Sick hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JLMaxwell, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. JLMaxwell

    JLMaxwell New Egg

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    Aug 29, 2016
    Hello all! First time poster here. And first time chicken owner too! We have 10 hens and 1 rooster. Buster, my amerucana hen, had been laying about an egg a day. Blue shell and all! Recently, she has been losing feathers on her bum, tummy, and breast. She has stopped laying about 4 days ago. She won't leave the nesting box and seems warm. Buster has always been sassy and yet friendly too. She is one of the first to come get a treat or be petted. But now she is growly and lethargic. I took her out to play in some dirt and she enjoyed that but went back to her box.

    None of my other chickens have any symptoms.

    Can anyone suggest what may be wrong with her?

    Thank you!!

    Jacqui
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    She sounds broody.
     
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  3. JLMaxwell

    JLMaxwell New Egg

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    Aug 29, 2016
    Thanks for the response. She isn't sitting on any eggs. Could she still be broody?
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    Broody hens will sit on anything or nothing. It's a hormonal phase. To break her you will need to put her in a wired bottom crate slightly elevated off the ground, though some will break if kept off the nest by blocking it or just relocating them for a few days. Usually 3 days is enough if caught early, otherwise it can take up to 5 day. If left broody, she will remain so for up to 2-3 months, which can be physically wearing, so breaking them quickly is usually the best thing to do. Most broody hens will be repeatedly broody, so expect it to happen again.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    Yep, sounds like she's broody to me too.
    How old is she?

    You'll need to decide if you want her to hatch out some chicks, and how you will 'manage' it.
    Do you have, or can you get, some fertile eggs?
    Do you have the space needed? She may need to be separated by wire from the rest of the flock.
    Do you have a plan on what to do with the inevitable males? Rehome, butcher, keep in separate 'bachelor pad'?
    If you decide to let her hatch out some fertile eggs, this is a great thread for reference and to ask questions.
    It a long one but just start reading the first few pages, then browse thru some more at random.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/496101/broody-hen-thread

    If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.
    My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two.
    Water nipple bottle added after pic was taken.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016

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