depressed, picked-on, laying without shell- please help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by meli229, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. meli229

    meli229 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 7, 2011
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    This is my first post, I'm so glad I found this site!

    I have an Arucana mix hen that is seems depressed, is a loner compared to the other hens, and has layed a few eggs without shells. I'm getting concerned.

    Some background: I got 5 hens as pullets, and was told they were about 3 months old. I have a hen house, an outdoor pen then spend the weekdays in, and I let them roam the greater yard on weekends and days I get home early. She was the first to lay, in late November, and gave us one perfect blue egg. The next day, there was an egg that looks like it didn't have a shell. The week of so after that she stood around with her eyes closed and looked constipated. The other 4 hens have all started to lay daily with no egg-shell problems, and all act normal.

    Since the first egg, she has constantly looked depressed, she is picked on by the rest of the hens, and at night doesn't sit on the roost but on the floor. About a week ago, we got one more deformed shell-less egg. She doesn't rush to the green table scraps we throw them, and just stands in the middle of the yard when I let them out.

    I'm feeding them high-quality organic pellets, mixed with oyster shells and some scratch.

    Any advice on what to do, or what is wrong with her, is greatly appreciated!

    -melissa
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    First of all let me say ..[​IMG] now i am sorry your hen is having problems, sometimes when they start to lay it takes a while for them to work out the kinks, thats why you may see a shell-less egg or deformed one. But if this has been going on for a while then I would be concerned that this is a serious internal problem, you say they are eating a good quality pellets with oyster shell, thats good. Now she could be an internal layer which means the eggs are developing but are staying inside of her, the only way you'll know for sure is a vet visit. Does her tummy look swollen or feel hot like infection? You really should put here into a large dog crate or something like that to get her away from the rest of the flock, they can be merciless especially when one is down. There are antibiotics you can give if infection, I am not sure which ones would have to do some research, she needs so extra care right now till you can figure out whats going on. Sorry I can't be of more help. It would be a good idea to google search internal layer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  3. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

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    [​IMG]

    Miss L is right about making sure that she isn't injured or ill - and maybe put her by herself for a while. As for the shells, that happens at first. I wouldn't be alarmed just yet, as long as you see all of the shell in whatever form it takes so you know nothing has broken inside of her. I have a hen who is a loner... she get's picked on and is by far the homeliest of the bunch, "Marla Hooch" my absolute favorite hen. When it get's particularly rough for her, I bring her in, put her in a dog crate where it's warm, and give her warm oatmeal with a bunch of goodies in it. She seems to go back into the bunch feeling quite special.

    Good Luck!
     
  4. meli229

    meli229 Out Of The Brooder

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    Santa Rosa
    Thank you very much for the advice! I would be willing to take her to a vet...but I can't say I've ever done that before with chickens, just my cat for getting spayed.

    Is there a particular type of vet that handles poultry?
     
  5. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

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    Yes there is - look for an "Avian" vet... there are some that specialize in poultry especially, depending where you live.
     
  6. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there -- nice to meet you and [​IMG]. Your hen is probably fine, in terms of her egg-laying gear. If she were egg-bound she would be displaying deep distress signs by now.

    I have an EE who's an outsider too -- breaks my heart. The problem with putting her by herself for a while is that she might end up even more of an outside. You might separate her with a "friend", one of your gentler hens who isn't likely to beat her up. If you can help her bond with somebody she'll be happier.

    Right now, in the middle of winter, the days are very short. Easter Eggers are not especially production birds. She just got started laying when winter set in. She should start laying again when the days get noticably longer and the temperature rise comfortably.

    Are you feeding them layer crumbles? Do they get any greens? Any proteins (tuna/beans/eggs)? Are there fats available -- nuts, suet, bacon?

    Good luck with her. Let us know how she does.

    Jenny
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Some how we've missed the part about her standing around with her eyes closed looking depressed, This could be many things but I think she needs to look into other problems since she's not eating and and just standing around which isn't normal chicken stuff. Santacruzsugar does she stand with her tail up? you said she doesn't come out and eat when you bring out table scraps, how about her regular food is she eating and drinking good? I think if she was just having a little problem getting her egg working equipment in order she wouldn't have these other symptoms, and chickens know when one of their own isn't well and will pick on them. Some vets will treat chickens if they treat other livestock, so maybe it won't have to be just an avian vet, check around, in our area we have a vet that treats all livestock. and please let us know how is is doing.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  8. meli229

    meli229 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sadly, no magical cures overnight, but she doesn't look worse than normal!

    Answers to the feed questions: I have a feeder that is always full with the lay pellets and mixed with the oyster shells and some scratch. I also have a hanging water. I will throw them out any of my non-meat or dairy table scraps, mostly from cooking, and usually is made of greens and veggie peelings. Sometimes there will be bread or grains. We throw out handfuls of the scratch and oyster on the ground a few times a week so they have stuff to scratch at. They get to go outside their pen at least once a week, and have plentiful access to bugs and worms.

    The hen in question (who we call February) has little interest in the morning scraps, even if I try to put some near her so she won't have to compete with the masses, but I have seen her eat and drink from the feeder. On the outside time, she sometimes is more adventurous and will scratch and get bugs, but other times she just stands there.

    Her tail doesn't seem to be down, particularly, but she has lost tail feathers due to the others bullying. She really just stands around all puffed up and never upright, usually alone from the group. She also never makes any noise. The others always great me at their gate making a commotion and ready for their scraps.

    When we got her, she made cheep-cheep noises like a chick, while the others were clucking. I thought she was the youngest and was so surprised when she was the first egg. Is it possible she wasn't ready to lay yet, but did, and is now hurt inside from straining herself? Would something like that last 3 months?

    Since its been a while, and shes not getting worse, I'm going to try to bring her inside (along with the Ostrolorp, named March, because I've never seen her pecking on February) and she if she gets 'happier'. If that doesn't work, I'll consult a vet. My neighborhood email group provided me with several names locally.

    Thanks to all who are concerned! What a great forum group!
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Glad to hear she's no worse. Having her inside will help alot with you being able to watch her more closely and to have a friend will be good also. I don't want to worry you needlessly but I would be concerned if she were mine. See how she does inside away from the bullies. Have you ever wormed them? If they have been on the ground at all they have been exposed to worms. Please keep us updated. All the best.[​IMG]
     
  10. Zoey

    Zoey Out Of The Brooder

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    she could have a respiratory infection, being bullied away from the feed, and green poo, suggests she isn't eating .. ( when they start starving they easily catch things )

    I would separate her, and feed her layer pellets, with the exception you add a little hot water, and make it crumbly, serve it warm to her, and even perhaps put a tablespoon of youghert in it .

    If you get her eating again she may come around . Feel down her breast bone , is it meaty on both sides , or is the bone sticking out like a handle ? if so she is emaciated .. feeding her separately will help loads.. ( feel some other chcikens first to see if she is skinny )

    Generally don't mix the oystter shell into the feed, offer it separately, they will take what they need, too much calcium isn't good either, can injure their kidneys .. they know what they need.

    Also offer 2 hanging feeders, offering more than 1 place to eat often helps with the bullying ...
     

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