3 yr old hen acting strange

by Sandy & Tiny

Question

New Hampshire Red named Tiny and for the past 3 days hasn't been acting herself.

She stands around with her tail feathers and head down most of the time and has stopped laying eggs. I've checked her crop and although not full it's not compacted. She has runny white curd like stool with a bit of mucus in it.

She eats the food I bring out to them like cottage cheese, oatmeal, etc. I haven't seen her drink so I have a syringe and think I will start giving her water this way.

I am not sure at this point what is wrong with her, she is usually the most active out of all 3 of my girls. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my question.

Answer
Based on what you have shared, two possibilities come to mind. The first is that she is experiencing digestive problems. The curd-like stool may be the cottage cheese moving through barely digested.

The second possibility is that she might be egg bound. This could explain her “depression” if eggs have formed inside her and she can’t pass them.

She would be uncomfortable and need help. This can be a life threatening condition. You might be able to feel her abdomen, just forward and up from her legs and behind her legs towards her vent.

Gently determine if there are any egg shaped masses inside. Running warm water down her chest for about 5 minutes and past her vent can relax muscles and help her pass the eggs.

Dry her and keep her warm and see if she tries to lay. It’s important to always handle laying hens gently as shelled eggs inside them can break and cause serious internal injury.

Based on what you said you have been feeding and the consistency of her stool, I would think the cottage cheese didn’t agree with her.

I would imagine you are feeding chicken feed as well and that they have plenty of water. Cottage cheese is a good source of protein, but if fed, should be mixed with other things, like vegetables and whole grains, and be a small percentage of the mix.

Live culture yogurt might be a better choice as the cultures in it can actually help with digestion.

If she hasn’t been eating or drinking and seems weak you may need to perk her up with some form of electrolytes like Gatorade or a poultry electrolyte product, or even a little sugar water with a pinch of salt (1/4 cup warm water 1 tbsp sugar).

Keep her warm and well hydrated. The sugar water should only be given until she perks up.

There is a possibility of disease, but to help her quickly by treating the symptoms, may save her life.

You may want to get the help of an avian veterinarian, as we can only guess at the problem, based on what you have shared. Hope this helps.

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