New ex-battery not drinking or eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by johjames, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. johjames

    johjames In the Brooder

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    Hi folks, thanks for reading this. We’ve had two backyard chickens for the last couple of years, but unfortunately one of them died suddenly a few weeks ago. We picked up two ex-battery chickens who we’re rehoming yesterday and we hope they’ll be much happier here. One of the new hens is eating well and drinking, however the other smaller hen has simply stood in the corner shivering and has eaten very little, nor has she drunk. We don’t have a syringe to force feed her, nor can we buy one as it’s Sunday and so I was hoping you might have some suggestions. I was thinking of bringing her inside in a box which would be a smaller space and seeing if she drinks then. I’d welcome your thoughts. Thanks.
     
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  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    I'm confused. You're rehoming these hens yesterday? That doesn't make much sense.

    Let me assume you mean that these hens were being rehomed and you adopted them yesterday. Do I have that right?

    If so, 24 hours isn't very long for a chicken to adapt to a new home. Stress affects individual chickens differently. I suggest you provide food and water and peace and security and allow your two new girls to adjust.

    Fussing over them and forcing them to eat and drink is only going to stress them further.
     
  3. johjames

    johjames In the Brooder

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    Hi, your assumption is correct, apologies for my poorly phrased post! We adopted the chickens and yesterday, so they’ve been with us since then. They do have plenty of water, my concern is that whilst one of them has been eating well and drinking a little, the other has just stood in a corner shaking and has ignored any food or water we’ve put in her direct vicinity. Our other chicken is in the process of asserting her position at the top of the pecking order which can’t be pleasant for the bird I’m concerned about. Would you suggest we just leave well alone here as well? Thanks for responding, it’s lovely to have a more experienced (I think) view.
     
  4. OneMountainAcres

    OneMountainAcres Smothered in Feathers

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    It's wat too soon to be concerned yet. She's just come from a terrible living situation but she's never known any different. Her world has just expanded dramatically and she's not sure how to handle it yet. I'd suggest taking a step back and giving her a few days to calm down and realize that's she's free, not a prisoner. The pecking order thing will be stressful at first too but it's better to let that get sorted and out of the way.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    Absolutely, as @OneMountainAcres has said, it must be overwhelming for both these chickens to find themselves in a much larger world that the one they were inhabiting. The smaller one is simply exhibiting her stress in a more tangible manner.

    Sometimes I advise a chicken keeper that is dealing with a traumatized chicken to decrease the size of that chicken's world by putting them in a crate with a cover across the back of the cage to increase the chicken's sense of security. Think of how too much stimuli affects an autistic child. It's similar.

    Here's what I would suggest you try. Set up your pet carrier or dog crate in the run. Cover the rear portion to resemble a cave, leaving the front exposed and the door open. Place the small hen inside with food and water. Then go away and leave her alone.

    She will decompress in a secure, manageable small space, and she will choose to come out of the crate as she is feeling more secure.
     
  6. johjames

    johjames In the Brooder

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    Thanks OneMountainAcres, that's reassuring.
     
  7. johjames

    johjames In the Brooder

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    Thank you Azygous.
     
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  8. MROO

    MROO Crossing the Road

    Excellent advice! I would also suggest you make sure she's got some water with electrolytes. You don't need a syringe, just an eyedropper, so you can lay a little liquid along the side of her beak. She'll swallow it on her own. If you don't have an eyedropper, just find a way to put a few dribbles along her beak. Even your finger should work. For electrolytes, something like Chick-Starter or even Pedialyte would work. In a real pinch, you can use sugar water - anything to get some liquid and a few burnable calories into her. Some electrolytes in the regular coop water wouldn't hurt the other two, either. In any case, it won't do any harm.
    If there's no room in the coop for a kennel, try leaning a board against a wall (secured, so scrambling hens don't knock it over.) That gives your hen a place to hide, but also allows escape from either end, should one of the others play "bully."
    Good luck with your new ladies. I think it's AWESOME that you're taking on ex-batteries!
     
  9. johjames

    johjames In the Brooder

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    A quick update, we had to bring the hens inside as their lack of feathers was causing them to be unable to tolerate the cold, which is around 0C or 32F here in London. They were shivering and not eating or drinking at all. One is making a recovery, although she has a cold. The other, in the photo, is unfortunately very frail and we’re having to administer her water. The state they were both in was terrible, their suffering as battery birds was likely immense. My post is really to say thanks to those who reached out and helped us and to highlight the plight of battery hens.
     
  10. MROO

    MROO Crossing the Road

    They've definitely earned some spoiling! Keep at your sick hen! If you have a brooder lamp or other type of heat for her, that would probably be better than a blanket. She's probably not generating any heat of her own, so using artificial heat will take that strain off of her system.
    Even if she loses the battle, you've given her a soft place to fall in her last days. That, in and of itself, is a blessing that most of her companions never received. You've done a good thing. Thank you.
     

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