depressed or in shock ? newbie in flock needs help but how ???


Mar 21, 2017
Few days ago I replied on an add where I noticed two hens of age unknown needed to be rehomed due the owner passed away .
I already have this breed so I wanted them to have the Marans (blaccoper ) no longer in minority .
Once I got there they seemed to be somewhat neglected , their both legs have the typical hard grey looking bulks everywhere from mites but they were for free so I planned to give them a try due curing them . Unfurtunately when I got home and placed both of them in the ' playpen ' while the rest of the flock walked around the pen i noticed one hen sitting with the head down , doing nothing at all , she did not drink , not eat , not even moved . As i wanted to check her a little bit in case of injured or sick I got shocked by her behavior , she started to keep on screaming as if she was on a battery ! sounded really bad , like a cat , crow , space crow space and she didn't even look at anything , all she did was staring and screaming , she was unresponsive as well , assuming that she was in shock , altough not knowing how , from who , from what in fact I placed her on a dark place and kept it warm , the strange part of that ? she kept going on as if she really was in some shock ! but her heartbeat stayed normal ? Once stopped I noticed she is having her comb quite purple and her head seems ' off ' , there is something wrong but i can't put my finger on it .
So now a few days have passed and I'm still looking at a hen that doesn't even move , is not responsive towards any flockmembers , she does lay eggs which is odd but even when another marans tried to get her moving and began to put food right under her nose , she just looks up for only one sec and doesn't reply anyhow , did call my vet on this case who claims the animal has been sevearly abused in the past or had the lowest rank and might have been bullied her entire life since he got informed how many chickens I've seen at that place , so just told him I had seen many chickens I couldn't count all together in a dark barn , he asked about how she was moved to my yard which has been by car in a dogcrate with some hey he said it couldn't be the reason , when the owner or seller scooped them up she also did not really show any weird symptoms but it was going fast , there was in my idea nothing wrong wih her but she did have the head down indeed and did scream once she got scooped up but i noticed the other one did the same so I didn't really see the issue .
Now to make this a bit shorter :
She is not responsive towards anyone / anything and I HAD to cropfeed her or she could have been death , ever since I did that she is even more depressed or in shock so if anyone can tell me what is going (wr) on(g) and how to deal with this please help me ( and so her ) out . I break my head on this and my vet also doesn't get it .
p.s. : fysical she is not having an illness ! no wounds , nothing ! what do I do with this chicken ? it kinda makes ME become depressed :(
That's too bad about the Hen...Possibly she and the other one you brought home are diseased?....
Chickens carry many types of disease that can be transferred to your original flock....Stress will trigger symptoms.....They should of been quarantined for a month before they ever got close to the other Birds....
Best wishes.....

Hi , thanks for the input here , I just putted here apart from the flock , she is now inside the house in an old rabbithutch , it is not big but it is good to keep clean and since she doesn't move at all , she has some area to walk but no she just keeps heaving her head down , looking sevearly depressed , I almost start to cry by this sight , I have taken some photographs now too , just in case she would die to have a small thing from her but she is not deseased , that is something I can say with a 100 % guarantee , my vet and I work together and each animal , no matter what kind , but especially birds are always in a check up once they arrive , he always knows it when I'm getting new animals introduced and this time too , called him once we got home with the two girls and he was already on his way because I texted him to say " yeay bagged and packed with two darlings that don't need to wait for a home anymore but it was not hygienic there , get ready for a visit !! '' so he did check both of them , both also have been given a few injections , one because they were very tensed and was added with calcium because he , and I knew the other one had to lay her egg , yet she was too stressed , another one for prevention and treatment in case , the last one has 3 functions , it is like when you get a tetanusinjection , includes also 2 other different anti deseases , same applies for that one , he also checked the legs and asked how they were kept , so obviously I couldn't say they were kept good , it was dry oké but the poop was EVERYWHERE and they were all stuffed on eachother ( all kinds of breeds ) plus they had to poop on eachother since they had only a plate to sit on and the nesting was just on the same height so all poop just got into the boxes , noticed here that they are used to fowling the nest , am trying to learn them not to poop in the layingboxes but they poop everywhere they want even in a bowl of food and yet still eat that so I assume you can imagine how ' clean ' they have lived in their whole life ... 1 of them has worms but I also give treatment for this and it is not the depressed one , however once 1 of them has something I just treat the entire flock as well / preventif ...

