Advice for a possibly sick chicken (or is it just a new mum thing?)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Isobelm, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Isobelm

    Isobelm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2015
    Canberra, Australia
    Hi all,

    I've recently purchased my first lot of fertile eggs to put under broody hens. One of my chickens sitting on the clutch for 4 weeks. Another went broody in this time and has been sitting for 2 weeks (they were sharing the eggs).

    2 chickens have hatched and the one who has been sitting for 2 weeks is now mothering them, but I'm a little concerned. She has green diarrhoea which in my googling I have found could be dehydration? There's plenty of fresh water for her and the chicks, but I also noticed that every time the hen drinks, she just drops it all on the ground. At first I thought she was softening up food for the chicks because they were coming and eating from it afterward, but now with the diarrhoea, I'm getting concerned.

    Of lesser concern (but I'm still getting worried) the other hen has been sitting for almost 5 weeks now. There's still one egg that hasn't hatched, but I floated it and according to the results there's a live chick in there. I thought I'd wait it out an extra week to see if it hatches, but I'm worried about the health of the chicken - and her stubbornness if nothing hatches. Should I try and kick her off the nest or should she be alright for a little while longer?

    Any advice/suggestions on either issue would be much appreciated! I've tried searching through past posts, but haven't come upon anything that sounds like what I'm experiencing.

    Thanks so much to everyone here for being such a great resource for a new chicken owner!
     
  2. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So presumably some of the eggs DID hatch and she has chicks running around with the other hen? And the setting hen has no chicks?

    Standard chicken eggs should hatch at around 21 days, a day or two extra is okay but it doesn't take an extra week most especially if all of the other eggs started at the same time have hatched.

    How may days have these eggs been incubated?

    If it is determined that none of the eggs are viable then personally I would try to find some day old chicks and graft them onto the broody at night. Doesn't seem fair that the other hen got two live chicks and this broody gets nothing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  3. Isobelm

    Isobelm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2015
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    Hi Sonya9,

    There were 3 eggs and two broody hens. 2 eggs have hatched and one hen left the nest with them, but 1 is left, with the original broody hen. I had a look around on forums and quite a few people have said they had eggs hatch at up to 28 days, especially if they had hens 'time sharing' the eggs. To do with the temperature not being as constant or something along those lines. I'm not fussed if it doesn't hatch, but don't want to risk the hen fading away. She seems to have lost quite a lot of weight already.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  4. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you candle the egg? If the other two hatched and this egg is more than 2 days behind I would expect it is dead. Candling with an LED flash light will often show if it is a lost cause.

    If you see a black blotch (dead blood) or a clear egg (like the ones i the fridge) it is a lost cause. A fully developed chick makes the entire egg look solid back with a large air cell on the wide end. If you put the egg in a dish and watch it very carefully you should also see movement at this stage.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  5. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In the morning check the crop of the hen that is dropping the water. Her crop could be impacted, which would explain dehydration. Her crop should be empty each morning. If not empty she has a problem.

    Your other hen sitting for 5 weeks: Did any of those eggs hatch? Eggs take 3 weeks to hatch. Some may hatch 2-3 days late, and that's the latest in my experience. None will ever hatch at 5 weeks. Get her off the nest ASAP.
     
  6. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Or buy her newly hatched chicks and graft them asap.

    I had a hard time understanding the story too, 2 hens were sitting on 3 eggs in one nest. 2 eggs hatched and the one broody is raising the two chicks, the other broody is trying to hatch the last egg.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  7. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great idea. That way she has something for all her effort.
     
  8. Isobelm

    Isobelm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2015
    Canberra, Australia
    I did try candling with my mag light, but the light didn't show through. I couldn't get a room dark enough (it was the middle of the day when the hen hoped off the nest for a feed). The float test seemed to show the egg was fertile though. This egg is also a different breed to the two that have already hatched. I don't know if that makes any difference. It's a polish.
     
  9. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many days has it been? If it is more than 23 days I really don't think the breed matters, all of the eggs were kept at the same temp. Now a different species might take a longer time. Also it is easiest to candle at night in a pitch black coop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  10. Isobelm

    Isobelm Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah.. sorry. They're a complicated flock of hens!! When I tried moving the original hen away from the flock, she destroyed 3 eggs (I originally had 6), and refused to sit on the rest, but when I returned her to the coop she continued to sit! So I just left her in there. Then another hen went broody. I only have one nesting box so I just let them figure it out themselves. They have managed alright so far.
     

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