Depression, Broodiness, or Disease?

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,287
26,751
932
Germany
Hello!
A friend of ours has recently given us 4 silkies that they couldn't keep due to HOA regulations. They are all hens, and we have had them in quarantine in our garage for about 3 weeks now. We were planning on moving them out into the coop soon, but that of course is easier said than done. However, recently one of the hens has started to not act right. She just sits down all day.
She isn't sitting on any eggs, and when given an egg in front of her she doesn't push it under herself. We think this is most likely depressed, but we don't know for sure / what to do about it.
When we pick her up and place her outside or in the coop, she gets up and does normal chicken things; starting off with the biggest poop you've ever seen. Once we put her back in the garage, she goes back to being a slouch.
Believe me, we are not wanting to torment these birds, but we didn't want to risk infecting our flock. At the same time we really underestimated how difficult it would be to move them into the coop.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  • She might be suffering from lack of sunlight, as this leads to hurting and weak bones.
  • Another possibility would be lice or mites, internal parasites such as worms or coccidia.
  • And last but not least: Does she or any of the other Silkies have overgrown head feathers compromising her free view? If so, she might be starving. Silkies and Polish often face this problem caused by overgrown crests and /or muffs and beards.
 

Phantom_k9

Songster
Oct 29, 2019
283
249
146
North Texas
My Coop
My Coop
Does she growl or fluff up if you reach at her or under her when she's laying down?

Have you checked her crop to see if it's full at night and empty in the morning?

Has she layed any eggs since she's been with you?

Chickens aren't real great with change, so it may just be that she's trying to adjust. The fact that she's laying down, pooping once a day, acting normal outside - she does sound broody. How old are they? Can you post a picture of her?
She doesn't get all protective when I reach under her, and I am pretty sure she has laid eggs but I have no way to know if she has recently. I have not checked her crop at night or in the morning. I'll see if I can get a picture of her here in a few.

One thing most people totally forget about when keeping chickens confined indoors is grit. Lack of grit will depress digestive functions, and a chicken that is experiencing slowed crop and gizzard function will appear depressed. Depression in chickens usually has physical causes.

Lack of natural sunlight can affect the ability to absorb calcium, resulting in reproductive issues. That can definitely depress a chicken.

If your flock is standard breeds, your new Silkies may have an integration problem due to their size and being strangers. They will need protection when you introduce them to the flock. It could take several weeks for them to integrate. The best solution is to provide them with a safe enclosure within the run so they can integrate safely.
I have not even thought about grit! Grit has always been that one thing I sorta forget about... Our free range birds do just fine, and our indoor birds get some when we let them out at night. But I haven't thought to give the silkies grit. I'll try that when I go out to them and see if she improves over the next few days.
Concerning introducing, I am planning to move their store bought coop into our coop, and allow our indoor birds to get acquainted. We tried just letting everyone mingle yesterday, and our indoor birds had no idea what they were looking at! I swear they acted as if these were aliens!

  • She might be suffering from lack of sunlight, as this leads to hurting and weak bones.
  • Another possibility would be lice or mites, internal parasites such as worms or coccidia.
  • And last but not least: Does she or any of the other Silkies have overgrown head feathers compromising her free view? If so, she might be starving. Silkies and Polish often face this problem caused by overgrown crests and /or muffs and beards.
If anything I would bet the lack of sunlight is the issue. She doesn't have any mites / lice that I can find, nor do I believe she has worms. We are going to de worm the whole flock soon, so if anything that will probably help. She has given me no symptoms of any of the usual chicken diseases, hence my confusion.
Also, the silkies crest feathers haven't caused them issues. Their feathers haven't grown a lot since we have gotten them, and as far as I can tell they have never had issues. The bird in question just walked straight to some water and didn't seem to have any issues finding it (after we moved them outside).
 

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