One thing I would like to add while I lifted her and putted her apart because I have never seen such behavior and I know it is not normal too ,
I approach her and talk to her on a normal soft tone that I just HAVE to remove her and that I even said " I know what it is like when you feel down girl but I have learned not to give up , so are you ready for some lessons ? " lol but approaching did not give any trouble at all , she just looks up for a sec and back to head down , she can perfectly hear me so she ain't deaf , so she was calm right , well I reach out for her to scoop her up , still fine , once I just TOUCHed her ? she screamed like a cat that gets killed ??? she just did NOT stop and even began to hyperventilate ! wow this is a serious reaction ! now the weirdest part ?? she kept going on and on , so I tried to hush her like before but it always fails on this one untill suddenly she started to calm down a bit , closed her eyes as I rubbed her under her ears and she ENJOYED it OBVIOUSLY enough BUT she still didn't wanna stop screaming and panicking , just kept going no matter what I did , I have bathed her ( actually it is supposed 2 be for their legs ) containing a strong disinfecting product and she was enjoying it tough still screaming as if being butchered , especially weird when I was drying her with the hairdryer , she LOVES it ! but still don't TOUCH her because she will keep on screaming , even if I accidently touched her back just slightly with the end of the towel she goes into some kind of shock ! also when another hen touches her she has NO problem with this but a hand from the one that feeds her seems to be a reason for her to go insane ? I'm now waiting on a phonecall from the owners as it was the husband I talked to on the phone but it seems it was the father of the wife that has died (the owner before they started to do all chickens away ) and I wanted to know how they were raised by him because obviously there are some huge changes in this chickens life that she doesn't see as good for her . They did say tough that if tomorrow this one is still like that they are willing to give me an extra chicken and I could choose between these for free ( they had a lot of black chickens especially orpington and marans ) but there are also other chickens available but they are not for free which is according to me a little bit strange since those are the same breeds too ? there was a buff orpington too i had interest in but she was already payed so I am starting to have doubts a bit , I do not point my finger towards anyone because I got no clue nor right to judge about people but considering how dirty they spended their lives in a dark area too crowded and a few got a different area which was a lot cleaner ? Really willing to answer their phonecall now ! just hope they do call back to me but taking another one , even for free ? I prefer to say no to that since I don't like to spend all my time on curing chickens and risking the existing flock to get something too , plus that if there really is something going on I rather call the animalrescuecenter and purchase a healthier and happy chicken paying more . keeping this up-to-date after I talked to the owner or any changes occured .

About culling her : I understand it would end her suffering but if it is not needed by giving her time and letting her know she is safe due some changes perhaps I am going to wait this out , you never know she could become better and certainly given the fact she is in a total new envirement I 'm not culling this one ( yet ?? ) and ofcourse if that seems to be the best option I'm sorry to say so , but I don't want to look at a chicken that even seems to be contagiously depressed no matter your efforts and I just don't want to have a chicken with a depression forced to live that way , if she is really depressed , ending her life would indeed be the best thing you can give her as this chicken doesn't even feel like going into defense towards anything , she just screams and lets her head and entire body down like '' whatever go ahead and kill me '' ( like in the humanbeing , depression and anxiety go hand in hand but way too often depression includes a deathwish :'( )
I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation. You say that you know she is not diseased "with 100% certainty". I just have to disagree with you. Even with a vet exam, there are some conditions that are not detectable until a necropsy is performed. You say the bird had worms, mites, and was living in deplorable conditions and is now lethargic, unresponsive and needs to be force fed. This screams of a bird whose immune system is likely compromised by something. Personally I would cull both these birds so you don't further risk the health of your flock, but then again I wouldn't have brought them in to my flock in the first place.
The thing is...All chickens carry diseases that one flock is immune to....They build immunity within that flock...Adding birds causes stress to the new birds and the existing flock...Which causes the disease to come out ...If your Birds were exposed to disease they do not carry they will get that disease because they have no immunity to it...

Do I make sense?.....

