Hen in nesting box, was panting lastnight, today I found her face down

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TasteLikeChicken, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. TasteLikeChicken

    TasteLikeChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Well how to make a long story short. First I'm new to all this chicken stuff. three months ago, I bought some cinnamon queens and some production reds. 23 of them, I built a brooder, I raised all 23 till they were big enough to go into the coop. I built a coop as well, and a pen. I had them outside for a month, and I had just put a tin roof on their pen, and later that night the neighbors dog went through the chicken wire and from what I understand now, dogs play a game, only kill, don't eat. So the next day I found my chickens scattered in the coop and out throughout the yard. I had them for about two and half months. Well I decided to go a different route, I always see these people selling laying hens on craigslist. So I went there and bought 7 laying hens, 2 black astralaups, 2 buff orphingtons, 3 production reds. I've only had them a week, one of them is laying a egg a day, now its two eggs a day, I don't know if they were stressed or something, but one egg the first day we got them, was oblong very skinny discolored. Now they are laying regular brown eggs. Lastnight I went to shut them up in the coop, and they must already know the schedule now, because now they go in on their own, before I get there. Their coop is 5x8ft. the pen is 8x16 so I'm guessing plenty of room for 7 well now 6. I have to very large windows with chicken wire covering them, so their is fresh air, and ofcourse the door which they go in and out. When I went out there to to shut up the coop, one hen was in the box, I was thinking maybe she was laying, her mouth was open. I noticed their waterer was full of pine shavings so I stepped in, got the waterer cleaned it out, and set it above the nesting boxes on plywood. I don't know if maybe I scared her, but they are not scared anymore, when I first got them, they were weary around me, now they seem to be fine. I'm not sure really what happened, I did have some friends over on the 4th of july and were shooting fireworks, I don't know if this spooked the chickens or not. It looked to me as though the hen had a heart attack. Can hen's have issues laying an egg, and kill over like that. I looked her over on the outside to see if there was anything I could see that was abnormal and she looked fine on the outside. They are supposedly only 10 months old, however I'm new to all this. The place where we bought them, was very clean, they apparently raise and sell chickens, the coops were nice and clean, so I don't think it was a disease. I'm nervous now to eat the eggs, I ate the very first one, that was oblong, looked as though it might have been a stressed egg. The other chickens seem to be doing fine, though don't seem sick or anything, they're walking about normal like when I got them. Does anyone have any idea's of what might have happened to her. Any idea's would be greatly appreciated,

    Thanks,
    Christian
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello-

    What you describe regarding the eggs is totaly normal. A newly laying hen will sometimes give you some "funny" eggs. They might be a little mis-shapen, or wrinkly, or even a soft shell, but they are still OK to eat. I call them practice eggs. Once you hens settle down and accept you and their coop as their home, the eggs will come more frequently. They just need to get used to their new environment.

    As far as the hen goes, it may very well have had a heart attack, or if it's very hot, a heat stroke. Lots of fresh water and shade are really important as you know--even for yourself when it's hot.

    So, you can still eat your eggs.......enjoy them! Collect them regularly in this heat, and they should be just fine. I always crack my eggs in a small dish before I put them in a recipe, just to be safe.

    Glad you didn't give up on chickens after that first massacre you had!

    Sharon:)
     
  3. TasteLikeChicken

    TasteLikeChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    Odessa,Missouri
    yeah I am thinking she had a heart attack, I have tin covering the entire pen, so they have constant shade, everyone once in a while they'll see the sunlight, but only little bits. Its rather cool in their coop and pen, thats why its so shocking to me, I have a great location for their area, under a big tree, behind my garage with a tin roof, the pen I built it eight feet high, so the tin would'nt get too hot, and heat the pen. I did forget to say it was a production red hen, don't know if that makes a difference.

    What does cracking them in a dish do before you put them into a recipe.

    Thanks for the quick response!
    Quote:
     
  4. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    make sure you're not using cedar shavings - the oils and fumes can be toxic.

    I don't think the oblong egg is anything serious - mine lay odd shaped eggs on occassion. It happens. Some will always lay odd shaped eggs (and they are normally culled by production farms as those eggs aren't sellable). Stress could prevent them from laying as well as extreme heat. If the water was filled with shavings - she may not have been able to drink. Try hanging the waterer if you can - at a height where they can reach it without kicking bedding into it. This will help keep it clean. If the coop got hot, and the bedding was moist - amonia fumes could have also built up in the coop which would also be toxic - but it sounds as though you do have good ventillation. Damp bedding can cause lots of issues. I keep my waterer outside the coop in their run.

