New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Possible nutrition/vitamin deficiency

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My 5 hens were free rangers (with grain supplements) for 2.5 years. Then they ended up having to be penned. They have been  in a 16'X16' pen with a coop. There is grass in there through late fall but it is gone by then. They will be 5 years in July and only one hen lays regularly. The others never started back up laying  in the spring of 2013....4 or the 5 have never laid an egg since (no , this was 1-2 here and there once in a while) Their health has been very good (they are pets). Jan 2015 they have been penned with food provided by me no free range. They still eat layer crumbles and a bit of scratch and black oil sunflower seed. I supplement with dried mealworms, and fresh greens either from the grocer or if possible what I harvest. Unfortunately, they have lost some weight and I lost one hen 5 days ago. She was very heavy compared to the others and I suspect a tumor. Now I have a second hen (both are buff orps) who seems to be going downhill. She actually stands and walks like a penguin. Her legs seem to not hold her weight. She is not excessively heavy like the other. She is drinking a LOT and I do mean a LOT of water. One day she'll seem more alert and moving around more and pecking and talking, then the next day weak and not eating. Everyday I think I'll find her dead in the coop but there she is. She has not enough strength to get in the coop in the eve so I put her in and make her comfy. No poo...all watery non smelly stuff. She also last week had a few days of spitting up yellow watery fluid.  I fear she is on her way out........

 

My question is could this hen or even both hens, perhaps be having issues from nutrition? Or did they pick up a fungus or bacteria from their pen? Right now there is a bale of straw that was spread around the ground to keep them from standing in cold muddy spots and that straw is of course wet from winter. Did they maybe scratch and eat something nasty?

 

Any ideas?

post #2 of 6
I am sorry your hens are ill. This is not a nutritional deficiency issue from what I can see as what you are feeding is more than adequate.

The one hen sounds like she is either egg bound (typical penguin stance) or possibly has an internal injury or even cancer.

You didn't mention if you have ever wormed your hens. An overload of internal and/or external parasites can cause lethargy, lack of laying, poor thrift and even death, especially as birds age.

You don't mention all the breeds you have, but I am assuming typical feed store layer types. Most breeds lay best the first two years then slow after each molt. Five years is an older layer when most are giving only two or so eggs a week. Your egg production would generally be noticeably slower now with older birds, but overall parasite load can impact that too.

While some report long lived birds, the truth is most commercial hatchery stock layer breeds tend to live 5 to 7 years of age. They often succumb to ovarian cancer, internal tumors, liver failure, or some other condition of aging, or succumb to disease as their older immune systems no longer protect them well.

If you have the odd bird die with no coughing, sneezing, runny eyes or nose, no paralysis, or skin lesions, who is an older bird, chances are it is an internal aging issue if otherwise normal conditions.

If you haven't, worm all. You might consider a round of antibiotics for the sick bird and check her for egg binding. Look closely at everyone's poo. You should also consider coccidiosis as they have been confined more.

And for some, there is nothing that can be done but make them comfortable until they pass if it is age related.

My thoughts
LofMc
Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
Reply
Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
Reply
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 


Thanks so very, very much for the reply. Great info. this sick chicken has not laid and egg for more than 2 years so I really don't think she is egg bound. I wormed them once this past late summer but the wormer I had came from tractor supply and they actually had nothing for chickens other than this one packet of pellets that you are supposed to mix "x" number of oz. with 100 pounds of feed ( ?????) Heck I have 5 birds!!  So I mixed a small amount in with their food and gave only that small amount of food till they ate it and then put their regular food down. I saw no difference I them or their poo so I don't know if it did anything. I will go online to find a better product. Do you or anyone have recommendations for a product they use for small flocks (5!) that they know works well???

 

As for coccidiosis, they are inside a lot more, but their coop is very clean...because there are so few birds it is easy to clean completely. I shovel everything out clear down to the wooden base (the coop stands about 3 feet off the ground) and they get fresh shavings every 2 weeks or so....if it starts to get damp in there  it gets emptied and refreshed.....and there is good ventilation. so I won't think that would be an issue.

 

It may simply be age. They're soon to be 5yrs old. My first loss I feel pretty certain was a tumor probably on her reproductive tract.....but this girl.......just this morning she got up when I opened the big doors (she does not get up on the roost the past week or more) and she then jumped up onto the top of the laying box...then jumped down and pecked around the greens I put down then went to drink some water....but she was alert and not walking like a penguin today. Whatever if affecting her it comes and goes...good days bad bad days!  Sheesh chickens are worse than children!!

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 


You don't mention all the breeds you have, but I am assuming typical feed store layer types.
I have buff orppingtons and silver lave wyandottes. My buffys are the ones that have been sick. The silvers are like wart hogs! Nothing phases them!
post #5 of 6

Probably just a toss of the genes then...or the Buff Orps didn't get vaccinated at hatchery and are exhibiting slow growth tumors from Mareks. There are too many options to list of why.

 

Usually it is simply genetic vigor, and some lines have it and others don't. I couldn't keep a SLW or GLW chick alive one year from feed store purchases, while my Buff Wyandottes (from a breeder) were hardy and healthy until I sold them several years later.

 

LofMc

Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
Reply
Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 


I think I may agree with perhaps the non-vaccination issue. I have two Buff Orps that got sick close around the same time. One has passed away a week ago and based on what I felt in her innards I would say that tumors were the culprit. Now this 2nd Buff.....she seems to have the same symptoms other than she is walking like a penguin and the dead one wasn't. She is interested in food and water....she seems to be drinking way more than usual. She is poo-ing though it looks like regular wild bird poo and not the blobs that my birds usually dump......perhaps because she is eating but just not a lot of food.  However, on Friday last week I laid her on her back to palpate her tummy and as soon as I laid her over I could actually SEE lumps in her. I felt around and she  seems to have hard lumps all through her belly. The hardest and largest is up very high almost along side her thigh on her left side. It is about the size of a "Silly Putty" egg (if you know what that is!) I was thinking possible reproductive tumors but this is really high up her torso. There are other lumps and they are lower...and the fact that I have two birds that are the same age and having very similar issues......really makes me think reproductive tumors. Plus all my hens stopped laying at the same time. When spring rolled around in 2014 no one started laying after the winter's short days had passed....until about 5 months later and ONE bird began laying in August 2014 and has continued for the most part to do so. None of the other Buffs and none of the Wyandottes every laid another egg. That was 2 years ago...and no eggs from them. SO perhaps these hens started to hormone up and egg production started to kick in again, but because they have not laid in 2 years and they are almost 5 years old, their systems are messed up and they are unable to laid the eggs and this is wreaking havoc on their innards....and it is eventually leading them to death. Could that be it?  Has anyone seen something like that happen before with the stoppage of egg production and then years later it trying to start again and it killing the hen?????

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home