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I love my Alpha hen but she needs help and doesn't like being touched.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by firehog, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. firehog

    firehog Chirping

    Jul 27, 2009
    My poor Stacey, one of the meanest ugliest mutt hens I have ever seen, queen of the flock, rules the coop with an Iron Beak has fallen ill.

    She is molting now and the temperature is in the twenties. I have a new coop that is draft free but not yet insulated so I put a small heater in there tonight and hopefully the 12 chickens can keep fairly warm.

    I noticed Stacey always had an awkward gait, especially when she was chasing after the 6 younger pullets but now that she has lost her feathers down to bare skin in places, I noticed something very unusual on her left side along her neck. It looks like a bone is protruding out along her neck about where a human would have a collar bone. It is grotesque looking but does not seem to affect her ability to turn her head though she keeps it lower than the rest of the hens.

    She is friendly to me, runs up when she sees me when they are free ranging and eats out of my hands like they all do..BUT... she does not like being touched.

    Last night I had to see if the thing protruding from her neck was a cyst so I just picked her up and she just started screaming in protest and was quite wing-flappy to get out of my grasp. I wanted to feel the protrusion but just couldn't get her to calm down so I let her go not to further stress her. She is already quite weak from the molting .

    So, I see a lot of people talking about how they are examining their chickens, especially vent problems and checking for lice but no one has mentioned how they get them to hold still for this. I don't think the average chicken would tolerate this handling anyway, so is there a sedative of some sort to calm them down so they can be examined?

    I live alone so don't have anyone to help hold her still while I see if this growth is something fluid that I could drain with a needle. I was watching her real close on the roost tonight and the growth looks to be hard and she kept shaking her neck but that might be due to her new pinfeathers coming in, maybe they itch. I just hope she is not in pain. She is not making any noises.

    So, the main question is, how do I calm her down so I can pick her up and examine her? Someone had mentioned putting a sock over their head to quiet them

  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    i am by no means and expert.........but when i have one like that, i try to rub the ear lobes, and or wattles and they usually relax.
    you kinda have to hold them good til they calm down and i cant promise it will work......but you can try [​IMG]
    Good Luck and hopefully someone will have a better idea [​IMG]
  3. kjk

    kjk In the Brooder

    Jun 29, 2009
    zionsville, indiana
    i have a few that HATE being held/confined in any way. so when i have to do any sort of inspection i try to catch them and then find a place to sit with them and wait for them to calm down. i typically hold them like a football (tucked between my arm and side), heads facing the same direction as mine or on my lap facing me. i have found that they are calmer if they can see me and what i am doing. sometimes it takes a while for them to calm down but you being calm also helps the situation.

    best of luck [​IMG]

  4. redkan

    redkan Songster

    May 15, 2008
    Central Maine
    I hold their wings to their sides against my body and if they still don't calm down I cover their eyes/head with a cupped hand. Essentially this is the same idea as the sock and it does seem to work.

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