    A word of caution - just because the coops and hens look ok where you got them from, they could still have been sick. Probably not, but it is a possibility. Panting can be a sign of either heat exhaustion or a respritory problem. Animals tend to hide signs of illness as it's seen as a weakness - and showing weakness means being picked on by the others sometimes to the point of being killed - or eaten by somthing else. Most times, you don't notice until the illness has progressed.

    It is also possible that they are older hens. As they get older, the less they lay until they are about 4-5 and they don't lay at all. If they are 2-3+ years old - you'll probably only get one egg every 3-4 days or more from each of them. Telling the age of hens is difficult. ALso, if they are very young and really are only about 10 months - their bodies may not be in full swing yet - that also causes some egg issues and sporadic laying. Hard to tell.

    Do their eyes look clear ? Any discharge from or runny nose ? Do their poops look normal ? they can be runny or thick, small or large - and lots of things inbetween as long as they aren't bloody. I had found a chicken poop site with lots of pics, but can't recall where right now.

    Maybe someone else will have some better info for you.
     
  5. MomMommyMamma

    MomMommyMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The poop pic page lol, http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0

    Did
    not know about the cedar shavings being toxic. I bought a bag of shavings at TSC last week that just said "wood shavings". Now I'm wondering if it's safe to use...

    Yes ! That's It ! I found it very useful if not a bit strange LOL

    Yeah, I didn't really know either until about a year ago - but I've read about a lot of people who have had trouble with it .... and that it's not really recommended for use with small animals unless there is really good ventillation. Could be why my son's pet mice never did well. I used cedar to help with odor control. I know they don't live much more than a year or two tops anyway, but these poor guys were only living for about 6 months.

    I use the TSC wood shavings - I believe they are just pine. Cedar is reddish and very stiff - not soft like the pine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  7. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:
    To be sure they are fresh - if you crack an egg directly into the mix and it happens to be bad - you're whole mix is now headed to the garbage [​IMG]

    Also helps to catch any pieces of shell that sometimes fall in as well [​IMG]
     
  8. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    I think all living things need Sunlight. You may want to uncover a portion of the run so that they can get the sunlight that they need. They like to lay in the sun sometimes.

    I also agree that it doesn't matter how healthy a bird looks, they could still be sick. A bird doesn't show illness until it's almost too late to do anything.

    Have checked them for mites and lice? Those can kill fast.
     
  9. TasteLikeChicken

    TasteLikeChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    Odessa,Missouri
    Wow thanks for all the input, I'm still not sure what happened really. But I do know more now. I did'nt know that mites and lice can kill them, not sure if they have them, but I will check for sure. I will uncover a section of the pen for some sunlight, I kinda of hesitated when I was putting the last section on top of the pen. I guess I should have went with that gut feeling.
    I don't know if this is normal, but they seem to sit alot in the pen, like scratch out a spot in the soil and sit, and they'll sit for hours, like they do in the nesting box.
    I also put some hay in there, is that not good. Even though I put the tin on, it is still damp in the pen area, because the hay is wet, maybe that was a mistake putting that in there.
    When I had the 23 that got killed, I just had bare dirt, no hay, after they died. I had cut my lawn and it was very thick so I tossed some of that in the pen and now it's pretty much over the entire pen area. But when it rains, it stays wetter longer. I am not using cedar shavings, however I did not know it was harmful, so its good I know that. I use only pine shavings in the pen and thats it. I tried finding that food grade de, stuff you guys talk about on here. I went to orschelens and when I asked for it, they looked at me like I was an alien, when I asked them if they had it. They had no idea what it was, even one of the employees has tons of chickens, and he had never heard of it, he said he uses lyme, that does'nt sound too good, I would think that would be harmful to the chickens, so I did'nt try it. I read some different posts on here, that food grade de helps keep things dry, and is good to use if you use the deep litter method. So I have no idea where to find that stuff out here. There is a farm supply wholesaler in Kansas City, Missouri, I might call and ask them if they have it. I have been keeping fresh water in the pen, and I use apple cider vinegar. Thank you guys for all the info, everyone seem so nice on here.
     
  10. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    be sure to get some grit for them if they are being fed grass clippings
     

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