4 rescue hens 1 month no eggs, any advice please.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by georgeandmildredgoose, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. georgeandmildredgoose

    georgeandmildredgoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2011
    Gloucestershire UK
    new to keeping chickens, so any guidedance or help would be gratefully received.

    got 4 hens from a rescue, they had come from ex-battery type place, they were sold as having their first moult so i guess about 14mo?? their feathers were a bit patchy, pale floppy combs, a bit sad and sorry for themselves.

    after 2 days one dropped dead, it had been hunched and closing is eyes and off its food in the morning and by the eve, she had gone.

    got given a re-placement for that one. that was about a month ago now, 2 of the hens combs now have colour, look good.

    the other 2 are not so good, one seems very light to pick up, her comb is terribly pale, feathers look dull, and dirty around back end, she is lame also. the other has an old injury to her wing that i spotted whilst checking her over, its on the 'elbow' a deep cut, that looks like it has been trying to heal for some time, im spraying that with a wound spray to stop any maggotts. this hen also still has a floppy comb with some colour and dirty feathers!

    they are all eating layer pellets, a few scraps here and there, they are free range. they rush up to me for food and wander about quite happy.

    so far i have wormed them, frontlined them (for the lice), loved them kept them clean and as happy as i can. i wondered if they has diarrheoa but from looking at the pictures or normal poop, they dont seem to......

    the no eggs situation isnt really a concern for me, just want to do the right thing by them but what do people think?, if it doesnt sound very hopeful for them i would rather know now. [​IMG]

    thanks in advance.
  2. busyteacher

    busyteacher Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 31, 2011
    We had one that go a really pale comb at one point. We started putting an antibiotic in their water. I think it was called Tetramycin (I'm sure that is not spelled right). We got it from our local farm supply store. That helped our hen get better. Of course the others drank the water as well, but that was okay with us as it treated them in case whatever the other one had was contagious. Hope this helps.
  3. georgeandmildredgoose

    georgeandmildredgoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2011
    Gloucestershire UK
    thanks busyteacher, will look into that [​IMG]
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It may not be as bad as you think. Many combs flop. That just depends on the breed. The patchy feathers probably means they are molting. Whe they molt, they do not lay eggs. When a hen is not laying eggs, her comb is pale, not bright red. I don't know the exact conditions they came from, but if they left the artificial daylight of the laying house for a more natural life, the change on light could easily have triggered a molt. I would not expect a commercial operation to feed them through a molt and then sell them, but sell them long before they were finished with the molt. They were probably just starting the molt when you got them. These articles tell quite a bit about the molt, including how to tell what stage they are in and maybe whether they are fast or slow molters.

    Mississippi State describes molting

    Kansas State feather loss

    As far as feeding them, if they are not laying, they do not need the extra calcium in the Layer. It won't hurt them but they don't need it until they start to lay. Since you are free ranging them, they are going to eat a lot of other things anyway so you don't control all that they eat. You can continue to feed them Layer, can switch to Grower, Flock Raiser or something else if you wish, just offer oyster shell on the side if they want it when they do start to lay. What you are doing is fine though.

    I don't know what is going on with the light, lame one. Since they were battery hens I'd expect them to be a commercial layer breed or variety with a lot of Leghorn in them. Those are expecially bred to be small, lay a large egg, and have a good feed to egg ratio. In other words, more of what they eat goes to egg production because their small bodies don't reqqire that much food to maintain, not like the big dual purpose hens that have bigger bodies to maintain. So her being light is not a big deal. (Leghorns have floppy combs, by the way)

    But I am sure you mean light in comparison to the others, which is different. I've had hens that are light compared to some of the others in my dual purpose flock, so maybe it is not a big deal. I really don't know. But I suspect something could be wrong, probably something to do with her injury. Personally, I'd just let her keep going and see what a good diet and the fun and exercise she gets free ranging does for her. It won't hurt to give a round of antibiotics, but it may not help. And she may live a long happy life with you without the antibiotics. I hate giving antibiotics if I don't know exactly what I am treating, but in truth, a treatment given in accordance to the instructions won't hurt them.

    As for the one with the injury, I'd keep giving a local treatment like you are doing. It should heal up.
  5. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    pale comb could be worms or mites too.
  6. MOChickenz

    MOChickenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2010
    My ex-bat girls took a LONG time to get healthy. Months. Mine are white leghorns and their combs were pale and floppy, and they just looked crappy. A year later, they are exactly like my other chickens. They lay monstrous white eggs.
  7. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Bless you for adopting battery hens! I have a few hens that were healthy and in a good environment, and still took FOUR MONTHS to start laying after I added them to my flock. Good luck!
  8. georgeandmildredgoose

    georgeandmildredgoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2011
    Gloucestershire UK
    thankyou all for your kind words, information and help. its very reassuring to know that hopefully with time these sad and sorry hens will recover. it will be so worth all the hard work!! [​IMG]
  9. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] Hello chicken lover!

    Here's a couple things to try; #1 APPLE CIDER VINEGAR~ 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon added to your chicken's drinking water.

    #2 RAW OLD FASHIONED OATMEAL~ add 1 cup tp the daily feed or treats.

  10. Uniontown Poultry

    Uniontown Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Bless your heart for taking in Ex-Bats!! [​IMG]
    I only wish there were more opportunities for more of us to do the same!

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