Hen Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 534
Loc: Georgia
Oh, no! I just for the first time ordered some Speckled Sussex hatching eggs from someone I know. I certainly hope it isn't something peculiar to that breed. They seem to be such a wonderful chicken. I'm so sorry for all of you who lost your sweet girls recently.

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#71038 - 03/17/07 09:16 AM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
Mini Tree Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 95
Loc: Maine
Speckledhen, I wouldn't worry about Speckled Sussex as a breed - I only have experience with three types of chicken, and small numbers of each breed, so one mystery illness is hardly statistically significant.

From my limited experience I can say that the Speckled Sussex are smarter and more outgoing than most of my Cuckoo Marans, and friendlier than my RIRs. They love to free range, always the first out the coop door!

Enjoy your Sussex chicks when they hatch! They look like little chipmunks as chicks, and grow their red speckled feathers later.

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#71039 - 03/17/07 12:58 PM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
I keep only bantams. I like all breeds of chickens. If I were to obtain large fowl again, it would probably be Speckled Sussex. Good layers, SETTERS, smart and beautiful. Had them YEARS ago. However, it would be easy to succumb to the "charms" of many breeds! I remain dedicated to just one bantam breed and resist all temptation to obtain any others-- CJR

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#71040 - 03/17/07 02:14 PM Re: 1st loss to mystery illness
Speckled Hen Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 534
Loc: Georgia
I have heard such wonderful things about them, I'm very excited to finally be on my way to having them. Thanks for your endorsements of the breed.

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