New hen owner - one death and adults not laying


In the Brooder
May 18, 2017
Carmel, IN USA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello everyone. I apologize in advance for the long post. I have been looking at this site for answers to my questions since I got my hens a month ago and it has been extremely helpful. I already know some things I have done wrong, so i'm hoping to keep learning. We decided to begin with a few adults and a couple of pullets, since we wanted to experience eggs our first season. I purchased from a gentleman in my town who was selling as he said he had too many chickens.

We purchased three adult hens who, according to the previous owner, are 10 months old and laying. In addition we got two pullets who are three months old.

One of the adults passed away on Tuesday (two days ago). We thought that everything was going along just fine. I noticed about a week ago that she was distancing herself from the others - but her poop looked fine and she was eating and drinking so I didn't worry too much. Then a couple of days ago she couldn't hop over the little 2x4 that is at the entrance of the coop. I had to lift her out and in. It almost seemed like her wings/legs/feet stopped working. It happened so fast. I isolated her from the others and gave her a safe place by herself. I hand fed her with mash and water with ACV. Gave her some garlic. After about a half a day she just stopped eating and drinking altogether. She died within hours. My children were devastated and it has left me feeling completely inadequate and afraid for the others.

I read so many things online - thought maybe it was Marek's. I asked the previous owner if he vaccinated them and he said no. I figure if she had it then maybe the others will have it too.

I've checked them all for mites/lice and they are clear. I've been watching poops and they look fine. Today they all seem fine...scratching/running around like normal. But here is my question: Should I be worried that my hens are not laying? The previous owner said that it could take 6 weeks for the older birds to resume laying due to the stress of moving to a new coop. I was surprised and delighted that one of our girls started laying just a few days after we brought her home. She was laying consistently for two weeks and then just stopped. The other two (one of them the one who passed away on Tuesday) never started laying. I have had them for four weeks now. Should I be concerned?

Thanks in advance for your help. I probably should have vetted the source of my chickens before I purchased them and I will do so in the future. However, I am determined to take good care of these ladies no matter what.
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Its hard to say. Some hens lay every day and when moved keep on laying. Others will stop laying when moved, when feed is changed, when the weather changes etc.

As far as the hen that you lost, it does sound like Mareks to me too but I have only ever had one bird lost to Mareks (out of hundreds and hundreds) so I don't have a lot of experiences with it. If your hens look health and act healthy then keep an eye on them if they aren't laying but don't worry too much. The should come around sooner or later.
Hi :welcome

Glad you could join the flock! Sorry to hear you lost one of your girls. Please do check out the link left for you by CT.

Good luck for the future and enjoy your time here on BYC :frow
I would consider the possibility that your hen had Marek's. I don't know it if progresses that fast. It would be good if you checked out the Marek's threads on BYC. The search box should bring them up for you.

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