Learning the Chicken Dance again after 44 years


In the Brooder
Jul 27, 2021
Hi I'm Edith. My family raised a flock of about 25 chickens when I was a child. We stopped when I was about 10 years old. I have been trying to talk my husband into getting some chickens for some time now. I acquired a coop and 5 laying hens 5 weeks ago. This flock has been weird, to say the least, since the very beginning. In the 39 days since I got them; it took them 11 days to lay the first 2 eggs, which were broken. Since then they have layed a total of 21 eggs. Out of the 21 eggs, 13 were broken, 6 of which were soft shelled. Only 8 of them were perfectly perfect. 13 days after I got the chickens, I acquired a 5 week old rooster. Because he is so small I keep him in a separate run during the day and bring him inside at night. 26 days in, a hen, who had been healthy the day before, was sick with diarhea and very lathargic. After lots of research and doing all that I knew, she passed away 7 days later. The day after she passed, I noticed that my little red hen had what looks like a wet chin, like she is drooling down her neck and her belly is rubbed bare. Otherwise she appears very healthy. No fleas or mites. Then she starts laying soft shell eggs. She lays 3 in the nest, then she has one breaks while laying, there is signs of blood in the nest and she has a part of the soft shell hanging from her vent, which she releases about 5 minutes after I notice it. Last night just as she was going on to roost, I noticed that she had what appeared to be prolapse. Today the prolapse is gone. She appears to be healthy again with the exception of a now bare neck and stomach. Around her vent appears to be new pin feathers.

I live in Oregon where we had very hot temperatures in the 100's recently. They layed their first two eggs on the hottest day. Then we had a week of weather that was in the 70's. Is it possible that the extreme temps forced the little hen into molting. I was told that she is about 2 years old. She and her larger twin is 2, a brooder that is 4 and 2 more that are 3. It was one of the 3 year olds that passed.

So am I wrong in thinking that all of these occurances are weird? I realize that I inherited them after their prime egg production, but I didnt expect all of these issues so soon into being reintroduced to raising a flock.

Thanks for any insight that you might have.

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