Ex battery hen not eating/drinking after laying an egg

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Arlowbird, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. Arlowbird

    Arlowbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2016
    We recently rescued an additional three ex battery hens all of which were in a pretty sorry state. They were frail, featherless and unable to walk. The worst one we have indoors and were feeding her with a dropper until she started feeding herself two days later. They are all gaining strength and have started to stand up and stretch. Having checked their legs and feet it looks as if they are just bruised. This morning the one we have indoors laid an egg just as I was putting her back into her box and it seems to have exhausted her as, since then, she hasn't eaten or drunk anything. I just hope I didn't hurt her by holding her. I am a relative newbie to chickens and wonder if anyone could give me some advice.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2014
    In my experience with rescued chickens, they usually do not lay an egg while in such bad shape. It is extremely stressful on them and she may just not be feeling well. Do a once over inspection on her to make sure everything seems normal. If she is not eating or drinking on her own you will need to force feed her- she has to stay hydrated.

    I recently had a rescue who was so malnourished she couldn't walk anymore, I had to force feed her to get her going and she started walking two days later. I always weigh them to start so I can track progress. What I do is put about 1 cup of chicken feed (gamebird or starter/grower for malnourished ones, layer would be okay too), a can of wet cat food, about 4 mL of nutri-drench, and about 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in the blender. I then add usually a half cup of water to start and blend. You need to get it to a consistency that you can suck it up in a syringe, so you will have to check it and maybe add more water. I've had a lot of luck using this mixture and they seem to enjoy it. In fact last night I was trying to feed it to a sick duck and Goldie (the malnourished hen) was jumping up trying to grab the tip of the syringe. I did let her have a little bit of it since she is now such a persistent beggar.

    Goodluck and keep us posted!
     
  3. Arlowbird

    Arlowbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2016
    Thank you so much for your reply. All three of our newbies have laid an egg which came as a surprise to me considering their condition. I think that it just took everything out of her for the day as she did eat and drink a little in the evening. It seems that she has a bad bruise on her middle toe which I think is the reason she can't put any weight on it. They all seem to be getting stronger day by day which is a relief. Thanks so much for your recipe I shall certainly give it a go.
     
  4. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2014
    So glad to hear she seems to be feeling a bit better. Hopefully she won't lay any more eggs until she has recuperated. I always get so excited when they lay their first egg (or in the case of the roos they begin to crow) after being rehabilitated because to me it signals success.

    Keep an eye on the toe it is very likely it could be bruised (or fractured) but I have noticed sometimes that when they have an infection in their toe the scale over it will turn black. A few epsom salts soaks of her feet would probably help soothe her.

    I forgot to tell you before, when you said about holding the chicken and possibly hurting her, that I've found that most extremely ill chickens find comfort in being held. Often times they feel and act cold so the body heat they get from us usually puts them to sleep. Many also turn out to be very calm and affectionate with humans as a result. I have a big white roo that came completely terrified of humans. After being rehabbed he turned out to be top rooster in the yard but I can walk up to him, pick him up and inspect, snuggle and love on him and he stays very calm. The only thing I can caution you on is sometimes when they are very very underweight it does seem to hurt them when you pick them up, you can almost feel their bones grinding together and they wimper. The best way to handle these guys is to put one hand under the butt between there legs and one at their chest and gently lift and place them on your lap. That way you're not putting any pressure on them but just letting them sit in your hands. But they still enjoy being held and petted.
     
  5. Arlowbird

    Arlowbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2016
    Hi - thanks - your advice is invaluable. I made up your recipe (ish) - we don't have some of the ingredients here in Southern Ireland but I made up 1 cup Layers Pellets, 1 can of cat food (unfortunately chicken and liver was the only one I have) 4ml of Johnsons Tonic, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar and water. I made it into a kind of mash and she ate about 3 tsp of it. She looks bright enough but I'm still worried she's not drinking enough water. I don't want to stress her by giving her water with a dropper but it looks as if I may have to. We are also trying her with various seeds which she will nibble at. I had a good look at the other two's feet and it looks to me as if they have a couple of callouses (hard cracked skin) underneath. I don't know if this is normal for the environment they've been in. Both are walking better this morning and it looks like the bruising is now coming out on their legs/feet.

    Where are you located? Always nice to talk to someone from a different country
     
  6. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2014
    I'm in Pennsylvania in the US! It is so neat how a mutual love of chickens can have two people talking who otherwise would have never met.

    Hydration is very very important. Have you tried dipping her beak in a bowl of water? Sometimes they just need a little encouragement. Other times dripping it on their beaks and let it run down to the tip they will drink that way. If not, unfortunately you have to force it. It's good she is nibbling at somethings on her own. Are you able to get dried mealworms at the store? We have them here at the feed stores and also anywhere that sells wild birdseed. They are my chickens favorite treat and they have a lot of protein in them .

