I don't know if they're scared or sick

AnonPaperclip

Songster
Apr 11, 2017
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I let out hens out this morning and all of them were acting weird. Usually as soon as I open the run, they all come out and immediately go for the bird feeder. This morning, they all seemed pretty spooked or something.

The first one out was one of our welsummers, and she walked pretty slowly. Her head was up high and she seemed like she was looking around and clucking. The other two welsums were hesitant on leaving the run, and one of them stayed by me for a long time.

Our White Rock is the one I'm the most worried about, though. She wouldn't move at all, instead staying in the middle of the run. She was panting, and after I was able to pick her up, I noticed she was regurgitating some clear fluid. It didn't smell like anything, and her crop seemed ok. Her heart was racing when I held her, and she's still panting.

Right now, she's hiding right in-between two trees and would occasionally stand up, tail down. The other three are back in the coop already, and usually they love staying out.
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I went to go check on them again in the middle of typing this. When I went out there, all three welsums were next to her, looking around. I was able to get her to eat some bite-sized pieces of grape, and she seemed to perk up a bit. They're her favorite treat. She got up and took a few steps away from me, and she looked like she was shaking. There's nothing coming out of her beak anymore.

There's no blockage in or around her butt, but there is some poop on her feathers right below it. Her comb is pale too. She's walking a bit weird, and I'm gonna try to get a video of it. I don't think she's egg bound because we've felt her abdomen and found nothing.

My best guess is that something startled them some time before I let them out, and honestly I hope it's just that and she'll be able to calm down and recover. None of the other hens are picking on her, and one of them gets really close and likes to stay be her side.
Another one of the welsums is standing still under a certain tree. She'll occasionally walk somewhere else or come to me if I have food, but she always goes back to the same tree in the same spot. Her head is drawn in and her tail is down.

We do have predators here, but there's no damage to the coop so I don't think anything went in and hurt them. Neither of the hens are bleeding as far as I can tell...
 

AnonPaperclip

Songster
Apr 11, 2017
175
145
142
I'd keep an eye on them throughout the day. It almost sounds like the response to an aerial predator.
Thanks
That would make sense since they're both hiding under things. There are hawks and vultures that fly around here sometimes. Maybe one tried to go for the coop and hit the chicken wire?

The WR is still laying between the trees and she seems pretty alert and interested in what's around her. The welsums just got up after being approached by the dominant hen and is now following the other two.
 

AnonPaperclip

Songster
Apr 11, 2017
175
145
142
I agree with @sourland , it does sound like t hey were scared by something in the air. After a hawk attack several years ago in which I lost one bird, the others took days to return to normal. They were traumatized and very spooked and refused to leave the covered run for days.
Poor things.. At least they aren't sick. Is there anything I can do to help, or should I just give them space and keep an eye on them?
 

coach723

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 12, 2015
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Keep an eye on them. If it's hot where you are the stress will just add to what they already have. Make sure they have plenty of fresh, cool water in places they are comfortable going to get it. If you can give them some places to hide, it may make them more comfortable (just make sure they can't be cornered).
 

Wyorp Rock

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Our White Rock is the one I'm the most worried about, though. She wouldn't move at all, instead staying in the middle of the run. She was panting, and after I was able to pick her up, I noticed she was regurgitating some clear fluid. It didn't smell like anything, and her crop seemed ok.
Just for giggles, check the White Rock's crop first thing in the morning before she's had anything to eat/drink to make sure it's emptying overnight.
 

AnonPaperclip

Songster
Apr 11, 2017
175
145
142
She's in the coop now where I guess she'd be more comfortable. When I put her in it, she walked around for a bit, pooped (it was runny and dark) and settled next to a wall by the door. I gave her the little water bowl and made sure she knew it was there.
 

AnonPaperclip

Songster
Apr 11, 2017
175
145
142
Keep an eye on them. If it's hot where you are the stress will just add to what they already have. Make sure they have plenty of fresh, cool water in places they are comfortable going to get it. If you can give them some places to hide, it may make them more comfortable (just make sure they can't be cornered).
Also, would it be normal for her to want to sleep in the area she hides in? The two hens who seem to be affected tend to close their eyes for like half an hour, then open them, look around (sometimes peck or scratch their beak on the dirt), move a bit, then rest again.
 

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