2 yr old chicken hasn't laid in 7 months and other problems...?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AaronK, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. AaronK

    AaronK Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2009
    Hi All!

    My 2 year old Red Star hen was once a wonderful layer. At about 6 months old she was attacked by a racoon or dog, but recovered quickly and laid very well afterward. Around last fall she went into what must have been her first molt and it was quite heavy. She has not laid since. She grew back her feathers, but then lost a bunch around the bottom of her breast and almost to her vent.

    Until a few days ago her demeanor was about normal, although we noticed that she didn't care much for treats or even bugs, just regular feed pellets. A few days ago we noticed the following:

    1. Her legs seem a little splayed
    2. Her comb ever so slightly darker than before
    3. Comb ever so slightly droopy, I'm talking hardly noticeable unless you look very carefully. It's about as droopy as our other Red Star hen's has always been, but this one's has always been very straight.
    4. She has been sitting more than usual during the day.
    5. We even saw her closing her eyes while sitting down... but then when i opened the door to their tractor she perked right up again as normal.
    6. Poop seems fine, appetite (at least for pellets!) seems fine, no thirstier than normal. Weather is 75-80ยบ F lately.
    7. We *have* noticed that we just developed a rat problem (!) - any connection?

    Anyway, I'm wondering if I'm seeing the early signs of this hen getting very sick, if there's anything I can do about it, and why she hasn't laid since her molt last fall. Any ideas?
     
  2. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    If you are just noticing that she may be sick, then this has been going on a while and she has been hiding it. Things to consider may be egg binding (tend to walk like a penguin and tuck tail), she may have a bad case of mites (but I would expect her comb to be pailer) or it may be some other obscure thing. Sometimes when hens gain a lot of weight it makes egg laying a problem.

    I hope someone else comes along with more ideas.
     
  3. Farmerboy16

    Farmerboy16 Rebuilding my Farm

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Sparta, MI
    Its sounds like when some of my hens have a egg bound issue, meaning a egg is stuck, and some of their cloaca comes out. It smells bad, and normally have infection. It is common with hatchery production hens, at least in my view. Sometime I help them pass the egg. Hopefully someone with better knowledge then me will help you.
     
  4. AaronK

    AaronK Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2009
    thanks for the reply. I wondered about egg binding - it seems that common symptoms for that are a droopy backside, lack of poop, and loss of appetite - and that egg binding can kill within days. This has been going on for months and she isn't droopy and poops fine. could it still be egg binding? Would the bound egg be visible from her vent? Her vent is closed and I can't see any sign of anything in there...?
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

  6. AaronK

    AaronK Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2009
    I just read about peritonitis for the first time. She HAS been going to the nest and not laying for months. Can this disease go on that long!??
     
  7. AaronK

    AaronK Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2009
    Cynthia - I've been reading those threads you linked to. I think i'll try penicillin, but is there any danger in giving it to her on the offchance that she *isn't* infected?
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    At this point, you have nothing to lose by trying penicillin. And a heavy dose, too, 3/4 cc to a full cc, once daily for 3-4 days in the breast muscle. I had one hen die after not laying for 8 months and one after 14 months. Yes, it can go on that long, especially if the hen was in really good health before the malfunction.
     
  9. AaronK

    AaronK Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2009
    about how far into the breast should I go with the needle (and what gauge needle?)? I don't want to poke anything important!

    also, I just finished reading about your poor Ivy. ugh, what a horrible thing to go through, all those ups and downs. poor thing.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You go into the meatiest part of the muscle, away from the keel bone (breast bone) and just enough that when you squeeze the plunger, the pen will inject into the hen and won't squirt outside her body, maybe 1/8". After you do this, you just have to wait and see if she begins perking up after a couple of weeks. If not, there really isn't anything you can do for her. Wish I had better news.


    Yes, Ivy fought the good fight for a very long time. She was a tough woman, as was my Olivia.
     

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