***Hen Becoming Lethargic In Cold Weather!!!***

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by yomama, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. yomama

    yomama Overrun With Chickens

    Hi there,

    I have an Australorp hen, apx. 1 yr old . I got her, along with 3 other hens, (1 Rhode Island Red, 1 Rhode Island Red Bantam and 1 Sexlink Bantam, all around 1 year as well), about a month and a half ago. When I got them, they were all looking and doing great and it only took a few weeks for them to get settled and all start laying again( I was and do get 4 different colored eggs!). My concern is that recently Betty, the Australorp, is acting off. I believe it is due to the extremely cold weather we have had lately. Normally, she is the queen bee, first to take whatever she feels is hers, from anyone, and very much a pig. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and normally our temps here can get chilly, but not really bad- at least not for long periods of time. The temps have been in the teens for the past week or so. The ladies have a 4' x4' coop with roosting bars, nesting boxes and I added a heat lamp so their water wouldn't continue to freeze. They have a fully enclosed 10'x40' run that they have continuous access to. I check on the coop twice daily, for eggs, to give feed , check water, etc and the heat lamp is definately NOT making the coop too warm, which I was worried about. It is keepng the water from freezing, though, so that is good. All of the other hens are doing just fine. They are very active, and talkative. Betty is sleeping alot more and roosting off by herself. ( I have a roost in there outside run too.) She will get up and peck around occasionally or when prompted by me. Also, her eyes aren't as bright, almost like she is just waking up, and she is the only hen that is alternating wich foot she stands on, which tells me her little toes are cold. Is there something I could be doing for her, giving her etc??? I tried to get only winter hardy hens, but she just doesn't seem to be handling it too well. I'm still getting 2 to 3 eggs a day, not sure from who, and all stools look good, formed, not runny and not rock hard. When I do throw veggie and bread scraps out, she will eat them, but not as vigorously. This is my first time as a chicken mom, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have no problem contacting the Avian Med Center here in Oregon, if anything doesn't seem to help. Just thought I would try here first. I don't mean to sound crazy with all my details, but I know that without seeing her first hand, the more details, the better.

    Thanks so much for any help!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  2. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

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    Try giving her some yogurt and adding some apple cider vinegar to the water
     
  3. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Forgive me for budding in, but what does the yogurt and apple cider vinegar do?
     
  4. rachaelc

    rachaelc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The cider vinegar and yogurt help with maintaining "good " bacteria in the stomach and craw. Best to use the organic vinegar with the live cultures. Its like the yogurt, use plain with no sugar. I also use the whole milk yogurt for extra protein and fat during these cold spells.
    I periodically give the girls some vinegar in their water, but being as cold as it is I have been spoiling them with warm mash in the morning, topped with a little olive oil, splash of molasses and a creamy slather of yogurt. Some hot cereal![​IMG] huh.
    I am actually looking forward to the warmer weather, not that I like the freezing rain. Snow would be better.
    The avain med center is very good though, let us know how things go for her.[​IMG]

    RachaelC-mother of all
     
  5. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am really concerned about a 250 watt heat lamp in such a small coop. 4 by 4 is the size of the coop I had last year--I can't imagine sticking anything like that in there! How did you measure the temperature? Remember, heat lamps heat up surfaces, so you need to lay a thermometer directly under the light to see what kind of heat it is giving off. If you are heating the coop more than 45 degrees or so, it could cause a problem. (I didn't use any heat last year when the temp was 9 degrees--no problems). Please double check that temp! Sorry I don't have any ideas about what is wrong with your hen--sounds like calling the Avian center is a good idea.
     
  6. yomama

    yomama Overrun With Chickens

    Hey there,

    Thanks so much for the info. I gave the girls some yogurt yesterday(which they all loved!), and put some apple cider vinegar in their water. Betty seems to be a little more active today. I should of mentioned in my first post that the coop roof, where the heat lamp is hooked up to, is vaulted and that the heat lamp was at an angle, just facing the water container. However, after reading that last post about the heat lamp last night, I got a little worried. I knew that it didn't feel too warm, but I thought I would still check it out. I put the thermometer on the roost closest to the heat lamp's rays, and it only registered at 26 degrees, it was 16 outside. So I know that over heating isn't a problem. (Again, the only thing in direct line of the lamp is their water container.) I'm pretty sure the bulb is dying. I was, however, a little concerned that Betty was the only one that stayed on the roost, almost sleeping, when I was messing around in their house at 10pm last night. She would of moved had I attempted to touch her, but I didn't want to stress her anymore. Anyway, I will be keeping a close eye on her today, again, and plan on calling the vet today. Also, unless there is any reason why I shouldn't, I also plan on giving them yogurt every day for the probiotics. I do for my dogs and myself, why not my hens??? [​IMG] I really appreciate the responses, and if there are any more, keep'um comin'!

    Thanks again!
     
  7. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yomama--thanks for checking that out and not taking offense to my concern. Please keep us posted on your hen! Is there any possiblilty that she could be molting? (check for feathers under her roost area). My hens were much less active and stayed apart from the others when they were molting. Hopefully that is the case.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  8. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Is she molting?
     
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Molting went through my head as well...I think that must take a lot out of them (some more than others). Also, although that is a fairly winter hardy breed, they're all individuals, so she may be unhappy with the cold. None of my girls are liking the cold (staying inside a lot more, fluffing up a lot, alternating feet), but one or two of them seem to take it better than the others, although they are all supposed to be winter hardy breeds. Give extra "treats" such as scratch, etc. so that she and the others have plenty of energy to make it through your cold spell, especially if there's a chance that your one girl is molting as well. Eggs and other protein rich foods will be good if you think she is molting. Good luck with her. I think we're all getting pretty sick of the cold already, and it's not even officially winter time yet!! [​IMG]
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    My Jersey Giants should be real cold hardy and I live near Tampa Florida. One molted earlier in the year, now the other 2 are molting. They look awful. Pale, skinny, fluffed up, they avoid contact with the other chickens, don't even come for treats-and they are big hogs otherwise. Not lethargic, just not real active. And I can tell they are molting, lots of feathers around, and they have some of those pins coming in
     

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