    Look up bumblefoot if you've never seen that and make sure that's not what's wrong with their feet. Otherwise I've been known to rub neosporin on their feet. From some of the places these chickens come from anything is possible. Have you checked/treated for lice and mites? I always do this even if it's just preventative because that can really hinder their recovery.

    Keep up the good work and keep me posted!
     
  7. Arlowbird

    Arlowbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2016
    Hi - Pennsylvania - a very pretty State I hear! We are from England but moved here to Southern Ireland 13 years ago and since then have rescued two ex race horses, three dogs, four cats and now eight chickens! In February this year we took in six ex battery hens from a sanctuary that rescued and rehomed 7,500 hens that the egg farming industry deemed "past it" and would otherwise have been destroyed. We knew nothing about chickens (I had never even touched one before!) and I spent hours trawling the internet which is how I found this site - an excellent source of information. As you say, it puts like minded people in touch who would not normally get to meet. We totally fell in love with our chickens which is why we took in another three (one of our original ones was killed by a neighbour's dog) from a rescue run last weekend. Our original girls were in quite good condition when we got them so I was totally unprepared for the sorry sight that met me with the new ones. Good news today though - our indoor little girl is eating and drinking well and has started to stand up on her own. Although her toe is still swollen the bruising has gone down so I am hopeful that she will be walking soon as can go back into with the other two girls. Talking about them, they are both walking (well limping) around quite well but one of them (we call her baldy for the moment as she only has about 20% feather coverage over her body) has started to peck at the other one, sometimes quite nastily. I am reluctant to separate them as the one being pecked seems to want the company.

    From what I've read about Bumblefoot I think the callouses are probably the result of the environment they were living in, i.e. a barn with in all probability a concrete floor. Hopefully once they can get out onto the grass and free range their feet will improve but I shall certainly be keeping a close eye on them. I haven't checked them for lice etc yet as I don't want to handle them too much (truth is - I'm still plucking up courage to do it!)

    Again, thanks so much for your help. It's really nice to be able to chat to someone who is like-minded about these gorgeous, funny creatures. We live in the middle of farming country where I suppose they only see animals as a commodity not as something to be enjoyed.....
     
  8. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've always thought that Ireland would be a beautiful and interesting place to visit. It sounds like you have quite the menagerie of rescue animals, that is so wonderful! My husband thinks I'm a little crazy but I can just sit for hours and watch my chickens and ducks. I find it relaxing and people really underestimate how intelligent and comical these creatures can be. A few weeks ago two of my roosters apparently were have a bit of a scuffle on top of our fuel oil tank which sits in the corner between our house and fence. My husband came inside and said, "Dear, you need to come outside...now." I stepped outside and he pointed to the fuel tank...and I saw two fluffy rooster butts up in the air, one wedged between the house and the tank and the other wedged between the fence and the tank. Apparently my big white roo was able to knock the smaller speckled roo off the tank and wedge him by the fence. He then, according to my husband, stumbled, flailed and fell head first between the house and the tank. I so wish I had taken a picture before I pried each of them loose, I've never seen anything like it before. And they haven't scuffled since.

    I feel sad for your girl getting pecked. They usually do want company but pecking can lead to some serious injuries. Is there any way to put up something that they can see and be near each other but aren't able to peck? I believe there are anti-peck sprays available too. I'm glad it sounds that she is starting to feel better.

    Don't be scared to handle them, they won't hurt you and you won't hurt them. I personally think that handling them a lot when they are sick is easier because they don't put up much of a fight it and makes them easier to handle once they are better. The flapping wings can sometimes be a little off-putting though. I've gotten used to it because I handle sick muscovy ducks and those big wings flapping hurt, especially when they hit you in the face. I have a drake with a broken leg right now and now that he is feeling better he wants to fight me every step of the way, including trying to bite. That's okay, I just tap him on the beak and continue what I was doing. He can bite all he wants because I know it's because he's feeling better now. And he knows I'm boss so he can throw all the attitude he wants and it's not going to change anything.

    I'm so glad your girls are on the mend, slowly but surely. I know what you mean about people only seeing animals as a commodity. I live in Amish/Mennonite horse & buggy country and they are some of the worst when it comes to treating their animals and running puppy mills. They aren't much better with their kids, I swear they have so many to have free fieldhands-- they don't allow their children to go beyond an 8th grade education because they have to work the farm. I was raised with farm animals that were raised for meat, but I was taught that even though they are going to be butchered you take good care of them and treat them well right up until their last minute, and that was always made as swift and painless as possible. I have never and probably will never personally be able to do that deed myself. It's just not in me.
     
