Older hen acting lethargic normal?

Abriana

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Apr 26, 2017
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I have a hen named Christina who will be five on April 1. She’s been acting strange lately, instead of running around she stands under the coop and doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t LOOK sick, her comb is a heathy color and she isn’t standing fluffed, she also doesn’t seem to have any reproductive issues (she has not laid in a while, due to age I believe). She has some poop in the feathers of her bum and it’s bright green—almost like a mint green. She is also a little thinner than usual but still quite heavy (she’s always been my heaviest girl). Also, last night she settled on the bottom roost as opposed to her fought-for spot (which I moved her to). She’s always been the top hen or very close to the top so I find it strange that she’d get on the bottom roost instead of the top one. Opinions? Is this old age or something else? Her beak and nails also grow VERY quickly—I’ve been trimming her beak about once every two weeks and it’s definitely abnormal.

I have another hen who will be five on March 26 and she’s more active than Christina. She stands under the coop most of the time too but also runs around a bit more and hops up to her proper spot on the roost.

Im also currently treating the flock for a respiratory issue with a powder in their water, but I don’t think that Christina is sick (it’s mostly for my rooster and one of my pullets but I’m treating the whole flock to be safe and because it’s more convenient).
 

Wyorp Rock

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instead of running around she stands under the coop and doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t LOOK sick, her comb is a heathy color and she isn’t standing fluffed, she also doesn’t seem to have any reproductive issues (she has not laid in a while, due to age I believe). She has some poop in the feathers of her bum and it’s bright green—almost like a mint green. She is also a little thinner
Also, last night she settled on the bottom roost as opposed to her fought-for spot (which I moved her to). She’s always been the top hen or very close to the top so I find it strange that she’d get on the bottom roost instead of the top one. Opinions? Is this old age or something else? Her beak and nails also grow VERY quickly—I’ve been trimming her beak about once every two weeks and it’s definitely abnormal.
Im also currently treating the flock for a respiratory issue with a powder in their water, but I don’t think that Christina is sick (it’s mostly for my rooster and one of my pullets but I’m treating the whole flock to be safe
Can you feel her abdomen below the vent between her legs? With your description, her age, flock status (a high ranking hen) and her roosting much lower than normal, I would suspect a reproductive disorder. Could be cancer, tumors, peritonitis, etc. it would be hard to know unless you lose her and perform a necropsy.

Do a normal all over check of her - lice/mites, see that her crop is emptying overnight, etc.
The beak and nails growing more quickly may be due to inactivity.

What antibiotic are you using in the water?
Ideally only birds with symptoms should be treated with antibiotics instead of the whole flock.

For older hens that I notice that are slowing down, I usually just monitor them daily, offering supportive care when needed (this may include vitamins, de-worming, treating for coccidiosis, crop checks, etc.)

The bright green poop could be from not eating well, but I would also check to make sure no feed had gotten moldy or none has inadvertently spilled on the ground and molded.
Possible it could be infection.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
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Can you feel her abdomen below the vent between her legs? With your description, her age, flock status (a high ranking hen) and her roosting much lower than normal, I would suspect a reproductive disorder. Could be cancer, tumors, peritonitis, etc. it would be hard to know unless you lose her and perform a necropsy.

Do a normal all over check of her - lice/mites, see that her crop is emptying overnight, etc.
The beak and nails growing more quickly may be due to inactivity.

What antibiotic are you using in the water?
Ideally only birds with symptoms should be treated with antibiotics instead of the whole flock.

For older hens that I notice that are slowing down, I usually just monitor them daily, offering supportive care when needed (this may include vitamins, de-worming, treating for coccidiosis, crop checks, etc.)

The bright green poop could be from not eating well, but I would also check to make sure no feed had gotten moldy or none has inadvertently spilled on the ground and molded.
Possible it could be infection.
Yes I do “butt checks” regularly to make sure that there is no fluid in my hens’ abdomens, she definitely does not have that problem. I’ve had two hens with it so I know what it feels like. She hasn’t laid in about a year or even longer—and she’s been 100% healthy until recently. If I lost her I probably wouldn’t do a necropsy—she was one of my very first chickens and I don’t know if I could do it or send her in somewhere.

Her crop had a little food in it last night and was empty this morning. She didn’t rush to the feeder to eat like she normally does

I’m using this:
A259FB84-B88F-4276-9C48-B1C25A16B859.jpeg

day 14 will be Christmas Day.

I’ve been keeping a very close eye on her.

Feed has spilled on the ground but it isn’t moldy (besides, she could not sink so low as to eat feed off the ground! She always gets it from the top of the feeder, like the queen she is haha) I just moved their pen so everything else is fresh as well.

I might give her some nutridrench later, since she isn’t really eating.

