Do I have a sick hen?

BCF hens

8 Years
Mar 1, 2011
Not sure if I have a sick hen or not.

My flock is 1 red star, 1 black star (both same age roughly) and a RIR about 2 years old. The red and RIR are both fine.

My black star who is about 30-32 weeks of age has been fine and laying regularly until about 8 weeks she just stopped laying. Seems she did not like the avia charge in the water is all I can figure and got a bit dehydrated (?). I corrected that. about a week goes by and she starts laying small clear softy eggs and then is back to normal eggs again.

About 4 weeks ago, she slows down and seems to go broody. she would not get off the next for hours so i went and moved it so she could not go in. that made her mad. for the next few eves I block it so she can't go in at night and open back up in the morning for the others to lay their eggs.

Ever since this she seems lost, listless, no really eating much and not very social with the other 2 like before. Here poop seems to be fine as in green, solid (not diarrhea) with white top. She sits apart from the others neck hunched in and tail down all fluffed up (see picture below) but if I go around her she walks around as normal. Not sure how here laying is so I am trying to monitor.

here is a picture of here:

Is she broody? Is this behavior normal for broody? Does she have possible crop problems? worms? Cocci?

I see so many diagnoses on these sights and I have no idea what to do since she is not acting like the others.

any help is appreciated.

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Your photo didn't come through.

She doesn't sound too perky. Is she not laying any eggs right now? I'm thinking of the possibility of being egg bound. I haven't had to deal with that yet, though, in my own flock experience. Sounds like she may have the urge to lay but can't pass the egg. The soft eggs may be a sign of something going awry in her. Just my thoughts. Hope you get it figured out.
From what i can tell she is not laying. I gave her some bread soaked with olive oil but here crop does not seem to be the problem. this morning her first poop was diaherea that was yellow. I'm keeping an eye on her just to see what the deal is. I also started to give all them feed with cheyenne pepper since it seem this is for worms and I have not wormed them. I use DE in their food and that is supposed to keep the worms away.

can any advise???

If she is not acting "right" then there is most likely something wrong. Chickens are good at hiding their illnesses / problems because it's a sign of weakness and weakness in an animal that is a food source to so many predators will do anything to avoid being eaten - plus if the other hens know she's ill - they'll push her aside as well. Survival of the fittest.

Sounds like she could be egg bound - by the way you describe her with her tail hanging down. I've never dealt with it - so can't really say for sure. You said she laid soft eggs prior - it could be a soft egg that broke inside her. You'll have to google the forum to see how to handle that -

You could isolate her to be sure she is eating and drinking. If she's not eating - you can entice her with some scrambled egg, yogurt, or another soft food that you know she likes. Most will readily gobble up scrambled egg though .... You can make it a bit on the wet side by adding water to it to make sure she's getting fluids too. You can also use a drobber and dribble some water in her mouth - she should swallow.

Diarreah can be caused by either illness or not enough food intake - including being egg bound.

When I have an issue, I start with the basics - and work through a process of elimination. Sometimes I've never found the source of the problem - sometimes I have.

First I check eyes, combs, legs, feathers - are her eyes clear ? Nasal discharge ? Nice red combs without any sores ? smooth legs ? Dirty looking feathers/vent area ? There are numerous conditions that can cause her to withdraw -

DE is tricky - some swear by it - others say it does nothing. I think it depends on the chicken -

I just ran into my first real problem last month - still haven't pinpointed it - but I have a few ideas. Sometimes we just never know what went wrong - sometimes there is nothing you did wrong or could do to prevent a prolblem. Unless you take them for a necropsy post-mortem - it's mostly a matter of best guesses. I was thinking of doing that until I found out my state charges $90

Good Luck ! I hope you figure it out
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It would be reasonable to assume that mites/lice and worms should be ruled out, as all these conditions can lead to a downward spiral in a hen's energy. They are sucked dry (blood), become anemic and weak (and cold).

It would be good for you to inspect for mites and lice, and if possible check the stool for worms. Some folks get a fecal test for worms done at a vet. Others just give the worming medication.

The worming medications are HARD on an already-sick hen. It might be the last straw if they are just hanging on and it isn't worms. So it is really a judgement call.

There are medications that treat all external and internal parasites. However, if it IS worms, you might not see worms in the poo.

There is a medication that some people say is the best wormer to start with, as you don't want to kill all the worms at once (if they have a heavy load), as it might kill them due to completely blocking the intestine.

Cocci is usually seen in young chickens up to around a couple of months old, but can be seen in older chickens with compromised immune systems.

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When in doubt...if you even think your chicken is sick first rule of thumb is to ASAP get it AWAY from the rest of your flock and QT it far far away-then check it over and watch it. If it worsens cull it or try a regiment of antibiotics....and even if it does get well, you may think twice about putting it back in the flock as it may be a carrier of some nasties and you could risk your whole flock.

so I followed the suggestion that it might be worms. Looked her over real good and ruled out everything. ordered some Verm-X but in the meantime I used the cheyenne pepper treatment and low and behold within 3 days she seemed back to her old self. Been just about a week and no I have been using verm-x for 2 days on all three. they are all eating drinking normally and alert. gave them some apples a few days ago and they all ate it right up. She is not laying yet but seems to be back on track. I will swear by the cheyenne pepper from now on. nice post and tip.


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