  9. Arlowbird

    Arlowbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2016
    Good morning from a dull, probably going to be wet but warm(ish) Southern Ireland. It is indeed an interesting and beautiful country but only when the sun shines! On dull wet dreary days, of which there are many, it is thoroughly miserable and makes hard work of looking after the horses especially during winter when they are stabled. - I meant to ask you what Neosporin is - is it a type of antiseptic cream? I thought of maybe standing them in a warm basin of water with Hibiscrub in it - it is an antiseptic we use on cuts/sores that appear on the horses from time to time. We actually sat one of our original girls in a bowl to try and clear up her bare botty - it worked for a while but unfortunately she is bald and red there again :-( We also have one whose knickers are always dirty no matter how many times we wash it. We actually stopped giving them fruit as their poo seems to go really runny the day after. I'm glad to say how new girls are improving daily and I don't think it'll be too long before they will be out and about. I'll probably need advice then about integrating them with the other girls - oh and how you go about de-licing yours.....

    I was very interested to read about your neighbourhood - we have a similar situation here with the travelling community or Knackers as they are more commonly known (gypsies). They are not the romantic picture that tv programmes try to portray them to be - I know you have good and bad in every community but the majority of them are really awful people. They think it's perfectly ok to neglect and abuse their animals, beat their wives and not follow any social rules or laws. They think nothing of stealing from their neighbours and will cry "discrimination" if they are challenged about anything. Unfortunately their children aren't schooled either so they will in all probability grow up to be the same. When we first got our horses they were in afield about four miles away. I worked in the village shop and one or two of the family that lived nearby came in and was asking me about the horses - I though they were just being friendly (I was very naive about them in those days) but the next thing I knew they were in the field trying to catch one of the horses to take to the factory where, if they had been successful, they would have got about €900. Luckily the man in the house next to the field went out to them with a gun and chased them away. I am always nervous now about leaving them in the field for the summer but unfortunately we just don't have enough grass for them here. One of their favourite pastimes is sulky racing where they race young ponies in a kind of trap along any kind of road regardless of the volume of traffic. There have been alot of cases where they literally run the ponies to the ground where they take off the sulky and leave the pony usually to die or be found by a member of the public. It is now against the law but the Government or Gardai (police) won't enforce it. Ireland is very backward in their attitude to animal welfare which sadly does put a blight on the country.
     
  10. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2014
    Good morning! Here in PA it is sunny and extremely hot, I've been hoping for some cooler days to keep working on our new chicken coop but that doesn't seem like it will be the case this week. It is so interesting to learn things about Ireland that I otherwise would have never heard of. I didn't think gypsies existed anymore they sound kind of scary. Around here we have a few transients that hang around-- mostly homeless men that for the most part keep to themselves and are very respectful and would just appreciate something to eat. I usually try to give them something to eat or at least water when I see them because it just breaks my heart. Thankfully in the past few years here in the US we have made many strides regarding animal welfare. Unfortunately (I'm not sure how much US news they air where you are), we have taken about ten steps back regarding racism with the whole #blacklivesmatter movement. Police officers are being targeted and murdered because every time a police officer (no matter what their race) has to take the life of a black man while doing their job,whether right or wrong, it blows up on the news and turns into black people being targeted. But people of all other races are killed by police officers daily and no one bats and eye. To me it seems like a huge double standard involving race that is tearing this country apart.

    Neosporin in bacitracin, or basically antibiotic ointment you put on cuts- just nothing with pain reliever in it. I'm not familiar with Hibiscrub but it sounds like it would work well. For de-licing and worming I use pour on ivermectin from the feed/livestock supply store. I believe it's actually for cows or sheep, but as long as it is the pour on kind it will work. I draw some up in a syringe but you don't inject this into them, I just use the end to easily apply just a few drops at the back of their neck where they can't get to.

    I always hate the integration of new chickens into the flock because inevitably they will be picked on a little. If my rescues aren't acutely sick (like Goldie right now who is just gaining weight but still separated from the flock) I carry her around outside with me and let her see everyone and let everyone see her. They come to look but can't get to her or hurt her. This probably isn't necessary but it makes me feel better. And then when you want to move them in with the flock I always do it at night when everyone is roosting and calm. So when everyone wakes up in the morning the newbies are already there. I also try to go out right away in the morning and observe to make sure that they aren't being horribly tormented. Usually they get picked on for a few days and then everything goes back to normal. It's always nerve-racking for me though because you don't want an animal you just poured so much time, love and attention into getting hurt.

    I hope the sun shines a little bit for you today!
     

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