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Little Cock Dead

Healthy cockMy Olde English Game Cock had been poorly for the last week or so. I had been keeping an eye on him and decided this afternoon to give him the worm treatment and isolate him from the rest of the flock for a few days. The layers had been pecking his breast a lot lately and had exposed the skin, so I thought that this might be part of the reason he was unwell. A few days isolation would do him good.

I caught him this afternoon and administered the worm treatment. He was quite wheezy when I lifted him and I thought that there might be more to his illness. Imagine my absolute amazement when I put him in the small coop to see him writhing on the ground, flapping his wings and squawking. And then he just keeled over on his back and died! It was all over in less than ten seconds. I was stunned and, of course, saddened at his death. I dug a hole and buried the poor thing, covering him with lime as well.

It can be hard to identify the causes of death in poultry but from the web and books I think he might have contracted Marek’s disease. Descriptions of the symptoms of this condition seem closest to what I observed.

I really liked the little cock and am sorry he has died. The other cock – the Pekin – is now ruler of the roost, of course, so it is an ill wind that blows no good. He is back in the saddle, so to speak.

I’d appreciate any advice readers might have on what might have caused the bird’s death. If you can help, please leave a comment and let me know.

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