We lost one of our Ameraucana pullets on Thursday 6/16/11.  Poor little thing had  been keeping off to herself for a few days.  We brought her into the house and found that she was drinking but not eating at all.  I took her to Dr. Ryan in Westminster because the doctors at the vet clinic where I work have not had much experience with birds.  Dr. Ryan did a very thorough exam but was unable to determine what was wrong with her without more extensive diagnostics.  I sent out some blood samples through my clinic but poor little Maggie died later that night, before results were in.  We took her to the Animal Health Diagnostic Lab in Frederick for necropsy.  They perform post mortem examinations on poultry at no charge.  We wanted to be sure that she hadn’t succumbed to something infectious in order to take precautions with our other birds.  I received a preliminary pathology report later the same day.  Turns out she had developed an intestinal blockage that led to perforations in her intestines and peritonitis (actually known as coelomitis in birds).   The vet who performed the necropsy commented that it looked as though she had been eating mulch – she was full of it.  As the chickens do not have access to mulch, I can only assume that she had been consuming an inordinate amount of the pine shavings that we use as bedding.  We see most of the chickens peck at the shavings from time to time, but have never had a problem like this before.  All the others seems fine today.  I’m hoping it will stay that way.  Rest in peace, sweet little Maggie.