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Egg Bound Betty Bouncing Back - advice on reintroducing to routine!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by charpcharp, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. charpcharp

    charpcharp In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    My Australorp, Betty, has been in the house since last Friday. She was trying to lay her first egg and it turned out to be a double yolker with a soft shell. We got the egg out on Monday and watched daily for signs of poisoning or deterieration.

    I'm delighted to say, she has perked up on a daily basis, her rear end is back to a calm state and she is currently familiarising herself with our utility room!

    However, she is reluctant to eat her normal layer pellets. We've tried a few things to encourage her to eat them again - such as grinding them and making a mash, mixing them with scrambled egg - she's not interested in them on their own, but she will eat the scrambled egg mix and brown bread.

    We don't want to let her out with the other two (in an enlosed house and run) until she is eating her pellets again. We give ours access to pellets and water all day and occasional treats through the week.

    I've taken advice on various foods to try and have tried most, if not all of them with her. She's just not that interested and we're worried she'll get thinner and thinner.

    Also, if anyone has any advice or experience on reintroducing her to the other two, that would be great. I read that night time was best and they are sensitive to how "new" chicks smell.

    Suggestions and thoughts much appreciated!
  2. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    You might try mixing up a warm mash with her pellets; on cold mornings, or for fussy sick hens I add water to the pellets and microwave for 30 - 60 seconds depending on how large the bowl is. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes, and make sure it's not too hot.

    This morning I mixed in some oatmeal and oat bran before I microwaved it, and they licked the bowl clean. [​IMG]

    If she's still not eating she might still be feeling under the weather, she might be wanting a bit of extra protein, or perhaps she's just stressed at being in a new place. You could try a bit of moistened or canned cat food and see what happens.

    There are lots of tricks to get chickens reacquainted; placing them in together at night can work, but it appears mine are too clever for that. One other possibility is to remove ALL hens from their coop and run and place them in another location for a few hours (or even overnight). Tomorrow, start over with three hens who come into the coop at the same time, and maybe you can even the odds with the sick hen. Just keep an eye on things.

    Good luck, and do keep us posted!
  3. Lobzi

    Lobzi Crowing 10 Years

    i read all these posting about sick chickens who are reluctant to eat.

    Does anyone try mealworms?

    I would know for certain there was a serious problem if my chickens turned down a mealworm feast.
  4. charpcharp

    charpcharp In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    Fantastic advice Jenski and Lobzi!

    Do you make porrige with the oatmeal first or are they able to deal with it if it's just moist?

    What foods are good for protein? We've got lots of cat food! [​IMG]

    And I think as we're in a bit of a fishing community, we'd be able to get mealworms without much difficulty. Will definitely give that a go.

    Are mealworms protein-ful? Could you give little and often to a healthy group of chickens and make it part of their diet or is it more a treat-type-feed?


    We'll try your reintroducing tips too!
  5. Lobzi

    Lobzi Crowing 10 Years

    Yes do try mealworms. They are gonna love em!!!! I also give cut up cheese for extra protein boost to their diet of grains and layer pellets. They seem to like the cheese too, but nothing compares to their love of mealworms... oh and grubs. I dig them up from the mud under the leaves. Mealworms are the hands-down best to persuade them to eat.
  6. wingnut1

    wingnut1 Crazy Bird Lady

    If I can find something a sickly hen will eat - I add a bit of pedialyte and baby bird formula to it -- seems to perk them up - I think some of the BYC advertisers sell electrolytes for chickens - and that would work as well - I have the pedialyte on hand for sick parrots, cockatiels, so it is quick, easy, avail for me - I use that instead of water if I need to make a soft food stew for a sickie...

    Good luck! And very nice of you to take such great care of Egg Bound Betty! [​IMG]
  7. charpcharp

    charpcharp In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    Wingnut1 - I will look into pedialyte and baby bird formula. Fingers crossed we can get our hands on some relatively quickly.

    I love the idea of a soft food stew!

    Will give you a progress report as soon as poss! [​IMG]
  8. wingnut1

    wingnut1 Crazy Bird Lady

    charpcharp - hope she gets to feeling better soon! (ps - the baby bird formula is sold at most pet stores - it is a powder and you mix with water - but I mix with pedialyte...I'll wonder if with chickens you might be able to use corn meal in a pinch?... not sure.. )

    On when to reintroduce - I am no expert, and can only speak to what has worked for me. I used to put them back in a bit too early - they are so pathetic when you bring them in, and it seems like such a dramatic change when they start feeling better. When I put them back in too soon it seems like they just can't keep up with the others, who are quick to react to a weak comrade. I now use the following rule: when they are so bored and full of energy that it seems they will BURST if they don't get outside and catch some bugs, and when I can no longer deal with a bored chicken clucking and scratching and wanting tons of attention all of the time - its time... I often place them in the coop while the others are out in the run - and it may be that they start to smell like the coop *shrugs* -who knows? - but it seems to go fine when everyone meets up in the run. But I am sure placing them in at night is the safest. [​IMG]
  9. charpcharp

    charpcharp In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    Betty update!

    Thanks everyone for your brilliant advice. We spent Sunday afternoon with the chickens and let Betty out - first just near the run where the others could see her and they could see eye to eye - then we let them all out together into a new bit of field at the back of the house so the other two were distracted a bit by the new scenery and didn't fly at Betty or anything! And while watching them closely, you could tell Betty was sizing up to them to start with and then gradually the eye contact between them became less and less "stand off-ish" and they all relaxed.

    The two older ones have definitely bonded but I'm so glad to say, they were all snuggled up in their nest as normal that very same night (we kept a regular check on them!). It was an amazingly frosty night and I was terrified that poor Betty wouldn't cope with being so cold but my OH read a part of a book to me that describes how well chickens cope with the cold and it really put my mind at ease. And the next morning, she jumped out of the coop and looked great.

    We're still keeping a close eye as she's definitely not as greedy as the other two girls - it's like she'll pretend to eat, but won't really and will instead walk around over the food and wait till the other two are out the way before she has a peck at what's left. I'm being extra careful that if we give them any extra foods that I offer the bigger two their snacks an arms length from where I feed Betty her's. Although, she still isn't as interested as I want her to be!

    Fingers crossed all will be ok! Thanks again guys, BYC is awesome! [​IMG]
  10. katrinag

    katrinag Songster

    I am so glad to here that she is better.

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