How to feed / care for a very sick hen

ManueB

Chirping
Sep 15, 2021
14
55
51
Is she still doing okay?
She is still alive, thanks for asking 🙂. The poor girl went into hard molt mode just a few days after starting to feel better, it was hard. She lost most of the feathers on her body and wings and she felt so bad... luckily the new feathers are growing very quickly so the worst is over.

She is unfortunately not healed. She is still very slow, stumbles sometimes, and often she seems to be struggling with something in her throat, she clicks her beaks and closes her eyes in pain. But she has a very good appetite, stays with the other hens, takes dust bath every day and works hard to stay on top of the pecking order by being a pain in the other girl's butts so she is obviously not ready to die.

Due to the molt we can't even touch her without having her scream to death and struggle wildly, so for now I'm just waiting until it's over to try either another dewormer or to get some antibiotics in her, although I'm very unsure of what is ailing her. Until then I'm giving her an egg with lentils every day and it does seem to help since her feathers are growing in so quick. I am hoping she pulls through it.
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BigBlueHen53

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Mar 5, 2019
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Well at least she is still alive, brave little hen! I have two questions for you. 1. Where you live, can you get commercial chicken feed, to provide her complete and balanced nutrition? If so, try to get her some with at least 18% protein to help with her molting.

And 2. Have you looked in her beak and down her throat to see if she has any canker in there? I understand she does not want to be handled now because she is molting, but before her molt, did you look?

Also I want to say, your English is perfectly fine! I feel very humbled, as English (I should say American) is my ONLY language! I am always amazed by people like you who do so well communicating in a language that is not your first language. Truly, if you had not told us, I would not have known! Well done!
 

ManueB

Chirping
Sep 15, 2021
14
55
51
You're very kind, but I have no merit, I lived for a year in the US as a teenager..but that was 30 years ago and in my current life I never talk english anymore! I still read a lot but it's not the same as having conversations 😬.

We do have access to commercial feed and they are given an organic layer feed with 18% protein. However this particular hen is very picky and she tends to eat only the grains she likes..and they will not eat the pellets.

And no, I didn't look down her throat before and we will as soon as she lets herself be held. I should have thought of it before because when she was very ill she kept shaking her head nervously.

Thanks again for your advice.
 

TheOddOneOut

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Feb 15, 2020
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You're very kind, but I have no merit, I lived for a year in the US as a teenager..but that was 30 years ago and in my current life I never talk english anymore! I still read a lot but it's not the same as having conversations 😬.

We do have access to commercial feed and they are given an organic layer feed with 18% protein. However this particular hen is very picky and she tends to eat only the grains she likes..and they will not eat the pellets.

And no, I didn't look down her throat before and we will as soon as she lets herself be held. I should have thought of it before because when she was very ill she kept shaking her head nervously.

Thanks again for your advice.
It’s a bad idea to just let her at the grains she likes - it will cause her to be malnourished.
 

ManueB

Chirping
Sep 15, 2021
14
55
51
It’s a bad idea to just let her at the grains she likes - it will cause her to be malnourished.
I know, I keep scolding her when I see her sorting out the pre-made mix but she doesn't listen 😁. More seriously we've tried several different brands of layer feed and whatever the mix they always seem to leave some part of it. The only trick I've found to make them eat everything in the layer feed, is to mix their left over in water until it turns into mash. Then they will eat that completely.
 

cherrynberry

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Premium Feather Member
Aug 2, 2020
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California
You're very kind, but I have no merit, I lived for a year in the US as a teenager..but that was 30 years ago and in my current life I never talk english anymore! I still read a lot but it's not the same as having conversations 😬.

We do have access to commercial feed and they are given an organic layer feed with 18% protein. However this particular hen is very picky and she tends to eat only the grains she likes..and they will not eat the pellets.

And no, I didn't look down her throat before and we will as soon as she lets herself be held. I should have thought of it before because when she was very ill she kept shaking her head nervously.

Thanks again for your advice.
I would check her over, entirely. I agree that your English is really good!

I would check her over when you get the chance. Do you always provide oyster shells on the SIDE? It should not be mixed in to feed, but should be in a seperate container where it cannot get wet. Also, do you feed whole grain that is not processed?

1.) Check her ear by pushing the feathers covering it. The ear is right above the earlobe and next to her eye. (Wyorp Rock told me how to)
2.) Check her vent, it should be fairly clean.
3.) Check her over for mites/lice. Check under wings and her vent.
4.) Check her mouth for any growth.
5.) Check if her crop empties in the morning (you never answered this question, I believe).
 

ManueB

Chirping
Sep 15, 2021
14
55
51
I would check her over, entirely. I agree that your English is really good!

I would check her over when you get the chance. Do you always provide oyster shells on the SIDE? It should not be mixed in to feed, but should be in a seperate container where it cannot get wet. Also, do you feed whole grain that is not processed?

1.) Check her ear by pushing the feathers covering it. The ear is right above the earlobe and next to her eye. (Wyorp Rock told me how to)
2.) Check her vent, it should be fairly clean.
3.) Check her over for mites/lice. Check under wings and her vent.
4.) Check her mouth for any growth.
5.) Check if her crop empties in the morning (you never answered this question, I believe).

I will check all of those.
I was able to get a good view on her vent and wings since she had no feathers left , she doesn't have any kind of parasites or eggs. Her vent is a bit dirty but since she still has runny poop I think that's the reason. And her crop does empty in the morning, I am able to feel it. So I really want to get a look in her throat, listen to her breath and look at the ears.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean concerning the food, it's whole grain that is partly milled into floor , partly in very small pieces. And they do have oyster shells and egg shells apart, but she never eats either.
 

cherrynberry

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Premium Feather Member
Aug 2, 2020
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I will check all of those.
I was able to get a good view on her vent and wings since she had no feathers left , she doesn't have any kind of parasites or eggs. Her vent is a bit dirty but since she still has runny poop I think that's the reason. And her crop does empty in the morning, I am able to feel it. So I really want to get a look in her throat, listen to her breath and look at the ears.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean concerning the food, it's whole grain that is partly milled into floor , partly in very small pieces. And they do have oyster shells and egg shells apart, but she never eats either.
Okay. So, for the food. I used to feed whole grain and it was a really bad idea. Here is why. If chickens are able to see what is in their food (seperately) they will pick out their favorite parts and leave the rest. I have never had a picky eater with pellets or crumble feed. What brand are you able to get to?
 

ManueB

Chirping
Sep 15, 2021
14
55
51
Hello! Coming back to give some unexpected good news, our hen Vanille is now completely healed! She is back to being the sassy, loud , mean queen of the coop (but so snuggly with us humans 🥰). After a complete molt she has totally changed her color and has new beautiful feathers. She has been laying again for three weeks now , not everyday, but without difficulty. Here is a picture of her chasing and eating a snake yesterday! We still can't believe how she reestablished when she was so ill. Thanks to everybody who tried to help with precious advice !
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