caring for the aging hen..what is best?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jenni22776rn, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2011
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    My RIR who I believe to be approx 5 years old is showing some signs of aging...I rescued her last fall and she has been doing great..was the queen hen up until 3 weeks ago when we had to start fencing up the crew all together after a fox attack. Her and my other 2 adult hens and one roo were always free range and my RIR Gretta was the lead hen..always laid an egg a day and was the one that put the other ladies in their place. 3 weeks ago we had a fox attack with the fox returning being able to snatch the chickens next door multiple times..In fear that she would return for my Roo that got away..we had to put everyone together. My 6 younger teenager chickens are now with the adult hens...they have been togther when I let them free range supervised but now that they are all together in one HUGE run..Gretta seems older. She is not really the boss anymore and just seems like she is depressed..has not laid in 2 days. I know she is at least 5 years old if not older..I checked her vent last night in case she may be egg bound but did not feel anything, She is eating and drinking great and still comes to me for treats but something just is off with her...she just seems like her personality is shrinking...I feel bad I know she loved free ranging. Could it be the Rooster that bothers her? Gretta was the last of a flock of 12..was left alone to fend fer herself and was kind of left to die when I rescued her...she acted like the rooster up until we got our roo..I am ok with the no egg laying..I just want her to have a healthy happy life...how do you care for a aging chicken? Does the diet change? Should I seperate her in another run with my other 2 adult hens.away from the roo and younger chickens? They were all together free ranging and were the "bad girls club" as the DH like to call them! I would love to free range them again but with the fox knowing they are there..I know I will lose them within a day or so...what to do? Will she adapt to the change? I have only had chickens since last november when Gretta was my first...I hate the thought of her being depressed..am I crazy?
     
  2. Pickaduck

    Pickaduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think you are crazy at all! I think she may be a little depressed from not being able to free range but she will get adjusted it just takes a little time. Obviously you are doing the right thing to keep her safe since there's no way to keep the fox away from them when they free range.

    I would consider putting her in with the two adult hens. Just like in dogs (and people) it's harder sometimes for the "elderly" to put up with being around the younger, more energetic ones so it might be more peaceful for her with the two adult hens. And it would give her space from the roo as well if you are concerned about it.

    I think if she's eating and drinking normally and is interested in treats then she's physically healthy. It just might take time to adjust. I think it's great that you are concerned and I hope it all improves soon!
     
  3. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks....nice to hear that I am not crazy! I think I will place her in another run..see how that works for her...
     
  4. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think she has come to the end of her laying cycle at 5 yrs old. My oldest bird in my flock is 6 yrs old and I haven't gotten an egg from her in ages. I don't do anything special for her or change her diet. She still free ranges during the day and gets herself on the roost at night but in the morning because the roost is soo high up she requires a ride down to the floor every morning, if I forget she stays on the roost all day which is not healthy. Your girl may get even more dperessed when you seperate her from the others she is used to so I would just let her be where she is and keep a close eye on her.
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a 6 year old hen who still lays me a few (incredibly ugly and wrinkled) eggs a week. I don't treat her any differently then the rest of the flock and she's in great shape. Chickens are creatures of habit, and the slightest change in routine can throw them off. You've had to take away their free range time, and its something they're used to. With a fox lurking, you're just doing what's best. Give them time, they will adjust. If you still feel guilty, let them out for some supervised free range time and keep a sharp eye out for trouble. Good luck!
     
  6. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2011
    Central Maine
    This is day # 4 with no egg from Miss Gretta..I am sad to think she is aging...how long do they live once they stop laying eggs? She seems better today but I think that I am going to take the advice and allow them to free range when we are out with them...supervised only. I think she will feel better once that happens..I hope [​IMG] She was the one that started the whole chicken world for me...I hate the way that she was treated and forgotten and left to die so I try really hard to make up for her lack of a life before coming to our home....I gave her a treat of scrmbled eggs today she held her for a while..then I saw her put on of the teenagers in their place..was glad to see that!! Thanks for the advice..I will see how it goes!
    [​IMG]
     
  7. ramirezframing

    ramirezframing Overrun With Chickens

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    My lakenvelder hen is 10 yrs old at the youngest, and has just stopped laying eggs in the past few weeks. I don't do anything different fr her. but last year she lost her sister ( these two were peas in a pod), and she seemed depressed for a while and than went on her way. Good luck [​IMG]
     
  8. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2011
    Central Maine
    Well...Miss Gretta is laying again!! An egg every day this week and she seems to be back to her old bossy self! I think she just needed some time to get used to having everyone together and not being able to free range! I also have spent alot of extra time with her giving her first pick of the treats and not letting the younger ones near her when it is snack time! Thanks so much for all the advice everyone! [​IMG]
     

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