The Grey Lady is 'not herself'...what's wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by pgpoultry, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's a good Dark Brahma hen 9 months old......hatched a brood 7 weeks ago (broody almost from the moment she stared to egg lay). She has always been a loner, wanders off by herself, shuns all the others. I have called her the Grey Lady as she has such a proud stance and arrogant look, but she is lovely, can be picked up, likes stroking etc.

    She left her chicks and started to egg lay about 10 days ago. For the first few days she stayed fairly close to the other chickens, then started to wander off again, into a field where she does not normally go and where I think one of my Warrens has been laying her eggs.(Can't find them, though)

    4 days ago she turned up very late to go into the hen house and the following day later still with signs of possible fox attack (Superficial back wound which has settled down well). I placed her in a pen with some chicks as she seemed to want to hang around the back door. When eventually she showed signs of wanting to come out she immediately went into the (attached) outhouse and occupied part of the dog's bed. She has stayed there for the last 48 hours. She laid an egg there yesterday.

    Her wounds are pretty well healed, she is eating very well when food is placed by the dog's bed , but shows no sign of wanting to go out and about. She has no other injuries that I can see and is able to walk and fly normally.
    She is a bit more vocal than normal when picked up. The dog is very tolerant and willing to share is bed, he has been doing so whenever there is heavy rain and the chickens prefer his nice dry bed to the great outsides. i can't find any other signs of disease, not panting,crop seems fine, poo normal.

    So what is wrong with her? Did she have a bad fright and feels safe in the vicinity of us and the dog? Is she thinking of going broody again? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated as she is just not herself at all.

    Many thanks,

    Sandie
     
  2. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    check the wound... it might look healed outside but could be infected underneath..
     
  3. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I took a good look at the wound and it seems dry and clean still. She continues to behave oddly. She eventually emerged from the dog's bed only to be chased by the boys. When I opened the door she ran in to escape from them and just sat in the corner. I offered her sunflower seeds and chocolate cake which she devoured, then started to preen....but she seems not to want to do anything other than sit (and eat!). i'm mystified by the behaviour change.

    sandie
     
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    I wonder if she has a tender, internal injury like a cracked rib, strained muscle/joint or something. Just a thought since you said she is more vocal when you pick her up.
     
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    It wouldn't hurt and may help to give her 3 drops Polyvisol liquid children's vitamins daily for the next handful of days, administered gently/slowly along her beak line so she swallows on her own and doesn't choke. She's been through a lot and it may bolster her.
    You've probably already checked thoroughly to make sure there isn't a hidden injury elsewhere on her body.
    I would nix the chocolate cake (re: her, not you [​IMG]). I'm not sure there is a consensus about its effect on chickens but until there is definitive info, I'd steer clear of it.
    The sunflower seeds are good, and other stuff that could lift her spirits would be great, e.g. bits of fresh fruit or veggies. My birds love interesting bird seed mixes that are heavy on sunflower seeds but include other stuff to. And since my roo has been having this stuff for 8, maybe 9 years now, I know it's not harmful to him.
    I hope she's okay, or will be.
    JJ

    In case of muscle strain/sprain etc. it may be useful to try a bit of pain relief - 1 crushed baby aspirin per cup of her drinking water.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  6. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again for the replies and the concern. I will give her lots of supplements and rest.

    Last night she left the sanctuary of the dog's bed for a while, but was met by a wall of roos when she came out into the daylight. She squawked loudly on seeing them so I opened the door at the commotion and she again shot into the house. On entering the house she flew up onto upturned boots on the boot rest and decided that was her roost for the night.

    She is eating extremely well (She usually free ranges and eats any and everything) and even polished off a tray of chick crumb when I placed her in a pen with chicks this morning. She still is very happy when picked up and is enjoying being stroked. She is also preening and her tail is held pretty much upright, BUT she still does not want to go anywhere apart from the dog's bed and the house.

    Whatever is causing her to behave like this I guess the best thing I can do is allow her to stay away from the crowd and sleep on the dog bed or on the boots (I must say the sight of a hen sleeping on upturned boots is VERY funny). I will post again when there are any new developments,

    Sandie
     
  7. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Awwww....you must get a photo of her on the upturned boots [​IMG]

    Maybe there is something going on socially between her and her feather-mates that is disconcerting to her and she feels safer in boot camp (ha~!).

    JJ
     
  8. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, no change in the behaviour of my Dark Brahma hen, she is still avoiding contact with the others and is spending her day with a group of chicks.

    She continues to fly in through the door when we let her out of the chick pen, and she LIKES boot camp (thank you JJ for the mental picture of hens in boot camp!). This is her having chosen to go back to boot camp last night!

    [​IMG]


    Maybe our particular boot camp is not tough enough for her!

    I am beginning to think that the (probable) fox attack has left her mentally traumatised as she continues to eat well, preen and generally take care of herself, but is suddenly craving company and security and is not laying eggs.

    sandie
     
  9. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Grey Lady went back to boot camp last night.

    I think we have a house Brahma!


    Sandie
     
  10. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

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    Hi Sandie -

    I think maybe your Grey Lady is a little sore and traumatized by her ordeal. Of course, now she's getting spoiled rotten and knows where to come to get the best goodies, just like my dark Brahma, Frack!

    Frack is a house Brahma, too. She had some deep cuts on her side from an overzealous roo a couple of months ago and has recuperated in the house. She avoided the flock until I rehomed that particular roo.

    She has long since healed and rejoined the flock but still knocks on the front door to come into the house every day to lay her eggs. She also occasionally spends the night inside. Brahmas are the best!


    [​IMG]
     

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