Help us figure this out?


10 Years
Jun 5, 2009
We have a wellsummer that will be three soon. Every summer she has gone broody. Then last summer she only stopped being broody when she started a hard molt. She lost weight from all this and was just over 6lbs last sept. This week my daughter weighed her again and she is down to 4. She has also started opening her mouth when she breaths, maybe a week or two ago? She hasn't laid an egg since last spring before she went broody. After her molt some of her feathers turned partly grey/white. She has been getting out more and going off with the other chickens. She was dust bathing in the garden the other day with them. But often she seems like it's tiring and will sit in the grass near them while they forage. This has been going on since she started molting last Aug. The breathing thing is new, but other than that she seems better to me then she was last fall. She has been eating and drinking on her own. And my daughter has been making her a one egg mealworm and grape omelet for the past few days. Anyway what could be going on?

spring (June?) 2017 lays eggs and goes broody
early-mid Aug 2017 stops being broody and starts hard molt, lots of bald patches and walks funny, doesn't want to go freeranging. seems weak.
Oct 2017 done with molt, still weak and didn't want to free range much
March 2018 goes out free ranging on nice days, but needs to rest often. Starts opening mouth to breath and makes a sound when breathing.

Pics to follow.

Warning: poop in next post


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This is from yesterday. It was very small, maybe an inch?

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This was today. Much bigger, but yellowish and foamy. (could it be the meal worm omelets?)
ok, I can go get that in the morning. Does it have the oral dosing on the bottle?
I have mostly older hens from 5-7 years old, and quite a few have died from various reproductive problems or ascites (fluid in the belly from heart or liver failure, also seen with internal laying.)
Your hen sounds a lot like the ones I have had who have become very thin, acting detached or lethargic, lying around or separating themselves, not eating as before. The shortness of breath could be related as well, especially if she would have ascites. But the suggestion of a respiratory infection might be a possibility.
Yesterday she was not doing the breathing thing. And when my daughter brought her in for her special omelet she ate it and then pooped similar to the 2nd one posted above. Then I gave her some layer pellets and she ate them very quickly.

Today she hasn't had an omelet and she just pooped regular. Now I am wondering if the other birds are keeping her from eating and the breathing thing was from the sudden warmth we had (yesterday it snowed again). I really hope that is the issue. She seems to be eating and drinking fine when we offer it away from the other birds.

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