Is my old hen dying?! Please advise!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by birdonahat, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. birdonahat

    birdonahat New Egg

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    Hello, I need advice!
    My 7 year old Delaware Frida has been sleeping on the floor of the coop and not roosting with the other girls, who are a group of 3 young Australorps with which she gets along well. About 2 weeks ago we had to euthanize our other Delaware hen, who was Frida's companion since chickhood. Frida has always been the top chicken in the group so I am fairly sure she is not being bullied and we have a very roomy double perch for these gals. During the day they all act normally and there is no pecking or bullying. The older girls always separated themselves in the yard from the younger Australorps to a certain extent but they always roosted together until Frida's friend died.
    I am concerned that she is isolating herself, especially since the weather is very cold and she is sleeping far from the heatlamp. I have tried putting her on the roost in the night so she will stay warm but when I check later she is on the floor again. She eats well and seems normal during the day but my hubby fears she may suddenly become ill like her freind did. Is she sick? Can she be grieving her companion? Please help, I dont want her to be suffering. Thank you!
     
  2. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I have never known a chicken to grieve for another before. If she's still eating well then all you can do is wait for the moment, and observe more. If she stops eating and drinking, then she is sick, and also when she wont get off the ground. She could be grieving but its very unlikely they can. She may be developing an illness.
     
  3. birdonahat

    birdonahat New Egg

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    Thanks for your thoughts! I am new here and really thought I'd get a little more response than 40 views and only one person kind enough to reply, so I appreciate you responding.
     
  4. SilkiesForEver

    SilkiesForEver Overrun With Chickens

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    It does sound like she is grieving. [​IMG] Here's what I would do. I would separate her, in a smaller place (Like a dog crate, or a smaller coop) with lots of clean bedding, and plenty of food and water, and a heatlamp. Give her TONS of treats. Like, tomato, banana, mealworms, scrambled egg (My sick birds wil eat this up like there's no tomorrow!) and anything else yummy that she will eat up.
    Please keep us updated. [​IMG]
     
  5. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays Premium Member

    Hi, I don't think Frida is grieving, but at 7 years old she is getting pretty old. If she has always roosted until recently, I would think sleeping in the floor could be a sign something is wrong whether sickness or old age.

    Sorry I can't be more help.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never heard of or seen a chicken grieve for another. Recently one of my chickens died and her closest companion who has been with her since they were chicks didn't display any of this behaviour. In fact, she didn't even seem to notice. She could be ill or it could just be that's she getting old and has had enough.
     
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    This is a sound observation. She may be on the downhill slope, but it does not sound as if she is suffering. Your question is actually hard to address because any reply is conjecture at best. Many will not reply because they are reluctant to give input which may be invalid.
     
  8. SilkiesForEver

    SilkiesForEver Overrun With Chickens

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    My old hens "sister" died and they were the oldest in the flock. The remaining hen became ostracized, and began to not do the things the other hens were doing (Roosting on the bar, she wasn't eating at the same time, and she wouldn't free range with them).
     
  9. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're right, SilkiesForEver. Whatever the problem is, treats and attention will make her feel better - especially mealworms!
    [​IMG] Hope she's OK.
     
  10. birdonahat

    birdonahat New Egg

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    Thanks so very much! My vet, who is an avian vet, also thinks she may be grieving. I will take your advice and see how she does. I really appreciate it.
     

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