Laying Pullet Has Tail Pointed Down. Need Ideas for How to Help Her.

ravensnow

Songster
Mar 7, 2019
116
321
153
Urban SW Pennsylvania
Thanks for helping.

My 29-week-old Favaucana (Easter Egger) pullet, Celestine, has had her tail pointing aggressively down yesterday and this morning. She started laying eggs on November 7, and all the eggs we've found have been perfect and petite, with no issues. One other of her sisters is also laying. She and her sisters were vaccinated for Marek's at hatch and raised by a friend-of-a-friend for their first 4.5 weeks, far away from our flock, so the vaccine should be properly effective for her.

Here's what we've noticed. I'd appreciate any information you all have about how to help her.

Yesterday (observed for several hours, both during supervised free range and while in the run)
  • Tail down seems to be the only difference from normal.
  • Food and water intake - same as normal. We didn't squeeze her crop before bedtime, but we saw her foraging.
  • Poop - A poop we saw was so-so. It was the same color as normal, but wetter. Sort of halfway between the flat splat of diarrhea and the mound of a normal poop.
  • Egg - We think she did not lay yesterday. We had only one green egg in the nesting box, and saw her laying sister go into the boxes.
  • Walk - After I searched for possible causes of her tail droop, I thought that maybe she was walking with a slight waddle, but it really could have just been in my head.
  • Stance - definitely normal, outside the tail. She was not standing like a penguin or runner duck.
  • Attitude - normal. Not fluffed, huddled, lethargic, or anything outside the ordinary.
  • Social cues - normal. No one was avoiding her, or attacking her. When we checked on her in the night, she was interfiled on the roost bar with the two 1.5-year-old Orpington hens who are the two top chickens of our flock.
  • Vent - not pulsating or pumping.
  • Physical inspection - I did an external squeeze check only, but I didn't feel anything amiss. There was no hard mass that I though could be an egg. Her belly was not swollen. She didn't complain when I touched anywhere in particular.
This Morning (just quick checks on her so far)
  • Tail is still down.
  • Crop - totally flat/empty this morning.
  • Poop - she had one normal poop we observed
  • Enthusiasm for treats - same as normal; ran back to her coop when my partner rang the treat bell
  • Enthusiasm for outside time/foraging - same as normal; went outside with everyone else and began pecking and scratching at the ground.
  • Egg - no eggs from anyone so far today, and none on the poop board from overnight. (We were really hoping she was just dealing with a soft-shelled egg that was pass in the night, but no luck there.)
  • Vent - not pulsating or pumping.
  • Physical inspection - I did an external squeeze check only, but I didn't feel anything amiss. There was no hard mass that I though could be an egg. Her belly was not swollen. She didn't complain when I touched anywhere in particular. Maybe the area around her vent was a little puffy, but she had just had a poop, but it was so minor that I can't be sure it was actually puffy or not.
The picture is Celestine this morning standing in the middle, flanked by her two Favaucana sisters with the normal upright tails.
20201123_080155.jpg
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
62,411
55,383
1,322
southern Ohio
You could check for a stuck egg by inserting a clean finger into her vent 1-2 inches. If you find no egg, then continue to watch her. You could offer a half of a calcium tablet in a bit of cooked egg yolk. How often does she lay eggs?
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
62,411
55,383
1,322
southern Ohio
Hopefully, she will be okay. I would not feed a lot of treats or extras, and just make sure that she is eating her layer feed and water. If she seems overweight, that can cause egg binding.
 

ravensnow

Songster
Mar 7, 2019
116
321
153
Urban SW Pennsylvania
Hopefully, she will be okay. I would not feed a lot of treats or extras, and just make sure that she is eating her layer feed and water. If she seems overweight, that can cause egg binding.
Thank you. I hope so, too. She still has all her regular joie de vivre. We'll do an internal egg check if nothing changes by the time we're finished with work.
 

ravensnow

Songster
Mar 7, 2019
116
321
153
Urban SW Pennsylvania
Celestine seems alright now. The solution seemed to be to treat for coccidiosis. Here's what happened.

November 22 - Celestine had her tail comically pointed down. No egg laid
November 23 - Celestine's tail was still aggressively pointed down. Observing her closely throughout the day made us notice that her same-age sister Persephone was a little bit puffed up and seemed to occasionally be falling asleep on her feet. We decided to treat for coccidiosis and gave them water dosed at 2 teaspoons of Corid per gallon for the next five days. No egg from Celestine, and Persephone isn't laying yet.
November 24 - Persephone seemed back to normal. Celestine still had her tail pointed down. No egg laid. We brought her inside and tried to give her a warm Epsom salt bath, but she wouldn't sit low enough to submerge her vent. Some of her beautiful beard has been plucked out! :(
November 25 - No real changes. We had a super scary hawk visit that scared everyone, but no one was hurt or attacked.
November 26 - Celestine's tail was higher. Halfway between her normal upright tail position and the abnormal down position.
November 27 - Her tail was ever so slightly higher, and she laid an egg again.
...
December 1 - Her tail is completely back to normal, and she's laying regularly again. We're following the Corid treatment for 7-14 days of 0.5 teaspoons of Corid per gallon of water b/c her 1.5-year-old molting flockmate is having abnormal poops consistent with suffering from coccidiosis, so she doesn't seem over it yet.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom