Hen not eating, losing weight

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
719
1,333
188
Southern Minnesota
Hen is a 3 1/2 year old ISA Brown. Her name is Gwyneth, and she is the top hen of a flock of other mixed breeds. She is the oldest of the current bunch.

Some history....she stopped laying about 10 months ago. Her comb shrunk back down, and her legs returned to a yellow color, like they were before she started laying at maturity. She is a very feisty hen, and has a history of being a tyrannical lead hen, and you can read all about that in some of my previous threads. That said, she is the boss, but has mellowed out quite a bit over the last year.

Fast forward to now. Gwyneth has been acting off now for about 10-14 days. I was letting them all out for supervised free ranging every afternoon. I think she has a tendency to eat a little too much grass, and seemed to get a bit of impacted crop about 10 days ago when her symptoms started. She began acting a bit lethargic, but not all day, just a different periods of the day, and was standing with the typical head down, tail down demeanor. She just wasn't participating in normal events. I also noticed that she wasn't eating much if at all. In fact, she has lost about 1 pound of weight over the last 10-14 days. Her highest weight was 4.7lbs, and she is currently down to 3.8 as of this morning.

As mentioned, she doesn't seem to be eating much, and I have noticed that she often goes to roost with very little in her crop. And actually, that has been going on all summer, and as we start moving into winter, had me concerned already. That said, there are never any or very very little dropping under her spot on the roost, and I often find that her crop has not completely emptied. Maybe it is just slow crop, or something else.

Like I said, she doesn't spend all day lethargic, just periods of the day. When she isn't acting lethargic, she is scratching in the run, digging out giant holes, dust bathing, preening..etc....all normal things, but she just doesn't appear to want to eat anything. As I write this, she is vigorously dust bathing.

She also went through a full molt a few weeks ago, and now has the nicest coat of feathers I have seen on her in quite a long time. And when I look her over, there are still a few pin feathers coming in around her neck, but not very many, mainly filling in maybe for winter?

Anyway, I'm perplexed as to how to handle her right now. Our temperatures will be dropping soon enough, and I know how important it is for them to go to roost with full crops. Her recent behavior of going to roost without eating is concerning enough, but her general lack of appetite is causing her to lose a lot of weight.

Any ideas on what is going on here, and how to tackle it?
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
719
1,333
188
Southern Minnesota
I should mention too...that she does eat. I feed them all Purina Flock Raiser. But when she eats it, she is picking out only certain grains from the mix. Seems like she is picking out the little corn pieces, rather than just eating it as is, and she doesn't get much food this way. If I make some scrambled eggs for her, she will gobble that up completely.
 

rayrose

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
361
483
141
Columbia, SC
My Coop
My Coop
She may be at the end of her laying days. 3 1/2 years is
about it for a sex linked bird. Maybe you could mix in the
Flock Raiser with the scrambled eggs, in order for her to
get more nutrition.
 

Sequel

Enabler
6 Years
Feb 17, 2015
5,098
27,021
1,047
Kitsap County, Western Washington
I’m sorry your hen isn’t feeling well. Since she ate the scrambled eggs I would try making some mush with the Flock Raiser. I have had hens not feel well during molt and mashed up Flock Raiser gave them a little boost till they felt better. I sure hope things turn around for the both of you. Good luck!
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
719
1,333
188
Southern Minnesota
I’m sorry your hen isn’t feeling well. Since she ate the scrambled eggs I would try making some mush with the Flock Raiser. I have had hens not feel well during molt and mashed up Flock Raiser gave them a little boost till they felt better. I sure hope things turn around for the both of you. Good luck!
I have tried that, and she is a little more interested in the mash. If I mix the scrambled eggs into it, she will just pick out the scrambled egg. She's being very picky.

She is drinking water, in case anyone is wondering about that. Seems to be mainly food issues right now, and getting enough food to sustain herself.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
719
1,333
188
Southern Minnesota
So I did give her wet mash with scrambled eggs last night before they roosted, and she did what I thought she would do. She picked out all the scrambled egg, though I'm sure she got some mash as well.

This morning, her crop was still full, and there was no poop below where she roosted. So I'm thinking slow crop, probably due to some underlying issue.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
719
1,333
188
Southern Minnesota
She's still with us, though there has been no improvement. She is still suffering from what I will say is a slow crop...a very slow crop. She's just not processing food very well. Her crop is always full, and there are little if no dropping beneath the roost at night.

I decided to worm her, since she has had issues with that in the past. She's on day 5 of the treatment, using Safeguard, and no improvement.

As I mentioned before, she is not completely lethargic. She has moments throughout the day where she is standing in a corner with her eyes closed, but I do see her preening, scratching at the ground, drinking water...etc..at other times.

I just don't now what to do for her at this point.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
719
1,333
188
Southern Minnesota
She's noticeably more "absent" today from normal chicken activities. She is just lying down in the run most of the day, with eyes closed. She's clearly struggling, and I know it may lead to having to ease her suffering.

I'm reluctant to do so, since I really don't know what is ailing her. She is still coming out of molt, and her feathers right now are the nicest they have been in over 2 years. I looked her over real well, and I see pin feathers on her head near the comb, and around her vent. She has been molting for about a month, but I thought she was done when all these other issues started.

Her crop is still not empty in the morning, and very little poop, if any, beneath where she roosts overnight.

I have separated her for now, and am watching more closely if she is pooping or not. I did see her drink some water when I put her in the cage, so she's not completely avoiding things. If I give her scrambled egg, she will eat that immediately. But with her crop not clearing, I'm not sure that is helping her.

I wormed her a week ago, just to rule that out, and there was no change after five days of that.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
719
1,333
188
Southern Minnesota
Ok. So I caged her away from the flock for the night, so I can observe better what she does. I offered her scrambled eggs tonight, but this time she was not interested. I I gave her a dose is nutri-drench. She did poop twice, and it looked fairly normal, though it seemed to mostly sand. I think she has been eating a lot that for some reason.

As I mentioned before, she does sometime drink. Her crop this evening is full of water.

anyine have any thoughts about this?
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom