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What do I look for/check/do???

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Help, I think one of my chickens may be sick, or something? Big Guy is a 23 week old BO who has not started laying. Today I noticed that she was acting odd. She seems to be moving slowly, mostly choosing to just stand in one spot. This has been for a few hours. When I last went to check on her, she stayed still for me to pet her (although she may D this regularly, its not for long) and made soft clucking sounds while I did. She has a small bit of poop on her bottom feathers. Her feet feel warm (especially compared to the others). She seems to be eating and drinking fine and did do some slow scratching while free ranging today. I 'think' her crop is normal, but I'm new at this and honestly don't know exactly what I'm looking for. What do I do? Is there something I should check on her? Should I separate her? Might it be that she has an egg, but is having trouble laying? Help, and thank you!
post #2 of 21

She might be getting ready to start laying and just acting funny, but I would probably get a rubber glove and insert a finger just an inch or so to feel for a stuck egg. Make sure that she is getting layer feed and put out some crumbled egg shells or crushed oyster shell for the hens to eat as they wish for extra calcium. If you should feel an egg, you can give her a calcium tablet dissolved in a little water, or a Tums, and then soak her in a warm bath with a little belly massage to relax her into laying. Egg binding can e an emergency, but she is probably just getting ready. If you notice diarrhea or blood in her stools, lethargy, puffing up or hunching, or not eating, that can be a sign of coccidiosis. Worming is also something to think about if your hens haven't been wormed yet. Valbazen 1/2 ml orally to each chicken, and repeated in 10 days will be a good one. Eggs should be tossed for 14 days after last dose. Keep the poo off her feathers, since that can cause flies to lay maggot larvae there. Trimming feathers may help also.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. This is going to sound strange, but where exactly am I going to find her vent. I mean I get the general area, but is it something that is noticeable? The girls don't really like me looking around there, so I've never pushed it.
post #4 of 21

It is a horizontal slit just below the tail and probably just up from the stool on the feathers, LOL. Here is a good picture:




Vent Up Close

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ok, I just went out to check on them and everyone is roosting for the night. She is still making the quiet clucking sounds. It would be sweet if I didn't think something was wrong. Should I disturb her to check for an egg? Or is it ok to wait till morning. She was fine this afternoon, then suddenly, not. She does seem in some way 'wider'. Maybe she is puffed up, maybe its the egg stuck? Anyway do you think shell be fine till morning when I can check on her again?
post #6 of 21
When they're just standing around the vent is pretty well hidden above the fluffy butt feathers and below the lower tail feathers. If you sit and watch the chickens for a while you'll notice them lift the tail feathers, lower the butt feathers, and let something out. To get an idea of the motion involved, press your thumb and first finger together, and then open and close it like a beak.

I haven't managed to get at my chickens' vents either, but they have solid stools and fluffy bums and aren't at POL yet. There's no need to bother them.

If you are going to bother her, now's the time. Chickens are much easier to handle in the dark.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ack! That was a tough pic to have pop up on my phone😉 I think my BOs just have so many more feathers down there that I don't see it. Thanks.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
But if it is a stuck egg, will she be ok till morning?
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ok, its morning, and no change in her behavior. I have been trying to get her to eat some applesauce with tums, but she is not interested. She did peck and eat some weeds though. I found her vent and it seems to be 'ungulating'? I stuck my finger in (ugh😖) about an inch/inch and a half and did not feel an egg. There was some poop (or something) on my finger when I pulled it out. What else do I try? Does this mean she's not egg bound, or was I not far enough in? I don't want to do the bath if thats not it, cause I need to go to work later, and don't want to leave her alone wet. Might it be something else? Should I go out and get antibiotics? Dewormer? Check for other symptoms? She is resting on my lap now. Help.
Edited by blumenmadchen - 9/30/15 at 9:35am
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
New symptom: Watery yellow poop!
She is drinking and eating some, but lethargic and staying in the coop. Any advice?
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