Is my old hen suffering ?


11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
Olympia WA
I posted more about my situation in flock management--"new flock/old flock...". I had a flock of 8 and 9 year old hens, two got very ill over the winter. Fortunately I have a neighbor who is willing to put them down for me.

I have three left, and the consensus here has been that I should integrate the old flock with my new ones (currently 3 1/2 weeks old). One of the last 3 hens has been feeling quite under the weather for a while (months off and on, now all the time). She just sits around a lot. At times she seems rather active, and will come for treats, but most of the time she just lays or perches, with her tail down. I've looked her over, she isn't light, and there is nothing obviously wrong. Of course she is very sweet and sociable, my favorite hen. The other two are very healthy, one even lays eggs!

I don't want to prolong her suffering, and I don't want to integrate her if there is a chance of spreading something to the new flock. But I'm happy to leave her be if she is just plain old. Would love some insight into her situation.
I doubt that she has anything contagious, and she might be able to help teach the youngsters a few pointers when you integrate them. I would make sure the young ones are close in size when you do that. Keeping them separated, but able to see each other through some fencing is useful before combining. As long as she is eating and drinking, and getting around, I would let her enjoy her last days. They will usually let you know when the time comes. If they stop eating and getting around, they may start getting pecked by the others. You must be doing something right with chickens that age.
Thanks so much Eggcessive, she does seem like she would be good with the young ones, she has been very "motherly". She also has diarrhea a lot, reminded of that today. The other hens are very good with her, they all hang out and roost together, no pecking. So I'll let her be for now and keep an eye on things.

I'm going to section off a corner of the run tomorrow and put the chicks in there for a while, so we'll so how that goes over, I'm sure the older ones won't be too happy about that. The chicks really need to start getting out of the brooder, acting like crazy monsters.

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