Lilly, my one year old hen, still hasn't laid any eggs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by pinnih, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. pinnih

    pinnih New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2017
    Portugal, Europe
    Hi there fellow chicken lovers

    I have a one year old white hen called Lilly. She is a mixed breed, large hen. There are actually two concerns I have with Lilly. One is that she still hasn't laid a single egg. But more worrying to me, in the last month she has started sitting down a lot. It is as if her legs are tired all the time. Apart from this she seems in good health. She eats well, she roosts, she isn't doing anything weird with her head, she walks around a bit and our other chickens are not exhibiting any similar symptoms. She does does however still look a bit like a teenage hen, tall and a bit slim, not like a fully matured hen.
    I feed them soaked wheat grains, lots of cabbage (from our garden, which they love), all kitchen scraps, a general pellet hen feed I buy from the agricultural shop and in the afternoon they free range.
    My suspicion is that Lilly has a big helping of the local breed of chicken bred especially for meat eating and that she is now unable to support her weight.
    Is there anything I can do or feed her to strengthen her bones or muscles?
    Or does someone out there have an alternative diagnosis for what might be wrong with Lilly.

    Thanks so much for reading this thread.
    best wishes
    pinnih

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  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    She looks like a Cornish rock. They are only good for eating.
     
  3. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't have experience with meat birds, but that could explain why she isn't as active as your other chickens. How big is the area your chickens free range in? Is it possible she's laying outside the coop and just hiding her eggs really well?
     
  4. pinnih

    pinnih New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2017
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    Hi Chameleon
    Thanks for the reply. There is no limit on the free range area but they mostly stay around the house. I did wonder if she was laying somewhere outside the run but I kept my eye on her and I don't think she is.
     
  5. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    By the photo and your description, it does seem that she is from a line a chickens bred for meat production. Such breeding in no way encourages laying and egg production is typically very poor, which may explain your lack of eggs so far. The sitting down issue also indicates a meat production lineage, because poultry bred for that purpose are bred to grow as fast as possible and pack on as much weight as possible as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this means that if the chicken is allowed to carry on and live its life, it develops health issues, often cardiac (heart attacks) and muscoloskeletal disorders.

    If you're planning to hang on to Lilly and let her live her life, you may actually have to monitor her eating more closely. Meat birds actually can eat themselves to death, continually gorging and putting on so much weight that they really can't maintain activity, and sometimes losing the ability to walk. It can also cause arthritis in their legs, again inhibiting their mobility and making the situation worse. Keeping them mobile and monitoring food consumption can prolong their lives and improve their quality of life, but it may take some serious vigilance, especially if they are part of a flock that has free access to a feeder. However, I have seen some very dedicated folks do it and give some meat birds a few years of good range life, so it is possible.
     
  6. pinnih

    pinnih New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2017
    Portugal, Europe
    Dear Red Drgn
    Thanks for the information. Very helpful. My hens do not have free access to a feeder. I feed them limited quantities through out the day and the rest they must free range for. Actually I was worried that I'm not feeding Lilly enough because she is not a fat hen at all, and I thought maybe I had under fed her (my other hens are nice and stocky but not fat) and caused the weakness through not enough feeding. I have been thinking of taking her for a little walk each day (carrying her down to the veggie garden and letting her walk back to the house) and trying to build her muscle strength up that way. So what you are saying supports this. I also feel that having her a bit hungry encourages her to free range and thus walk about. I would be interested to know if there is anything specific I can include in her diet to strengthen her skeleton.
    Thanks again
    best best
    pinnih
     
  7. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    Calcium, certainly. Layer hens typically do need a little extra calcium in their diets, so including oyster shell or ground up (cooked) egg shells in feed would be beneficial for bones as well as egg production. If you have access to a scale, it may be a good idea to weigh her and start keeping a record (weekly or bi-weekly) log of her weight to help track progress.
     
  8. pinnih

    pinnih New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2017
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    GOOD NEWS! Lilly has laid her first egg ever! The egg on the left is an egg as we know it. The.. well.. egg on the right is Lillys first! (And hopefully not her last!!)[​IMG]
     
  9. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    It's a easter miracle. Congratulations!
     
  10. pinnih

    pinnih New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2017
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    Thanks Eggbert!
     

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