Best of luck.....
hi , ,

First of all I'm worried I can't express correctly in English because I know all above about deseases ( work with a vet for almost 12 y from which officially 8 ) , by healthy I mean she did not have any conditions as in sick , so don't take that letterly please , cant say it in english other than to say ' relatively ' but to the issue itself again : first of all the other hen is just fine and is happy , I'd not cull that one as she is very like any other chicken just happy and eats enough , drinks and lays TWO eggs daily untill now .yes she does !
about the weird one , I had contact with the daughter of the owner that died but ofcourse I asked her WHEN I could talk to her about this because of respect for the loss of her father but she told me in fact very much of her father and what could be the possible cause of the problem ... First of all , she asked me right away if there were any problems and when I told her ( just to spare her as much as I could with in fact just a minor problem when you lost a parent ) like 'euh well i don't know I just think they need to adapt perhaps or I don't know , perhaps they are way to much used of how they were taken off before they got to me actually " she just replied to that in quite some hard way " haha I would really doubt that they would ever have adapted to that and to be honest chickens are one of my favourite animals and have always been in my life too as I grew up but now I just don't wanna deal with it anymore , consider it some kind of time out " , so I didn't ask any further but just replied ' nice to hear that but are you able to say anything about their usual routine and food etc because well , yeah actually .... "
She already knew there was a problem because she said to me that she first of all liked to express the fact she didn't take care of them but her father plus " and I broke all contact with him for a good reason so being back here at the barn is not what I like right now and that is also why I want them gone AFTER ALL THEY V BEEN TROUGH I THINK THAT IS KINDA FAIR TO THEM " (!!!) she apologized in case there was a problem and suggested to take another one and to observe that one first in its behavior but not just ONE other , both of them gone and back to them to try two new hens , I did say thanks but I want to keep the other one , it is just one that has a problem and to be honest , the two I picked out were the only two having legs that are still good enough to get the mites of but the others not or it is a breed that you only have for sale and the other breeds just don't fit in my flock I wished for .
Now she is willing to give me another breed which was for sale on half the price but I'm just thinking about not taking any other hen from there and just bringing this one back . Also note : " my dad saw them only as a ''thing '' and when they layed their egg in the morning he could not stand their noises , imagine yourself as a kid on a big house with lots of animals yet you get your favourite animals daily missing and in the evenings you know you just ate them while even he did not have the guts to slide their trhoats , our mom did all that cleaning but he ? not once in his life did he do what they call ' humanly ' sorry to have bothered you with a chicken like that I believed they were better off ", we had in fact a very long conversation but I'm not going tu put it all here , she has letted me know the father seemed to have grabbed them everywhere you just don't touch a chicken like that ( tailfeathers , their backs , necks ..... horrorstory goes on on the list ) but especially his morning attitude is probably the most disturbing part , I do not wish to speak bad about the dead but honestly these chickens endured a lifetime of nothing but anxiety and pain , grieve , sadness ....

BTW : she has stopped screaming and did eat for the first time , altough it was not much , I also tried to lift her up but that seems to be a step way too far for her altough she HAS to adapt herself to the fact she has to be lifted up for a GOOD reason and has to learn to get that too , I am not that man , I am me and this is what she needs to learn now , also vegetables is something new for her but she has no problem since that was the first thing she now ate . My vet claims that each time she starts to go insane again if I lift her up I have to go on a 3-way method like this :
1. don't ignore it like usually but keep her close to the body (under arm is fine ) and just lift her head up each time she lets it down , she becomes numb of anxiety and it could go wrong , hushing her is not an option he says as the chicken feels rewarded in case she starts to understand it but taking a blanket and covering her eyes yet holding her untill she has stopped the screaming
2. if she has not stopped screaming after a few minutes as fast as possible a dark room , not too comfortable either for the following ;
a. if comfortable she will indeed feel safe but keep on going with screaming anytime she wants in there , secondly it has to be a small space like half the size of a broodycoop , that should calm her down by giving a safe feeling yet also creating boredom and discomfort so she won't get eager to go in there and call it ' the new punishmentcoop ' , if she starts to do this a second time , third time , you need to threaten her with words as they can remember and even put links , by saying on just an adequate soft tone " stop or it is going to be the punishmentcoop for you '' , each time she continues she has to be moved to that place , and according to him she will link the words you said before on where you putted here and
3. normally she will stop by herself the more time she has spend here noticing I'm not treating here like a thing nor mistreating her so contact should be regular but movements a little bit slower then I'm used to and the punishmentcoop shouldn't be used too long as she might start to feel the need to get in just to feel safe , even when she feels discomfort , therefor ignoring her for a few minutes and right in front of her being busy with other chickens should help in her case as she can notice then with own eyes and ears that the chickens are even running TOWARDS me and not FROM me , wherefrom a few are so tame they get on your lap , once she has captured this and approaching her the same way , the problem should ( I said should because he said should ) slowly go away and she will be able to let herself lifted up etc yet she won't become like another ' petty ' chicken .
If all written above doesn't work , he says it is best to bring it back or indeed to cull her as this is disturbed behavior and she suffers anxiety - panic-attacks caused by many traumatic things in her life , her age is probably about 3 y too so if this doesn't work she indeed gets culled as we are also talking about an older chicken which is not going to lay a lot of eggs anymore , secondly she would affect the entire neighbourhood , my feel good can go away and same applies for all other chickens here or she would get bullied anyway and last but not least we are still talking about ' free animals where she got those awesome mite-chalklegs from what is costing me , in fact a lot given what she is giving ME in return . To be continued ! ( with photographs if anyone could PM me how to make sure a photobucket photoalbum is entirely private ? :D ) I also like to thank all the brains here thinking with me !

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