Rescued chicken not coming out of a coop and barely eating

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
Hi everyone! You might have followed some of my previous threads - I rescued 5 chickens from an industrial poultry house - it's been more than 2 weeks now and they are making a wonderful recovery.

Since yesterday, however, one of the hens is not coming out of the coop. She is the second most feathered one (there is one with nearly no feathers at all) and overall in really good shape compared to some from the flock. But she has been very quiet, not moving from the coop and sleeping often (at least when I checked up on her).
Today she was slightly better, she came out in the morning after some time, ate a bit, drank quite a lot, pooped (whitish and rather liquid), and then went back into the coop. There is one other hen - the alpha female - that is feeling rather down as well, but she comes out every now and then (although much less than before) and eats normally I think. And 3rd hen is often in there with them as well.

So there are 3 hens usually inside for the last 2 days (but two of them coming in and out sometimes) and 2 that spend most of their day out. Is it something to do with the weather (the days are quite nice, the temperature is around 15-19°C during the day) or with them growing back so many feathers and therefore they are saving energy? And the one that is not coming out nearly at all - is there anything I can do for her, apart from turning on a heat lamp every now and then?
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
Hopefully it is nothing more than them using their energy in feather regrowth. Cooler weather, in my experience, seems to hasten feather regrowth. If they seem extremely chilled, you may want to turn on the heat lamp.
Thank you for your response! I was thinking it might be that - their feathers are growing rapidly, especially the feather of the one staying mostly inside. But the change in her behaviour was surprisingly quite sudden - one morning, she just didn't come out of the coop, but the morning before that, she was as active as the rest.

I just wanted to point out that 2 other hens are sharing the same behaviour, but they are not as apathetic.

Now it's sunny outside and 20°C on the sun for sure (though windy) and the two still don't come out. I gave them some food inside and the apathetic one pecked a little, but with much less interest than the alpha female.

Well done on giving them the chance to be 'real' chickens.
They are making amazing progress - the most lively one is digging around with her feet, eating earthworms and all sorts of bugs and the rest are warming up to it as well, getting more and more experienced by the day. They love the outdoors and their newfound freedom and are very fond of their coop. :)
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
I have a sad update... One of the hens died yesterday evening. :( And it was the alpha female, the one that looked quite lively in the morning and ate as well as drank. I found her dead in the coop just as I was about to prepare it for the night. I have no idea what happened... As I mentioned, she was coming back into the coop often for past two-three days, which was rather unusual for her, she was always out. One thing I recall is that she laid unfinished eggs several times, with a soft leathery shell.

The hen that I started this post for is still not eating nor drinking or coming out of the coop, but she survived the night. The infra lamp seems to liven her up a bit, but she doesn't seem to be interested in food, although she is clearly weakened. She only pecks once or twice before going back into sort of a standby mode. At this point, I know she is sick, but I have no idea what afflicted her. There is no visible sign of anything really.

Is there anything I can do apart from the lamp and hoping for the best?
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
So I brought her in, put her in a box, provided feed with vitamins and other beneficial substances and water. She was quite lively when I picked her up and fought me a bit, which is a good sign. She also pooped (whitish and rather liquid), ate, and drank water when I brought her to the watering station. Now she is switching between sleeping and pecking a bit.
 

LaFleche

Free Ranging
Sep 22, 2012
3,097
10,750
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Germany
There is no visible sign of anything really.
There is:
e, ate a bit, drank quite a lot, pooped (whitish and rather liquid),
She also pooped (whitish and rather liquid),
I am sorry your hen did not make it despite your efforts.

Rescued commercial layers are known for their multiple issues of the reproductive system which usually lead to death.

she laid unfinished eggs several times, with a soft leathery shell.
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
Rescued commercial layers are known for their multiple issues of the reproductive system which usually lead to death.
I see... I was thinking of other causes such as heart failure and something that couldn't be foreseen or prevented. She seemed to be strong until the very last moment.

Is there anything more I could do for the other hen apart from what I already did? I take it that drinking and eating (and pooping) is a good sign, right?
 

RIR chicks

Songster
Sep 28, 2020
218
722
126
I’m so sorry to hear that. I have never owned chickens but, we are getting chicks soon. If they are barely eating try giving them mealworms or something they lIke because they are more likely to eat something like mealworms than regular feed. You can also try putting feed in their coop where they are so they don’t have to get out to eat. Maybe they aren’t used to the feed so they don’t know what to think. Do you know what feed they used to have been fed? If so try buying it and mixing it in with the feed you have that way they will know it is food because their old feed is in it and then they will taste the your feed you bought and might think it tastes better. I don’t know if any of these will work because i don’t have chicks or chickens yet but, you could give them a try. Let me know when your chickens are better.
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
I’m so sorry to hear that. I have never owned chickens but, we are getting chicks soon. If they are barely eating try giving them mealworms or something they lIke because they are more likely to eat something like mealworms than regular feed. You can also try putting feed in their coop where they are so they don’t have to get out to eat. Maybe they aren’t used to the feed so they don’t know what to think. Do you know what feed they used to have been fed? If so try buying it and mixing it in with the feed you have that way they will know it is food because their old feed is in it and then they will taste the your feed you bought and might think it tastes better. I don’t know if any of these will work because i don’t have chicks or chickens yet but, you could give them a try. Let me know when your chickens are better.
They are not very keen on eating anything but the feed and sunflower seeds so far. As they were used to eat nothing else but some feed mix their entire life, so mealworms would not work, unfortunately. The strongest one eats earthworms, bugs and everything she can find and the one that died yesterday was doing the same. But the rest of the flock is still rather shy to anything else but the feed. Tried to give them some pumpkin with seeds and they didn't touch it, same with boiled eggs and other experiments I tried. They are all eagerly eating grass and other plants from time to time though.

And regarding the mix, they all love this one, so I wouldn't say it's related to it in any way (considering the rest are eating it eagerly and they are vital). But thank you very much for trying to help, I appreciate it! I will definitely post an update.
 

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