Some help please?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by krista74, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hi!

    Yesterday I had a strange incident where one of my RIR hens took to her nest for 3 hours. When I lifted her off, there were 4 real and 4 plastic eggs under her. I removed the eggs and shooed her out of the coop and into the run, where she did the egg song, but super loud and for a lot longer than usual. She seemed really agitated and couldn't be calmed by the cockerel. That night, she refused to sleep on the roost, and instead went to the nest box. Under the cover of darkness I removed her and put her on the roost with the others where she would normally sleep. She went back to the nest box. An hour later I tried again with the same result, got tired, and went to bed.

    Today I went to the coop to find her, yes, still on the nest! She had 4 plastic eggs under her and was also sitting on top of my BO hen who was trying to lay, obviously trying to use her as an egg donor! After the BO was done I took the egg, and lifted my RIR out of the nest. She seemed a bit cranky, but only pecked a little and made a sort of low "brrrrrr" sound. She had not pooped in the nest all night but there were a lot of feathers in there.

    As I lifted her out I thought I saw a small stream of watery brown liquid come from her beak. She sat on the ground not moving for a minute and I thought "Oh, no, she's sick!" so I picked her up again (this is a bird who I've never been able to get close to, let alone pick up) and took her outside with the others. Chaos ensued. My previously calm flock got all flustered, two pecked at her, the cockerel tried in vain to mount her, and all the other hens started fighting and squawking amongst themselves! It was MADNESS.

    I figured this was not an ideal situation to leave her in, so I picked her up again after she had eaten (yes, she did eat some grain and vegie scraps, but was constantly being chased and pecked by the others so couldn't get much) and I put her in a big nesting box I have which is fenced off separately in the coop. There were 3 plastic eggs in there, and lots of hay, and she went in willingly and all was quiet after that. The flock went back to normal too.

    I have since been back to check on her after a couple of hours had passed. She has come out for water (she had kicked it over so I replaced it), rearranged the nest to her liking, and is making a quiet "brrrrrr" noise in the nest. When I try to lift her out for food now she goes as flat as a pancake to twice her normal size, and glues herself to the floor! Her feathers are fluffed out so you can see in between all of them. And she has ripped out every single one of her belly feathers, which looks quite red and sore. Oddly enough, she seems happy enough (I think!)....It looks like she is in a bit of a daze - and not quite 'with it.' I am surprised that she is allowing me to pat her and move her, as normally she is very flighty, and never lets me near her. Is she all mellow due to impending motherhood?!

    So I guess my question is..Is she sick or is she broody?

    The water from the beak worries me but her crop is soft and she is not stretching her neck, shaking it or gagging. I am going to let her sit on the plastic eggs for three days until I have enough real eggs to give her (I'm thinking maybe 8?) but should I do anything else for her?

    If she IS sick, what do you think it could be and what do you recommend I do for her? We are deep in the country here and don't take chickens to vets (well, I would, but my vet is surprised I even care about my chickens and hubby would never pay for them to see a vet anyway.) Is the flock turning on her a sign of her being sick, or would they do this if she was broody too? I really have no idea what I'm doing and would really appreciate some advice.

    Thankyou, Krista.
     
  2. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 24, 2013
    Auburndale, Wi
    Sounds like she is broody all the signs are there. Don't know why she would have brown liquid coming out of her beak, that's concerning. I'd make sure she is in good health before you allow her to sit on any eggs. Someone will come along to help you with symptoms and cures for your broody girl. Good luck.
     
  3. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Thanks for your reply, and I will certainly keep an eye on this post for further advice and information.

    Yesterday, prior to jumping in the nesting box in the afternoon, she seemed fine. She had been eating ferociously and foraging with the others.

    The only different thing I did notice was that sometimes I would look outside and she would be sitting under a bush or tree, sometimes for half an hour at a time, before getting up and foraging again. But now that I think about it, she's been doing that for the last week or so. Maybe this has been brewing in her for a while?

    She is bright and clear in the eyes and is not having any respiratory issues that I can see. The only other change worth noting is that I changed their feed yesterday. They were getting crushed grain with layers pellets on the side, but they loved the grain and NEVER ate the pellets! Now they are getting 100% layers pellets and no grain. They were not happy about this, but they are eating the pellets now.

    Could I have upset her digestion with the change?

    I look forward to more comments and advice.

    Thank you!
     
  4. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,576
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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    OK, update....I went to take her off the nest tonight for some food and water. She drank a lot of water, ate no food, and hasn't pooped at all today. She stood around in her little fenced off area for a bit, constantly 'fluffing' her feathers. She now has no feathers at all on the underside of her breast though. I think she's plucked them out. She now looks miserable, not happy.

    She sort of sits on the nest, with her head off to the side, all spread out flat, and doesn't move a muscle. Just sits on those plastic eggs!

    Hubby picked her up so i could check her out and she made a gurgling sound. This worries me. I am sure she is broody, but I wonder too if she is sick? The gurgle, the water coming from her mouth this morning? She's not coughing and her eyes are clear. She has no runny nose or swellings either.

    What to do? Other than keep her in her own pen, I guess I just wait it out.

    How long would it take for a respiratory infection to kill a chicken, if that is indeed what she has? Am I ok to keep lifting her from the nest once or twice a day for water and food?

    Krista
     

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