What's going on?


10 Years
Sep 6, 2010
Our sweet banty has been acting off for about a week. We have 5 hens, all a year old, only one bantam. She has stopped laying (I checked possible hiding spots and found no eggs and they were all locked in for the weekend, no banty eggs in the nest boxes) and seems depressed. She has started going to bed 30-60 minutes before the others, she was never the first in bed before. She also keeps to herself and I've noticed her tail is down as she walks around. She does not seem sick otherwise. She is the lowest of the pecking order. I think there is a shift going on in the pecking order for #1, our old top hen was a very gentle dictator, the one possibly taking her place is not as nice to the others and does frequently peck her.
Is this just an emotional thing or do you think there is more going on?
Oh, their coop is 9 x 5 and they are let out about 7:30 am into a 1500 ft2 run, they have lots of space.
No diarrhea, all one year old. I checked her droppings tonight for worms and didn't see anything.
When my chickens had mites, they seemed depressed. I never did see mites on them (I checked them every day faithfully as a matter of habit) but I found them on me. So I treated them and they perked up. Also they were shaking their heads every few seconds.

Worms are sometimes not visible in poo. Since they are 1 year old, I would think it might be wise to dust for mites/lice and then if no improvement in a couple of days, maybe call around to vets to see who will do a fecal to check for worms (I believe others have said this might cost $20).

Worming medications are hard on hens, but some do just give the wormer to save the cost of a fecal. I don't have experience with worms, and thus really cannot say whether you SHOULD do it. If you do, please be aware that there is an "egg withdrawal time" where you toss the eggs. You can search BYC for your specific medication to see more.

The other concern is that since she has stopped laying, do you think she could be eggbound? Here is an eggbound thread with symptoms. Maybe you can look it over to see what you think-

I really have no other suggestions at the moment.
Thanks for your thoughts. They were dusted just two weeks ago (2 tx 10 days apart), but my head hen is still getting her feathers visibly chewed up. I will re-treat with a different chemical and do a thorough coop cleaning. Man I hate, hate, hate dusting them! Not looking forward to it, but I think it needs to be done again.

They were all wormed about 4 months ago, I was going to put them on a 6 month rotation. Maybe a little longer, going to wait until they are molting probably.

I don't think she is egg bound, but I will keep a close eye on her tomorrow keeping in mind the symptoms.

It's nice to hear another angle, I need to learn to trust my "chicken gut" a little better, it's usually pretty accurate.

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