Sluggish Hen


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 23, 2014
Central Ohio
We have a flock of 8 (very well loved) hens. We have our "original 4" that are nearly 8 months old and laying well. We added 2 Australorp sisters 4 months ago that are now 6 months old and not yet laying. The last two are 18 month old hens from a person who had too many, so we "rescued" them about 1.5 months ago (healthy and now well integrated).

The flock are mixed breed except for the 2 Australorp...which are the birds in question...

They are 6 month old sisters. One is maturing well and showing signs of laying (Amelia). The other has been slow in maturing and acts sluggish (Cora). She started standing off more when we introduced the two older hens, so we thought it was related to that, but now that Amelia is getting ready to lay, it has become VERY obvious there is something wrong with Cora. She has no comb or wattle to speak of. She is pale and stands away from the flock sometimes. She seems to eat well, but waits until she is alone or with her (very loving and protective) sister. Her feathers are dull in comparison. She has always been bottom of the pecking order, but her lack of maturing has us worried. You can tell which bird she is in the pictures.

Thanks a lot for the resounding responses.....
Birds hide illness so well... and even when you see them displaying signs like drooping tail or lethargy, it can be difficult to determine what's wrong. I know how you feel right now, I lost two of my girls to EYP in the last 3 months... one before she started laying and one about a month after she was laying. I thought maybe impacted crops but when they didn't get better, I took them to the vet. He thought crops at first too (and egg bound for the layer) but after manually checking them, he suggested x-rays which revealed EYP. Sadly, nothing could be done for either one. Then, 2 weeks ago, the last of my original girls had a droopy tail. We quickly grabbed her and took her to the vet, hoping against EYP... the x-rays revealed pnemonia. She is getting better and has another week of medication. So, sometimes only a vet can help. I hope Cora gets better, it's possible she is just a bit slower to develop and is still trying to adjust to the new pecking order. My advice, if you can find an avian vet nearby, call and get their opinion (and prices)... to me, it was a bit expensive, but the peace of mind knowing the EYP wasn't my fault and that I did all I could for them, was worth it.
She died yesterday. Thanks anyhow.
Sorry for your loss. It's especially hard when there are so few chickens to lose one. Sorry that you didn't get a lot of response. Sometimes on busy days, threads get buried, and on other days, such as late nights and weekends, not many are online. Other times, people don't know what's wrong and won't post. I would guess that Cora was just a little chicken that was a "failure to thrive" or had some condition that stunted her from hatch. Sometimes having a case of coccidiosis that goes undetected, may add to that failure. Most of us just try to worm, look for mites and lice, check crops, and rule out every other condition (or medicate for them) to help our chickens. Sometimes we just can't find the answer, and that's when a necropsy either by ourselves or the state vet may give answers.
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