Hen not laying....

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by birdgirl408, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. birdgirl408

    birdgirl408 Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my Buff Orpingtons hasn't laid for appx 10 days (I think). I don't always know who has laid and who hasn't, not being able to keep watch on them all day. She is my biggest hen, over 5Kg (10lb 3oz). She is about 18 mos old and has laid quite well up until recently. The other hens are all ok and laying well. Her comb and wattles are pale, she eats and drinks ok, but she is quite low down in the pecking order, I can't tell if she is eggbound, and if she was would she have deteriorated quicker than 10 days?

    They all have a good and varied diet, layers pellets, and veggies (not got much grass at the moment). They have mealworms and sunflower hearts as treats and porridge for breakfast most mornings, which will drop off as the weather gets warmer. Night time they have a mix of wheat, peas, corn just while its cold. They have just had three days of Gro2Max.

    I am getting really worried now as perhaps I should have done something sooner [​IMG]?

    Please can you advise or suggest anything or should I just leave her and watch and wait, or will a vet visit be necessary? Thanks in advance for any help you can give. [​IMG]
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    If she were egg bound she would have died after about 48hours, but it doesn't hurt to check her. Glove up and put a lubricated finger in her vent about an 1" and see if you feel an egg.
    How does her abdomen feel? Is it swollen, hard, etc?
    It could be possible she is going to go through a molt.
    Any other symptoms? Laying day alot, puffed up, lethargic, limping, standing like a penguin, etc.?
    http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2012/06/egg-bound-hens-how-to-recognize-treat.html
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/07/chicken-egg-binding-causes-symptoms.html
     
  3. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If a hen is egg bound, she will walk around SUPER upright... almost like a penguin.

    [​IMG]

    She may also appear to be straining to pass something.

    If you haven't seen any of that, my first inclination would be external parasites. They can really knock a chicken back. Have you checked her from comb to vent for any lice, mites, or nits at the base of the feathers around her vent? If so, I would recommend dusting your entire flock with Sevin dust once every seven days for three weeks.

    If you see no external parasites, it could be internal parasites. When was the last time you wormed your flock? If it's been a while, rain and warmer temps (like we've been getting in our part of the country - I assume you are in the US) are perfect for oocytes to lay dormant until a poor chicken pecks it up. Valbazen liquid goat wormer is my go-to for worming.

    Give her a good check up when you look at her for mites/lice. Do you feel any lumps in her abdomen? Like @Wyorp Rock asked, does she feel "full" and squishy like a water balloon or swollen and hard? Do you feel any hard masses around her vent area (especially on the left side)?

    I feel like 10lbs may be a little heavy for laying hen. Orps are big birds, but a female should be around 7-8lbs... It may help your mama if you put your flock on a little diet.

    Depending on the season and your location, molting is also a possibility. Seen anyone blowing feathers lately?

    MrsB
     
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  4. birdgirl408

    birdgirl408 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oooh thank you for all your tips and suggestions. Firstly, I am in the UK. Tuppence, my hen, seems normal in all ways. No parasites inside or out (been recently wormed with Flubenvet), she walks normally. Will do an internal examination this morning, but she does feel 'firm' on both sides of her vent, but she is a big girl. Thanks again for all the info, you are all so helpful on here! [​IMG]
     
  5. birdgirl408

    birdgirl408 Out Of The Brooder

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    Also, Tuppence hasn't been straining or even trying to lay an egg. Anyways, carrying on with checking her. [​IMG]
     
  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I love her name, so unique.
    Is she and English Orpington perhaps that is why she is so heavy compared to the one's we get here in the States?
    Anyway, pardon my rambling, If she still seems a bit off, can you separate her within the run -like a large dog kennel with her own food and water (a little vitamin water won't hurt) and see how she does. If she is low in pecking order, she may not be getting quite enough, this is a great way to monitor how much they actually eat and drink, see how they poo, etc. - I would do the layer pellets and of course let her have a little veggies - don't want her to be completely left out. Then before bed, feel her crop, let her go to bed with the others and then check her first thing in the morning, just to make sure she is processing her food well.
    I have found a large kennel (wire dog cage) set up in the run works very well to separate one if needed, but she is still "part" of the flock. All my girls usually hang out by the one in "jail".

    Note: I just use this method if it's an injury, processing food question, etc. If you have a girl with a suspected contagious illness, etc., you would want to remove her from the flock to an isolated area.
     
  7. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The sunflower hearts... Are those roasted and salted, by chance? Or are they raw? I have heard oils can be bad for chickens. Just wondering.

    From the Wikipedia page on UK Standard English Orpingtons:

    Chickens that are heavier than they need to be make me very nervous.

    Please read this: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/chickens-obesity-silent-killer-how-to.html

    How are her poops?

    MrsB
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Good information to know!
    My two BO girls are fluffy and look heavy, (never have weighed them), but they feel light compared to my Barred Rocks, but those girls aren't as fluffy and feel "solid". Now my BO boy is a different story he has a bit of heft to him but he is quite large even in stance.

    Good question about the sunflower hearts. I do treat mine Black Oil Sunflower/Safflower mix, but it amounts to about 1 1/2 tsp per bird. The mix is 14%protein and I feed a 20%protein all flock crumble. Occasionally they get a smidge of cracked corn. The only other thing(s) they get are weeds, veggies and fruit. I don't free range, so I do worry about them getting fat, but they stay fairly active/busy during the day, but I try to add something different to the run on a regular basis like pine needle & leaves, or take a pitchfork and turn the dirt, or even add more dirt so they have something to scratch through.
     
  9. birdgirl408

    birdgirl408 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all your replies folks. The vet thinks my Tuppence is ok weight wise, but she said - no bigger!!! They all free range and they get quite a bit of exercise. The sunflower hearts I give are not roasted or salted!!! They only get a few now from time to time, their main treat is mealworms. They get fresh veggies - they aren't keen on fruit so much. I think she is coming in to lay again, her comb and wattle are reddening up and she squats. Her poops are a little wet some times but otherwise normal. Yup she is and English Orpington.

    She was called Tuppence because I had a chook that died whose name was Penny. I liked the name but couldn't call her Penny or Penny 2, so hence Tuppence she became. (Old English money for two pence of course!!)

    I do believe, in hindsight she may have become a little broody a few weeks back. I had to keep tipping her out of the nest box as she stayed far too long on her egg each time! She is a first time layer, so that may have been the problem. She is fine now in all respects, fingers crossed.

    Btw thanks for the link, am just going to read it now.
     
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Glad to hear she is doing well!
    From your description it does sound like is about the begin laying.
    Well wishes to you and Tuppence[​IMG]
     

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