Elderly pekin bantam

kellogs

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 24, 2012
8
2
62
Hi,
Does anyone have any thoughts on what I should do to help my old lady Pekin bantam?
She's 7 years old, for the last year she's been slowing down- moving around less, unable to jump on her perches, just sitting more and watching the world go by.
I've taken her to the vet twice and each time they say it it's old age and might be arthritis and she has some anti inflammatory painkillers.
She's mostly indoors now - she has a fenced off area in the coop with the other hens that I put her in on warmer days - one of them stared bullying her so I had to separate her, but she can still see them and be close to them. She can't get up the ramp into the hen house anymore.
She's now reached a stage where she walks a little and then sits. She'll get up now and then, eats her food and drinks fine, preens and chatters away to me. She just has very little mobility. She's in the house most of the time now the weather's colder.

I guess it's age related and I can see it slowly getting worse.
So I have a couple of things I need help with please...
She's still on her layers feed still and I read online about gout being a problem in older birds and a low protein diet or a chick diet might be better for this condition. Should a bird with arthritis who's not laying anymore be on a layers feed? Or any idea if it's gout not arthritis?
Also, I hate the thought but I would like to know if you think it's ok or not to keep her going on like this. I've had her since she was a chick and she's adorable and so tame but I'm worried if my attachment to her gets in the way of her wellbeing. How do you decide whether they should be kept when their mobility is limited? I really don't know how to make a decision, perhaps she's fine, it's hard to know if she's in pain.
Thanks for your help x
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,783
34,324
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Colorado Rockies
First off, no, any chickens not laying must not have access to layer feed. Those of us with mixed flocks (old retired hens, roosters, and chicks along with layers) feed an all flock feed such as Purina Flock Raiser, and we provide oyster shell for the laying crew. I quit feeding layer years ago.

I have several old hens no longer laying, although my nine-year old keeps trying but the eggs lack shells. The oldest is over ten. One eight-year old hen has what your girl is suffering from. I give her one baby aspirin each morning, and that knocks down her arthritic pain enough so she feels like being reasonably active.

Until I began the aspirin therapy, and I see your girl is already getting an anti-inflammatory, my Su-su would just sit in one spot all day and not even try much to move around. Now she joins in all the fun with the flock.

I have four old hens (eight to ten years old) that are able to get up to the roosts but wait for me to get them down come morning. Sometimes, I feel like I'm running a nursing home for elderly chickens.
 

kellogs

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 24, 2012
8
2
62
First off, no, any chickens not laying must not have access to layer feed. Those of us with mixed flocks (old retired hens, roosters, and chicks along with layers) feed an all flock feed such as Purina Flock Raiser, and we provide oyster shell for the laying crew. I quit feeding layer years ago.

I have several old hens no longer laying, although my nine-year old keeps trying but the eggs lack shells. The oldest is over ten. One eight-year old hen has what your girl is suffering from. I give her one baby aspirin each morning, and that knocks down her arthritic pain enough so she feels like being reasonably active.

Until I began the aspirin therapy, and I see your girl is already getting an anti-inflammatory, my Su-su would just sit in one spot all day and not even try much to move around. Now she joins in all the fun with the flock.

I have four old hens (eight to ten years old) that are able to get up to the roosts but wait for me to get them down come morning. Sometimes, I feel like I'm running a nursing home for elderly chickens.

Thank you so much for your reply, it's good to know I'm not the only one in this situation, I'm glad Su-su is doing well on the aspirin, I've never given mine that before and good to know it can help. Wow you have a ten year old hen! That's wonderful to hear! I have two seven year olds, I hope they keep going on a bit longer, they are part of the family and we raised them from chicks.
Thanks for the diet advice, I'll get her on that or something similar as I'm not sure if I can get it here (UK). Is there something in an all flock feed that's different to layers? Is it less calcium or something? I'm sure I'll find something- and I was wondering if she'd benefit (or just enjoy) a mixed seed feed to mix in with her new food too, now she's no longer laying. I give her dried meal worms, she loves them! My husband says she's fat but he's wrong! I've been weighing her every few weeks and she's not putting on weight she's just Fluffy! Thanks again xx
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,640
51,359
1,302
southern Ohio
I have 3 hens over 7 left from my original chickens, 1 of which is still laying. They all get around well. There are are a few 6 year olds who are slow to get down from the roost on cool mornings. I would try to let her be with her friends outside to let her enjoy her days, even if it has to be in a dog crate with her own food and water. You could take her out to free range for supervised visits until you are certain they stop picking on her.

It is a good idea to use an all flock feed or even a grower feed which has only 1% calcium versus 4% that layer has. This can even be used in layers as long as crushed oyster shell is available for the layers to take as needed.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,783
34,324
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Also, an all-flock feed has a little higher protein which is useful, too. The main thing is to feed non-layers as little calcium as possible since they really don't need it, and too much can cause long-term issues.
 

kellogs

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 24, 2012
8
2
62
Thank you both for your replies, I've changed her feed to a non layers (she loves it!) she's doing ok, I'll try and get her out more with her friends. Thanks for all your advice and good luck with your elderly hens too xx
 

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