a minor concern with my alpha-hen...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by smnytx, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. smnytx

    smnytx Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2007
    Hi, all - I need some information and perhaps reassurance that my hen is OK. Here's the scoop (with all the required information)

    1) She's a RIR, seven months or so, and has been laying for 6+ weeks.

    2) She's had weird poops and weird eggs. The poops are black and tarry looking, and the last two eggs have been "off." Usually, her eggs are a rich brown color, and somewhat torpedo shaped, and she usually lays them in the nest box. Yesterday's egg, however, was found in the corner of the sleeping roost, and was sort of bleached looking and rough to the touch. I didn't see today's egg, but my husband says is was soft and sort of "waterlogged" looking, and also laid in the roosting area instead of the nest box.

    3) Her appetite and behavior are all the same as usual. This is the hen that thinks she's the boss (she'll challenge us if we pet the other two hens when they're acting submissive). She tries to bully my smallest child (biting/pecking).

    4) She lives in the exact same circumstances as our other hens. She has been caught a few times pecking at a peeling label on a utility box in the corner of our yard. Also, she and the others have been caught digging through my vegetable beds, which may have some of those soil amendments (those tiny fertilizer balls and/or styrofoam pellets) - I have no idea if she's ingested anything weird.

    5) She appears to eat and drink like normal. She gets crumbles, and at least an hour a day in the yard eating bugs, weeds, and whatever else she can find.

    6) Her poop is very black, shiny, and soft/runny.

    7) I haven't administered any treatment.

    8 ) I would like to know if this is something to be concerned about. My preference would be to treat it myself if at all possible. I have no idea about whether there's a vet that treats chickens nearby!

    9) Should I post a picture of the poop? It's just like I describe it... but I'll take a picture if it's necessary.

    10) My three hens live in an a-frame chicken tractor - the downstairs sits on grass (yes, it gets poopy there at times, so we move it every 5 - 8 days). The area downstairs is about 5x6 feet (30 square feet for the three of them). There is a cedar 2x4 that they can stand on if they want to be off the grass. They have aspen shavings for their bedding - I usually put down a light layer and then cover the poop with more until it gets pretty deep - then I shovel it all out and start over. The water is rinsed and changed daily. As I said, they're out of the tractor one to two times a day, usually for at least an hour total (some days more, some less).

    I am working on converting our entire side yard to a chicken run... but that may take several more weeks...

    Thanks in advance for reading - I appreciate any feedback.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2008
  2. chickflick

    chickflick Overrun With Chickens

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    Dimondale
    [​IMG] I'm sorry I can't help you, but this will bump it up so maybe some one will come along that knows more.
     
  3. smnytx

    smnytx Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2007
    Thanks - I'm bumping again... hopefully tomorrow, her eggs will be back to normal. Two days of weird eggs may have nothing to do with her ugly poops, anyway!
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    For the eggs, does she have free choice oyster shell to eat?
     
  5. smnytx

    smnytx Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2007
    no - I think our grit is crushed granite. Should I look for the oyster shell?

    If this is the issue - why is this the only chicken with the poop and egg problems? They all get the same stuff...
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Not sure about the poop, but if she is alpha hen, she could be getting a disproportionate amount of treats so her ratio of chicken ration isn't high enough for her to get the calcium out of it, since it's formulated to be "perfect" for hens who only eat the feed. Too much treats could make her poo look different too. Her metabolism can also be a bit different from the rest. I tend not to worry about poo appearances unless the birds become droopy, or look sick or show other symptoms.
     
  7. smnytx

    smnytx Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2007
    Thank you so much... that makes a lot of sense. I'll take a peek for some oyster shell for her.
     
  8. ChickadeeLover

    ChickadeeLover Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2008
    Good Luck! I hope your hen is okay! [​IMG]
     

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