Sick ex-broody: no idea what is happening to her! Full crop in morning!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Alexandra1, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Alexandra1

    Alexandra1 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2013
    We bought this girl from a good farm 2 years ago, and she is top-hen, bullies everyone else but we found out it was because she was an excellent broody (her sister was the same but the fox got her) she s an English county hen, a Dorking, and tried to brood twice last year: the first lot didn't hatch out at all, I think it is because she got too much mud on the eggs and they suffocated; and the next brood she got in July, for my birthday, and had 7 chicks.

    She looked after them wonderfully, and she is made to be a broody - fetching for them and not eating much herself. She carried on looking after them much later after other broodies do: the chicks were as big as her and she was still fetching for them, following them around.

    She went through the moulting quickly, yet being around them again, and then regained her normal position of hen, pecking at them if they came close to her food, like all the other hens do to young comers.

    I didn't notice when - was it in December? That she started to be slower. I didn't take any notice because i thought this hen was made of iron. Her comb started shrivelling a bit and she started looking a bit slower and lethargic. It was after her moulting.

    There were in all 7 hens plus a main cockrel, and those 7 young chicks, (plus one from another hen) and among those chicks there were 6 cockrels, which started jumping the girls (only 9 girls in all but the young ones were too young to be jumped on) so we had about a month when we didn't know what to do, tried putting an advert to give free cockrels away, nobody replied (even online - I thought there were people out there on low salaries who find it hard to feed a family??) and it being our first batch of cockerels, and me being totally in love with them and not wanting to let them go, it was a dilemna.

    We started keeping the males out of the pen and letting them under the shed at night, and one of the wildest ones annoyed me so much one morning because he didn't want to go out, that I called my partner and asked him to help me catch the **** thing so to get him out! He couldn't manage neither because this cockrel was totally wild and ran so fast, so we both got into a rage and got him and put him in the freezer, which we weren't going to at all.

    Next came the main cockrel who was very aggressive to the young chicks and even the hens and started attacking me: I never liked him and this was good ridance. Next came the others, very hard choice, we kept the best tempered one - so this was Mid-January before the girls had peace. It was so sad to see the girls being gang-banged by so many cockrels, they weren't laying very well at all and it was sad looking.

    About a week after, I was out in the pen, shuting them for the night and talking to them as I do, when Darren (it's the name of our broody) suddenly fell off the perch, and collapsed on her side, and stayed there, in the straw and turd, looking like it was her last hour. I had noticed she wasn't eating enough lately because she had been slower than all the other chickens (we have 3 bluebells and they are the most voracious hens I have ever seen) and the young ones were of course racing for the food as well.

    I brought her into the kitchen, and gave her some food, all I could think of that would revive her, and she started eating a bit. We kept her in the kitchen till today, but she has this strange thing of falling off her perch early evening. I found her on the floor, on top of her tail and wings and she couldn't get up, one evening. She worried me a lot!

    Last night again, I did put her in the shed because I keep wondering whether she would be happier with the chickens rather than alone with us- and she lays on the perch a bit to one side, her wings dangling down a bit, and the cockrel by mistake stood on one of her wing feathers and that made her lose her balance and she fell again. Not to mention I took her straight back to the kitchen where she has her armchair and newspaper.

    Her symptoms are some days improving (she has been out with the other chickens and she is still boss of most of them and chases them off if they are near the food, with a weak voice) and some days worsening when she collapses and looks all lethargic and droopy.

    Her symptoms are: shrivelled comb - it had gone cracked and dangles on one side, and has tiny bits of black on it which could have been from the frost when she was in the chicken shed still (it has been very cold over here) . Her comb isn't changing at all.
    She seems to have lost her voice: she still emits a tiny sound but it is hardly audible. She never was a very vocal hen but she was much more than she is now.
    She has tiny droppings but they are well-formed: they have the white tip on it most times and are greenish, which I thought was because I was feeding her bits of parsley - but thinking about it it could be a liver imbalance as she has not had parsley for ages.
    Her crop is still full in the morning from the hard grains she eats (she seems to look for those particularly) - when I touch it it is very hard, then goes soft after a bit of massaging. It isn't overfull ever, she used to have a much bigger crop before her broodiness.
    She does this strange fits which live her on the floor for a few seconds, then she gets up (when she can) and resumes her activity. The other day I was feeding her mealworms (had to order some on the internet especially, thinking it ould help her recover) and she suddenly tilted on her side and layed there all surprised looking, then I picked her up and she started eating the worms again.
    She does play with her food - is it because her crop is full all the time? When I started giving her mealworms, she was eating them all down quite quickly. Now, unless another hen (competition) is near her (I bring her a friend in from time to time) she plays with the worms, making it seem like they are enormous and need to be broken down in order to be swallowed. If another girl is there, she makes more of an attempt to eat them whole before the other gets them. But in all, she doesn't eat much and takes a long time to eat. Some days she does pruin herself a bit but others she just lays there, puffed up, the wings slightly down but not to the floor.
    Her eye is bright and her lower wattles are all pink and fine looking.

    I have tried to give her yoghurt but she doens't eat it very well, (I tried mixing in worms with it and it worked a bit but not much) then tried to crush her some garlic and rub that into her food as I wondered if she had a viral - bacterial infection. She seemed to perk up a bit after that but that was 3 days ago and I didn't give her any more. She eats only a little of everything, likes onions too.

    It is unfortunate that she has to live with the stress of me and my partner not getting on very well at the moment (I am very much in love with the chickens and give them more attention than I give to him) so I wonder if the energy between us harms her (animals apparently respond to that, often by trying to take the negative energies to help their mums and dads). I have made sure she does go out and she seems to enjoy being outside but then will want to get back in, often because the geese are having a go at them (we have chicken-hating geese for some reason we don't know).

    Does anyone have an idea about what could be wrong with her? She has been ill a long time now, since December she has been slower and weaker but has no wheazing or caughing or anyting that looks like a serious disease, other than her comb and her tiny droppings and her crop which doesn't empty. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated... I am so sad thinking of losing her, now I have worked out how to let her be a good broody and understanding how to make it work for her...
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  2. Alexandra1

    Alexandra1 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2013
    It is her on a particularly bad day: she was too tired looking to do anything, and having a nap in the sun. Most days she walks about.

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