Is there a way to rule out or diagnose an infection?
 

Wyorp Rock

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Yes I do “butt checks” regularly to make sure that there is no fluid in my hens’ abdomens, she definitely does not have that problem. I’ve had two hens with it so I know what it feels like. She hasn’t laid in about a year or even longer—and she’s been 100% healthy until recently. If I lost her I probably wouldn’t do a necropsy—she was one of my very first chickens and I don’t know if I could do it or send her in somewhere.

Her crop had a little food in it last night and was empty this morning. She didn’t rush to the feeder to eat like she normally does

I’m using this: View attachment 2450281
day 14 will be Christmas Day.

I’ve been keeping a very close eye on her.

Feed has spilled on the ground but it isn’t moldy (besides, she could not sink so low as to eat feed off the ground! She always gets it from the top of the feeder, like the queen she is haha) I just moved their pen so everything else is fresh as well.

I might give her some nutridrench later, since she isn’t really eating.

Is there a way to rule out or diagnose an infection?
Only way to rule out infection would be to see your vet.

If she's drinking the antibiotic water like she should, then the tetracycline may help if she has infection depending on what it is.

It stinks when you can tell something is going on but it seems there's not a lot you can do. Her not being able to/not feeling well enough to roost where she normally does, in itself, I would still lean toward reproductive issues. I could be wrong on that, but ime, when I have one that starts roosting low, she's beginning to have difficulties. IF I move them higher, then I make sure I go out and get them down from the roost early so they aren't jumping. There's a reason they aren't going up high.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
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Only way to rule out infection would be to see your vet.

If she's drinking the antibiotic water like she should, then the tetracycline may help if she has infection depending on what it is.

It stinks when you can tell something is going on but it seems there's not a lot you can do. Her not being able to/not feeling well enough to roost where she normally does, in itself, I would still lean toward reproductive issues. I could be wrong on that, but ime, when I have one that starts roosting low, she's beginning to have difficulties. IF I move them higher, then I make sure I go out and get them down from the roost early so they aren't jumping. There's a reason they aren't going up high.
Maybe we can, I'll talk to my dad about it

I'm pretty sure she is drinking, but I can give her some orally to make sure she gets it.

Ok, I won't move her up again if she roosts low. She still jumps up and down the ramp, which is higher than the jump to the top roost. I'll keep an eye on her and see how she does. Since my other older hen still acts mostly normal I'm inclined to think that something is going on with Christina.
 

Abriana

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Apr 26, 2017
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Tonight she roosted low and I did not move her. She didn’t have any food in her crop, so I mixed an egg with nutridrench and electrolytes and gave her some with a syringe (pushed out a drop and held it against her beak). I’ve used a similar mixture to feed a hen with an impacted crop. She seemed to perk up a bit and I was very excited that she was going to maybe jump up on the top bar, but she only pecked some pullets out of her spot on the top, and then sat on the bottom one. She picked at a bit of feed out of my hand. I also checked her bum again and everything seemed normal. I’ll give her some mixture tomorrow morning too.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
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Tonight she absolutely refused the mixture and I got it in my eyes (I am allergic to egg actually) so I said ok and let her be. I’ll give her more in the morning. Luckily I rinsed my eyes out quickly and did not have a reaction!

She was on the high roost tonight when I went out tonight! She didn’t have any food in her crop though :/ I’m really puzzled as to why she isn’t eating. She doesn’t LOOK sick at all which is really throwing me. She isn’t pale or anything, her feathers look healthy. She has enough energy to fight her way out of my grasp when I try to give her the mixture. I might make her some scrambled eggs or when the roads thaw (got 7 inches of snow and then a nice thick layer of ice on top) in a day or two I will go Southern States and buy some meal worms to see if she will eat some of those.
 

ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
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I dont know D:
Roosting low is definitely cause for concern but her roosting normally tonight is great news. Maybe whatever it is has passed? :fl
Definitely keep an eye on her eating though
 

Wyorp Rock

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Tonight she absolutely refused the mixture and I got it in my eyes (I am allergic to egg actually) so I said ok and let her be. I’ll give her more in the morning. Luckily I rinsed my eyes out quickly and did not have a reaction!

She was on the high roost tonight when I went out tonight! She didn’t have any food in her crop though :/ I’m really puzzled as to why she isn’t eating. She doesn’t LOOK sick at all which is really throwing me. She isn’t pale or anything, her feathers look healthy. She has enough energy to fight her way out of my grasp when I try to give her the mixture. I might make her some scrambled eggs or when the roads thaw (got 7 inches of snow and then a nice thick layer of ice on top) in a day or two I will go Southern States and buy some meal worms to see if she will eat some of those.
Well, is she molting?
You can try making a wet mash for her to see if that's of interest to her.
 

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