Lost two hens this week :(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Magpie, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. Magpie

    Magpie New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2007
    Hi everyone--

    I'm new here, and relatively new to owning chickens. We've had our little flock (4-6 hens, depending) for about two years now. In that time, we had one hen become eggbound---we worked with her, massaging her and keeping her warm as needed, and she recovered each time (and then somehow the coop door was left open...but that's another story). This week, two of our hens became eggbound, first time for each. Both died. We love our hens and are devastated. I'm wondering what we are doing wrong and if we are overfeeding, but I can't find any guidelines for how much to feed or how to tell if a hen is overweight (it's not like I can get a waist to hip ratio, or feel for their ribs). Any input would be very much appreciated--thanks in advance!
     
  2. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
    Illinois
    Well...here's what I was able to find:

    Some say:

    1) Too much Fat in their diet & too little exercise.

    2) Young pullets trying to pass a double yolk egg before the passage has become sufficiently dialated.

    3) Calcium and phosphorus deficiency {This one was mentioned by several different sources}

    I guess the least you can do is take care of #1 & #3....there is not much to do in the way of prevention for #2!



    Edited to say: They should have feed, grit, and oyster shell available 24/7. I have never seen anything that says this is related to over feeding!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  3. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for your loss.
     
  4. Magpie

    Magpie New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2007
    Thank you!!!! I should have said in my first post these were both "grown up" girls--one...hmm, let me think about this...we may have actually had them for three years, altogether. Anyway, one was at least two and the other about a year and a half old, both had been laying without incident (one pretty regularly, the other sporadically). What is "enough" exercise? We don't let them roam around (dogs we can put up, but the peacock is a problem) but their pen is 8 feet by 12 feet or so, and they hop on the roosts and run around and stuff. We did just have a big weather change this week--hot and dry (they have a theromstatically controlled fan) to cold and damp. They do enjoy lots of stuff from the kitchen--green goodies and whatever is in season in the garden, and occasionally they get spaghetti with meat sauce, which is their very favorite thing. I keep an eye on the carbs, though, I think, but maybe not enough?

    PS-They have feed available all the time, but I'll admit we've gotten kind of slack with the shell and grit. Would that contribute to the egg-binding???
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    It can be, newchickenmomandkids...
    If you're fat like me, you don't usually have good muscle tone...for instance, it took me 52 1/4 hours to push out my son...[​IMG]
    When they get to run around they burn off more calories than they take it, so their muscle tone is better.
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If you only have 4- 6 hens, I bet you are loving them too much with treats! I've had hundres of girls over the past decade and only a few egg bound issues... all with droped off "overloved" hens that got too many unhealthy treats like cracked corn. They usually lose about a half pound/pound after they get here and start moving much quicker once they get used to the free raninging low junk food diet.

    If they are getting lots of treats, maybe cut down on them unless they are fresh greens or fruit.

    My birds only get cracked corn when temps drop into the mid 40's at night and house scraps witch are primarly fruit and veggie end pieces and rice.

    Another issue could be that if you are having that many egg bound problems, is the particular strain of bird you area getting. It could be genetics if it is the same line of birds that keep getting egg bound.

    You can tell if your hen is fat if you can see yellow on their bums or fell really soft when you pick them up. When I pick up fat hens, they are chunky and kind of squishy on the body. Leaner hens are heavy but you can feel the muscle on their brest bones.
     
  7. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    IMHO....I think it is more related to diet.....if it were me...I would cut out fatty treats and increase calcium and phosphorus for a while...
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Hehe, 3 responses in the same minute. Your pen is big enough but maybe you have lazy birds? Maybe being chaced by the peacock will give them some more excercise! [​IMG]

    How much spagetti are they getting? Like, for example, my 30 or so birds all share two large bowls of goodies every day, but only about three cups of it is palatable for them to actually eat... the rest is for the compost. It's possible you are giving too many empty calories to them but doesn't really seem like it. Do you have free choice oyster shell? That will help with the calcium.
     
  9. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also...just an FYI:

    Calcium and Phosphorus work together to do their nutritional job. It will be no good to provide one if they are lacking in the other.
     
  10. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    D3 is also essential... with birds of this age I would give them a good general supplement like Avia Charge 2000 and also a round of POLYVISOL (childrens liquid A-B-D liquid vitamins) ... three drops in beak once a day for a week then taper off (the Avia Charge will be a source of the calcium/phosporus in the correct ratio to each other)...
    Offer them live culture yogurt free choice.
     

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