My Hen is Sick, but I’m not Sure What it is.

CrazyCat16

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2020
10
1
13
Hi guys. My ISA Brown hen Amy has suddenly become very sick-looking. She’s ~2 1/2 and has always been a very energetic and happy chook, but now she’s acting really sad, lethargic and sick. Her comb has flopped over, her tail is tucked down and she tends to just stand or sit in a corner of the coop. It happened very suddenly about a week ago and I thought it may be sour crop, and treated her for that (garlic water, yoghurt, etc.). Once the sour crop was better I noticed a mass in her crop that wouldn’t empty overnight. An impaction that caused the sour crop in the first place, I guess. It doesn’t feel like one solid lump, more like lots of little bits. I’ve been massaging her crop daily for the past few days and she seems to be feeling better and wanted to get out of her temporary hospital washing basket this morning. I put her in with my three other hens and she walks around a bit now but her comb and tail are still down and she doesn’t have much of an appetite. She hasn’t laid since she started looking unwell. I’ve also checked and she isn’t egg bound... Does anyone know what this is and/or how I can make her feel better? Thanks.

Here’s a pic of her:
image.jpg

She looks 10x better today than a few days ago, but still far from her usual self.
 

micstrachan

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Apr 10, 2016
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Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Sorry she’s not feeling well. Is she molting? How long has her tail been tucked down? Do you know if she is laying? I suggest you feel how prominent her keel (breast) bone is and feel her abdomen (fluffy area on back end and lower belly) for bloating or fluid accumulation. A combination of those two things could possibly indicate a reproductive or metabolic problem.
 

Weeg

Crowing
Jul 1, 2020
2,575
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Small town in Washington
I am sorry to inform you that I believe what is causing this is her breed. Tail down often means she has an issue with her reproductive system. Since the breed is bred and bred again to be great egg producers, they lay so many eggs, in which are so large so often, that it becomes unhealthy for the hen and unsafe. They often suffer from issues related to egg laying, and will slowly become diseased and likely death. I think that vets can inject something that can shut down the laying system completely, and that can sometimes help if caught early enough. I could be wrong and dont want to be all downer, I hope you get her well again! Avery
 

CrazyCat16

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2020
10
1
13
I am sorry to inform you that I believe what is causing this is her breed. Tail down often means she has an issue with her reproductive system. Since the breed is bred and bred again to be great egg producers, they lay so many eggs, in which are so large so often, that it becomes unhealthy for the hen and unsafe. They often suffer from issues related to egg laying, and will slowly become diseased and likely death. I think that vets can inject something that can shut down the laying system completely, and that can sometimes help if caught early enough. I could be wrong and dont want to be all downer, I hope you get her well again! Avery
Yes, I agree. I’ve done research in the past on ISAs and people say they usually pass away from exhaustion from their crazy egg-laying abilities. Amy’s stopped laying except once or twice a week, which is good because she isn’t having to lay as much and she’s still laying so I know she isn’t egg bound or internally laying. She does seem far better as of recently though, her comb is perking back up and all she wants are cuddles! She gets excited for scraps again and runs around chasing flies with my other girls. Either I did something right or she suddenly got better, which I’ve heard of chooks doing when they have the same symptoms as her. I’ll definitely look into getting her that injection as she gets older, though, to make sure she’s comfortable. After all - she’s given me hundreds of big brown eggs and the least I can do is give her a good retirement!
 

CrazyCat16

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2020
10
1
13
Sorry she’s not feeling well. Is she molting? How long has her tail been tucked down? Do you know if she is laying? I suggest you feel how prominent her keel (breast) bone is and feel her abdomen (fluffy area on back end and lower belly) for bloating or fluid accumulation. A combination of those two things could possibly indicate a reproductive or metabolic problem.
Her keel bone is a bit prominent but I believe that is from her not eating properly for a while, as she’s beginning to fill out again as she gets better. I’m not entirely sure what was wrong with her but I’ve heard of the same thing happening before to other chooks and they seem to look very poorly for a few weeks then all of a sudden get better. Amy is still laying, just very frequently and I will likely get her that injection if she looks any kind of sick again, even just to rule out issues with her reproductive health. Also her sister Beca moulted a few weeks ago but Amy hasn’t yet, and apparently ISAs don’t typically moult given their short lifespan, but mine have exceeded the expected 2 years so I’m not sure what their little bodies are doing...
 
Last edited:

CrazyCat16

In the Brooder
Sep 20, 2020
10
1
13
Hi guys. My ISA Brown hen Amy has suddenly become very sick-looking. She’s ~2 1/2 and has always been a very energetic and happy chook, but now she’s acting really sad, lethargic and sick. Her comb has flopped over, her tail is tucked down and she tends to just stand or sit in a corner of the coop. It happened very suddenly about a week ago and I thought it may be sour crop, and treated her for that (garlic water, yoghurt, etc.). Once the sour crop was better I noticed a mass in her crop that wouldn’t empty overnight. An impaction that caused the sour crop in the first place, I guess. It doesn’t feel like one solid lump, more like lots of little bits. I’ve been massaging her crop daily for the past few days and she seems to be feeling better and wanted to get out of her temporary hospital washing basket this morning. I put her in with my three other hens and she walks around a bit now but her comb and tail are still down and she doesn’t have much of an appetite. She hasn’t laid since she started looking unwell. I’ve also checked and she isn’t egg bound... Does anyone know what this is and/or how I can make her feel better? Thanks.

Here’s a pic of her:
View attachment 2341260
She looks 10x better today than a few days ago, but still far from her usual self.
UPDATE:
She’s completely back to normal, dust bathing, securing her spot at the top of the pecking order the second I put her back in with the others, laying like a champ, eating well, drinking and wanting cuddles again! Not sure what happened but at least she’s okay now!
 

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