I am just looking for some general advice here. I have a sick chicken at this moment who I can only figure has possibly water belly or something like internal laying. She is a red sex link. I got her and 6 other hens a year and a half ago as already mature layers. They were supposedly 1 or 2 years old. I got them from a lady who had taken them in from a friend because she had space to hold them. This hen and another both have gotten ill in the year and a 1/2 that I have had them. The first hen that got sick seemed to have salpingitis and did lay one puss egg. I opened her up after she died and seemed to have some yoke looking color in her but it was not as bad as I expected. Now I have another hen sick and seems really bloated in the abdomen from keel to vent. Is slowly walking, eating and drinking less. Her comb is turning bluish grey. It seems she could have water belly because she does not seem to be trying to pass an egg, not egg bound and not laying puss eggs. I will likely have to take her out of her misery very soon as I do not think this is something I can help.
Out of these seven birds I have had two that have gotten ill to the point of death and occasionally others seem sickish for a day and I start to worry but then they seem ok after. One generally has a poppy bottom. I guess my question is why could this be happening? Do hens commonly get these issues as they got older? I am starting to think these hens are older then I thought because they really are not laying much anymore and I have had egg shell quality issues from the start. Could it just be old age? or could it be something in there current environment? I feed them a good quality layer feed. They have optional oyster or egg shells. I give them small amount of vegetable scraps daily usually. I give them yogurt and AVC on a weekly basis. Clean water everyday and thoroughly clean waterer once a week. We use a deep litter method with straw but i do remove some poo once a week as well as mix the straw good once a week. As far as I know i think I do a pretty good job with raising chickens. The only thing that I think could be better is the air quality. The coop get pretty dusty especially in the winter and I cannot open it up more because I live in MN and we have -30 degree windchills for weeks straight. On days above 0 I always let them out if they want to come out and they free range all other seasons. However, I feel like I have had many issues with poor health of chickens in the last year and a half that many do not have. I have to say it has prompted me to do tons of research on illnesses and how to prevent them and help chickens when they have had problems.
On top of the issues with older hens, last spring, I got 6 new chicks from the same lady (who runs a local small hatchery) who sold me these older chickens. Out of the 5 chicks I got, one developed something like a ligament slipping on the hip when it tried to walk so it could not walk well. Im pretty sure it was not spraddle leg because the chick could hold legs together but it seemed like when it walked it would twist weird in the hips ending on its lower legs and not on feet. And another one seemed to have gotten a infection in the eye and died.
I know this is getting long but I guess i'm just looking on some general advice about chickens since I am fairly new with raising chickens. Is it this common to have all this issues with raising chickens in a year and a half with 13 chickens. Does older hens health really decline so much after only a few years old? could there be an underlying problem I am not addressing that could cause all these illness/deaths? I have not been able to find a link other than I got all these chickens from the same lady. I am starting to feel like I am a bad chicken owner even though most people I talk to do not do anything better than I do. any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!!