Orpington hen suddenly seems to gotten stupid/confused and no longer laying


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 26, 2013
Is this behavior a sign of anything serious I should address/be concerned about? My 1 1/2 year old Orpington hen has become far less friendly (doesn't seem to know who I am any more) and has stopped laying too. She does not follow the other hens into the coop when I call them. Just stands out side looking confused and is afraid of me. Very strange...she used to come sit on our laps.
Any info would be greatly appreciated. THANKS.
That is really unusual. I can't offhand recall any chook of mine having such an apparently causeless temperament reversal.

Toxicity would be a good bet in most cases like this. She could have eaten or drunk any number of toxic things, from plants to artificial things to baits, it's as common as dirt for this to happen, and mental derangement is one of the primary symptoms. She could have eaten a poisonous insect, or been bitten by a spider or snake. Much of that won't kill outright in many cases, just leaves bizarre behavior in its wake. Brain damage is the number one result of many toxicities.

Best wishes.
Thanks Chooks4life... My wife seems to think some of the color has left her face too, so perhaps it is a toxicity thing. We'll keep an eye on her. I suppose that's all we can do.
Hmm, does sound potentially serious.

Some things to use when suspecting various types of toxicity include vitamin C, activated charcoal, and additional calcium-magnesium in the diet. It's nothing short of amazing how many problems these three can fix.

Dolomite, yoghurt, eggshell, many cruciferous greens like nettle, broccoli, kale etc all provide cal-mag (generally best to think of those two in combination since they are required in combination and utilized in combination); but you can use powdered sources like human vitamins too.

A couple of thousand mg's of vit C (a 'megadose') can knock an amazing variety of poisoning, envenomations and toxicities on the head; also, activated charcoal can get a lot of others as well, provided they're able to be accessed directly in the digestive system, since it won't enter the bloodstream like vit C and cal-mag will.

Always good to have those three emergency detoxers in your medicine chest, it's amazing the spectrum of things they can treat, they save many lives in everything from humans to animals every year. They can treat everything from enterotoxaemia to snakebite. In one case, someone saved a goat that was already frothing at the mouth and convulsing on the ground, with activated charcoal mixed with water, tubed down its throat; quite amazing to recover an animal at that stage.

With activated charcoal/carbon (AC some call it) you need to give it separately or while leaving sufficient time for vit C or cal-mag to be absorbed first, otherwise like a proverbial black hole the AC will absorb and bind the C and/or cal-mag and carry them (along with all other toxins and nutrients it encounters on the way) safely outside the body, as that's its role. So not helpful if you combine all three, necessarily. ;)

Best wishes.
Wow...good info here! Wish I knew about this last spring when one of my Orpingtons suddenly fell ill and died within the hour.
My guess was that she found and ate something poisonous. I had been removing an old yard barn and I wondered if she found
a single pellet of rat poison in the rubble (though I have never used it myself...the barn was on the property when we purchased our home).

The current hen looks much better today and seems a little friendlier. We're hoping we are now beyond whatever it is/was that caused this odd behavior.

Thanks very much, I'll gather these items and keep them on hand!


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