MY HEN HAS BEEN QUIET FOR WEEKS

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JReece, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. JReece

    JReece New Egg

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    Jan 16, 2016
    Please help! I have 3 Shuttlepoot bantams that are about 5 years old. Over Christmas I noticed one was very quiet, not eating, comb was pale and shrunken. We kept her in the house for about a week and would practically force feed her until she started eating for herself again. She seemed to pick up so we started putting her out for a few hours but still bringing her in at night. When we went back to work 2 weeks ago we started leaving her out with the others again, as we can't be here in the day to let her out and it is dark by the time we get home. She is still very quiet compared to the others and although her comb is redder now it is still fairy small. She comes out with the others but is very quiet and stays close to the coop. Also, she stays very scrunched up with her head tucked down. We did think she may have an impacted crop but my husband is convinced it is her neck bone protruding forward due to the way she keeps her head so scrunched in. She is passing poos and eating so there doesn't seem to be a problem with her digestive system plus she's been like this for about 4 weeks now. Not sure what to do, could this just be old age? The other two, that were bought at the same time / same age, are still very sprightly. We did buy 2 pekin bantams in about September but they have settled in well with the others.

    Last Saturday they were all out pecking around and it started to rain so the rest all headed back in to the coop but she just sat there. It was hammering down with rain and she was drenched but just still stayed there so I bought her back in for the evening again.

    Any suggestions / advice gratefully received. I'm reluctant to take her to the vets as it is so expensive but obviously want to help her.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Has she molted yet. They pull their heads in like that when they are cold, she is either unwell or molting. Five years old isn't ancient but many chickens pass around 4-8 years old she could have something internal going on. If she's eating and pooping fine and there are no other obvious symptoms than determining what's wrong can be hard.
     
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  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    As chickens get on in years, there are so many things that can go wrong. They are more prone to infection, tumors, injuries don't heal well, etc. You might give her a thorough going over to rule out an injury that has become infected. Make sure to check her feet and legs and under all the feathers. Is her abdomen swollen? Does she stand and walk funny?

    If you have an avian vet you can use, by all means have her checked out.

    I can tell you, though, your hen is sick. She's lethargic and is definitely acting like she doesn't feel well. This is not normal.
     
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  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC @JReece !

    What is a "Shuttlepoot bantam"?
    Knowing your location would also help, winter or summer there?
     
  5. JReece

    JReece New Egg

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    Jan 16, 2016
    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I'm in Devon in the UK, it's winter here but very mild (rarely below 2-3 degrees at night). She molted in the autumn so its not that. No sign of injury or anything like that.

    She is much worse now, my husband came home last night to find her half hanging out of the coop. We brought her in again but she can't stand and just flops over. Her legs seem stretched out strangely. She ate bread soaked in milk yesterday evening but she's still the same this morning. I've read online about Marek's disease which does seem possible but have also read from other people that their chickens have recovered from similar symptoms after vitamin supplements. I can get some vitamin supplements today and try that (fingers crossed) but in their cases it seems to have come on suddenly, whereas ours has been ill for weeks.

    Our other girls still seem healthy and bright thankfully but I'll scrub the coop later and keep the poorly one (Madge) away from them now just in case this is contagious.

    Any advice gratefully received, very worried about our girl. Will try to find a local vet that has avian knowledge today.

    Thanks
    Jen
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The only way to know for sure what is going on with your chicken is to have a necropsy done when she dies. And it would seem she's pretty close to death now from the sound of it.

    I had one of my very first chickens eight years ago become sick, and the symptoms were exactly like the ones you are describing. She became unable to stand, couldn't get out of her own feces, and I had to hold her food right under her beak to make it possible for her to eat. Finally, when it was obvious she wasn't going to get better, I euthanized her. They refer to unknown diseases like this as "wasting disease". It's a long, drawn out, downhill deterioration, with no sign of improvement.

    It could be very contagious, and your flock has already been exposed. Not much you can do there. But do plan on a necropsy so you will know for sure what your flock has been exposed to.
     

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