Strange Behavior

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chicken-Man, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Chicken-Man

    Chicken-Man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 8, 2014
    your head.... ~(*.*)~
    In the last couple of days my hen is acting strange. It is coming to the end of winter and my other 3 hens are acting just fine. Running, eating scratching around etc. However one isn't. She doesn't run out of the coop when I let them out in the morn like she usually would. She just stands. I picked her up and put her in the grass and she just doesn't seem to want to do anything. I checked her bottom too see if if was clogged. Her bottom hole seemed clear and normal however poo was caught in feathers. It seemed a little green in parts too.

    Any ideas as to what is wrong, what I should do or what to check/look out for?

    Thanks a lot. :)
     
  2. Chicken-Man

    Chicken-Man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 8, 2014
    your head.... ~(*.*)~
    Just checked on her. She was walking in the grass pecking a little and walked up some stairs with one of the others. Still A bit slow though.
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    How old is this hen and is she hatchery stock? Is her belly bloated? Has she lost weight? Check her keel to see if she has meat on her breast bone or it's sharp as a knife. I ask because most of the common hatchery breeds are prone to reproductive malfunctions like egg yolk peritonitis, internal laying and cancer. It could be any of those things. The green may be because she is not eating much and bile is showing in her poop. Greenish poop is very common in critically ill hens anyway. I've lost about 15 hens to those illnesses and combinations of those, almost every one a hatchery hen (which is why I no longer buy from any hatcheries). It's not only hatchery stock, but it is mostly hatchery stock who suffers from those things.

    Sadly, there is nothing you can do for the things I mentioned. Internal laying and cancer are terminal and very common in hens of 3+ years. But, there are other things it could be like liver or heart failure or other less common ailments. It's impossible to say, really.

    ETA: Adding that you can get the liquid baby vitamins Poly-Vi-Sol (the without iron version) and give her a couple of drops in her beak daily or on something you know she'll eat, like maybe a scrambled egg or bread or whatever. It won't cure anything but it may help her a little. Can't hurt to supplement vitamins.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
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  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi.

    A couple of things will help with determining what could be wrong. How old is she? When was the last time she laid? Notice any weird poos where she normally sleeps? Do they free range? Have you seen her eat or drink?

    Make sure she is drinking. Provide electrolytes as a boost if you like, it can't hurt.

    Any chance she is just ready for winter to be over?

    Wish I could help more, but at least my questions will help I hope.

    Hope she feels better.
     
  5. Chicken-Man

    Chicken-Man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 8, 2014
    your head.... ~(*.*)~
    shes 4 years old. Not sure what you mean about the hatchery? I got her as a chick along with 2 others through school. No weight loss dramatic enough to notice. She sleeps with 2 other laying hens so not sure if shes laying.
    Is it worth getting her checked?
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Okay, then she's prime for reproductive malfunctions at that age. Hatchery means she came directly from a hatchery, hatched at one of the commercial facilities. Hatcheries are not known for birds with good genetics. Longevity would cut into their profits, for one thing. They just have sucky genetics, especially if it's one of the most common layer breeds they sell to feed stores and schools. What is her breed? Do you know?

    Chicken hens are the only animal on the planet that develop spontaneous ovarian cancers like human women. In fact, they are used in research to study those diseases. That should tell you something. Birds with better overall genetics do not die of those things with the frequency that hatchery stock does. I have mostly older hens now, only one came from a hatchery. The rest of my hatchery girls died of those things I mentioned in my first post, starting just past 2 years of age. Since I now hatch from my own birds or from good breeder stock, I hardly ever see that stuff anymore. It's hard to watch one dwindle away.

    As far as having her checked, vets do not know much about chickens, or don't seem to want to. They're more than happy to take your $$$ and not tell you they are clueless. Some just refuse to see a chicken, period. It most likely would not matter anyway. They can't fix what is probably wrong with your hen. Antibiotics won't do it. Most all of us are our own chicken vets. I've done numerous necropsies on my own birds and found cheesy masses of cooked egg yolk/infection in there. Sometimes, I've been surprised and there was only cancerous nodules all along the reproductive tract, no internal laying (or very little). I can show you a photo of what might be in your hen, if you're interested. I photographed most of the necropsies we did here.

    The only cure for internal laying is an actual hysterectomy, but they generally don't make it through surgery because by the time you know something is really wrong, they are too far gone anyway. And it's very expensive.

    ETA: Adding that I'm not saying 100% that this is what's wrong but her age and the fact that she is most likely a hatchery hen (did the school order chicks? If so, she's hatchery stock) would suggest one of the reproductive issues, most all incurable. Chickens do not show weakness until they are very, very sick so it's rare that you could catch an actual infection at the beginning to administer antibiotics. That's only if it's egg yolk peritonitis. Internal laying is incurable, no prevention either.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Sadly, I agree with @speckledhen . It would be nice if your girl was JUST going broody though! [​IMG]

    I would not take her to the vet for reasons already mentioned. My vet charges $45 to see a bird and $25 for a fecal float test. But with time and experience I also am becoming my own vet. Bought myself a high quality microscope to do my own float tests. And read how to make the float liquid. With 49 chickens, 3 dogs, and 2 goats... diagnostics can get pricey!

    Speaking of diagnostics.... Have you checked for mites, treated for worms or anything like that?

    They didn't carry the poly vi sol at my wally and what they had to offer didn't include the B vitamins which I think are key. So I just got some bird vitamins and mix it with a homemade electrolyte solution. My version I guess of Sav-a-Chick. It really seem s to help with my shipped birds! It will not cure anything, but it MIGHT help provide enough energy for the hen to fight off or recover from whatever she is going through.

    I know we have all bought hatchery stock. And I don't think any bashing on them is intended. The things @speckledhen says are simple truths. For people who don't have long term breeding goals they are fine. All my egg layers are hatchery stock of different breeds. My long term birds all came from breeders..... and there are different qualities of those as well.

    4 years seems like a good lifespan. It can be effected by many factors including feed, breed, housing conditions, predation, and even the weather.

    Listen hear now.... IF that girl IS broody.... I wanna see some pics please?! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Yes, that is true. Hatcheries have been providing chicks for folks in this country for many, many years. And my oldest hen, who will be 10 years old in January, is a hatchery Buff Brahma, my only remaining hatchery hen, however, she is not one of the breeds that most feed stores have as layers in the spring so I think the Brahma genetics are not as bad as some like the Rhode Island Red/ Production Red, Wyandotte, Plymouth Rock, etc.

    I just was weary of having one after the other begin to waste away and die from the same reproductive maladies, over and over again, ad nauseum. When I stopped buying hatchery chicks and began acquiring hatching eggs from reputable breeders who do not simply propagate hatchery stock, that virtually stopped altogether. I have quite a few hens from 6 yrs to almost 10 years old now, all pretty healthy, most laying, albeit at a reduced rate.
     

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