Internal laying, how many of your hens have died from it?
I just recently read about this condition on Backyard Chickens forum. I have had 3 Red Stars hens that I have had for 3 years. Got them from mypetchicken at 17 weeks old. Fantastic sweet birds that for 3 years never stopped laying an egg no matter how hot it got and even all through winter.
Well, just last week my best egg layer who was fine the day before just as normal as could be and was seen walking around in the run the next morning was dead and stiff when I got home from an errand that same afternoon. No, earthly idea what happened infact she had layed an egg the day before.
Well then just a couple or so weeks before that I had one of other hens have what appeared to be an egg broken inside of her. Yolk coming from her vent and all fluffed out just sitting in the coop. I gave her a warm bath and put in a kennel with antibiotics in her water. She still would discharge some yellow and what looked like egg white from her vent. After a couple days put her outside to eat grass in the yard with the other two (this was before the other died) and she would scratch around and eat grass and whatnot. Every now and then she would just fluff out again and sit there looking uncomfortable and then go back to scratching again. A few days later I go out to the coop to find this mass that looked like what would be the egg she had in her broke and she was back to her normal self. Well during this time we also had a bigger coop built right next to the old one. None of the hens layed from that time on which has been about a month ago maybe a little less. Well we just a week ago got the new run built so the girls could move into their new coop. It was like the day before that the one hen suddenly died. Then 2 nights after being in the the new coop I go in to check them in the morning and below the hen that had earlier broke an egg was a perfect egg yolk and what looked to be the white in the sand below where she had roosted. No egg shell that I could see. She hasn't layed since (actually neither of them have layed). She has been acting normal though, eating scratching, drinking, taking dust baths.
From what I have read it seems that a lot of hatchery birds get this condition though some have said they have had get it that came from good breeders. I think I read that it happens a lot with production hens. Many people have said they lost theirs as early as 1 year -2 years old. My hen that I believe to have this condition also has abnormal poo but then again she has had that since she injured herself about a year ago jumping out of my arms. I've come to see her poo as almost normal since she has layed since the accident and has had these runny or dark poo since it happened from the best I can remember and I don't have any idea why. The people who have had more then one bird die to what they believed was this internal laying cut the dead bird open to find a huge yellow mass inside them. Some believe this to be hormonal, some interbred.
It really bothers me because I have 6 new chicks (2RR, 2BR, 2EE) and I'm afraid of this happening to them at such an early age. Also now that I'm down to only to older hens and one of them seems to have this condition which is fatal I don't know how much longer she will live and if she suffers I will be forced to cull her and either way it will leave my one sweet hen all alone till the babies are big enough to join her.
IF you know more about this and what the best way to try and if any to avoid this (like buying from a breeder, ect.) please post. Also please tell me and for others if you have had this happen to your birds and what the signs were, how old they were, what breed, and where you got them from. I would like to compare the information plus I think it may be helpful for others whose hens show the signs of it. Thank you~Meghan