Hen acting broody, breast feathers mostly gone, red streaks on skin, smells bad

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Animalfisherwoman, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Animalfisherwoman

    Animalfisherwoman Songster

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    I have a hen, 2 to 2.5 years old. Three days ago she started acting broody but no egg came out. Her tail was up. When I took her out of the box, we found that she was missing most of her breast feathers and the skin had red streaks in it. The area smelled like infection that permeated our clothing. I do not have pictures yet but am hoping for advice based on what I've written.

    We have put her in a hospital cage, administered vetricyn spray and nutridrench. I went into her cloacal opening with a finger and felt no egg there. She has laid three poops with form, fairly large ones, didn't see any blood or worms in it. She is eating and drinking, comb looks normal. We also admined 200 mg of erythromycin (fish supply) in her feed.

    She has now been in the hospital cage 22 hours. I moved this to the shed as flies were starting to bother her. She's still exhibiting the "broody" stance, body spread out, tail up but hasn't laid.

    ETA: Just went out there again, gave her another epsom bath soaking the butt and sprayed her breast belly area with vetracyn. The smell is gone and she appears to have eaten most of the feed that I placed the antibiotics in. Checked her vent with a finger again and didn't find an egg in there. She almost immediately went back to broody stance with tail up once back in the hospital cage.
    What should I do next?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Has she ever been broody before? Usually they are frantic to get back in their nest.

    Do you mean egg bound? Not likely if she is pooping. Broody's don't lay eggs. And they don't require eggs to go broody or stay that way. The hormones stop that and decreases intake and metabolism... concentrating poo so she only has to relieve herself once or twice per day and not mess on the eggs.

    How does the vent look? Any signs of lice or mites?

    For what it's worth... only round worms and tape worms will ever be seen in droppings and only under heavy load. All others will stay in the intestines and only their microscopic (not visible to the naked eye) oocysts (eggs) will pass in droppings. If you wanna know the truth you've got to get a fecal float done to tell you if you have anything and how heavy the count is, if you need to treat and what you should treat with for the specific parasitic species.

    Based on what you've written... I would move to using a broody breaker (no bedding) instead of a hospital cage... since she is eating and drinking and you don't describe any lethargy, IF you aren't gonna let her hatch any chicks or adopt her some. If you are gonna give her chicks, keep her cleaned up well enough to not be infected and wait a couple weeks and tuck them under her at night.

    Nutri drench is a great product for occasional use. I might skip the antibiotics in feed... if it isn't the right dose for the right period of time against the correct bacteria, we are just creating resistance and making issues worse. Our bodies and theirs both produce antibodies every day. Maybe offer something probiotic instead to support her own immune system. Hope she is well! :fl
     
  3. Animalfisherwoman

    Animalfisherwoman Songster

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    Her vent was very dirty but there wasn't evidence of any bugs around it but inflamed skin underneath. I trimmed some of the feathers back there to admin the vetricyn. We can do the fecal float Monday if symptoms persist.

    I did mix up another 100 mg of erythro in a syringe feeder, she probably got about half of that. The red streaks on her belly are gone and she no longer smells bad, but she is still acting broody with tail up. The cage we're using is a standard battery cage with a wire floor, I assume to break broodiness. My biggest concern is the inflamed featherless breast/belly area--if we keep her in the cage will she just keep "squatting up" thus allowing the area to dry out/heal?
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    I think so.

    Every situation can present differently and so it's a constant learning process with individual immune system and personalities of the hens and such.

    There could be something more going on... like internal laying or egg yolk peritonitis or kindey/liver issue that is making her uncomfortable. If you want to post pick it MIGHT tell a different story than broody.

    Since you've got the stink gone and she doesn't *seem* bound, I might stop the baths. But if she is relaxing and enjoying them as some hens do, and you have the energy then it probably isn't hurting. I probably wouldn't probe anymore either since you haven't found anything yet.

    Inflamed skin underneath IS often the evidence of bugs... but lets see how it goes! And maybe you will get some more input from someone with different experience than me also. :fl
     
    Eggcessive and Animalfisherwoman like this.
  5. Animalfisherwoman

    Animalfisherwoman Songster

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    I returned her to the flock yesterday. She's dust bathing, eating, drinking, running around. When I'm not looking she returns to the nest boxes. I've lifted her out of there eight times now in 20 hours. The last time I just put her in a non-preferred nestbox as egg production from the flock has dropped to 1 daily from 6 to 7 daily. How long is this broody period supposed to last?
     
  6. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    If you don't want her to sit, then you will need to break her. There are several ways to try, I find the most effective to be 'chicken jail'. A wire crate, lifted off the ground so air can circulate all around her. No bedding of any kind, just food and water. She stays there until she changes her mind. It will often take a couple of days, I've had them hold out for a week. Once they are no longer broody they can go back to the flock. You may try several times only to have her go back to the nest box, then she goes back to jail for another day.
    broody-hen-a-cage.jpg
    upload_2018-9-20_18-24-27.png
     
  7. Animalfisherwoman

    Animalfisherwoman Songster

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    I have implemented the chicken jail. The roosting coop is tied directly to the nesting boxes, which she has been sleeping in. Should I leave her out there tonight?
     
  8. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    I'm not sure I entirely understand your question. :oops:
    They need to stay in the crate until they are no longer broody, if she has access to the nest box she will go back in and sit again and you will have to start over. The crate needs to be in a place that is predator proof while she's in it so that she's safe. Mine go in my enclosed run which is locked at night and predator proof, I cover the crate with a blanket or sheet at night. If your run, or where ever you have her, is not predator proof then you will need to move the crate to a safe place at night, and move it back out in the morning. I hope that answers what you wanted to know.
     
  9. Animalfisherwoman

    Animalfisherwoman Songster

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    It exactly does! The crate is in the yard where the flock hangs out but we can move her to a smaller chicken jail for the night(s). BTW, she's an Isa Brown. Never thought she'd be the first one to go broody or so difficult to break.
     
    coach723 and EggSighted4Life like this.
  10. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Songster

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    Hi, you should move her at night somewhere where she’s protected from predators but also where she can sleep and not get startled or scared at night. You want to keep her health up.
    I move my broodies wire crate into the garage at night and cover with a sheet.
    The longer she’s been broody the longer she’s going to take to break. I give my hens three days in the nest box full time to see if they are truly committed then they go to the broody breaker. If you catch it early it takes three to four days to break.
     

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