by Irene Bishop
(Saint Augustine)

My chicken laid one shell less egg the next day the egg was broken. She kind of acting weird, head down not as active. Her poop was black with a creamy white. She is eating a little. Gave her some oyster shell egg shell and some yogurt. What do I look for? Put her in my home. Can you give me advice?


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by: Sharon

Glad you are keeping her close.

It's not unusual for an egg to be laid without a complete shell coating. It could be a sign of calcium deficiency or just a fluke, and it could be a sign that the hen has reached a point where she is nearly laid-out, meaning she may be unable to lay many more eggs in her life - if any.

Her signs of depression & lethargy are possibly signs of an illness, The dark droppings may be a sign that she is not eating enough or if dark red brown could be a sign of intestinal parasites or illness.

How old is she and what breed?

You may be able to help her get healthy again by encouraging moist foods like soaked chicken feed & scratch in warm water. Giving vitamins and electrolytes, too, may help perk her up.

It's very hard to diagnose chicken illnesses accurately without veterinary testing, which is costly, if you can find a poultry vet.

Some chicken breeds only live a good healthy laying life for about 2 years. They have been bred to lay a lot of eggs in the shortest amount of time. They usually start laying earlier in life than other breeds, but are worn out and laid out in about 2 years, and their health declines, too. If she is this type of Production breed and near that age, there is little to do but keep her comfortable.

If she is a longer lived breed she may have contracted an illness, been injured, be egg bound, and a variety of other things.

I don't know what kind of weather you are experiencing, but if extremely cold, a long winter could be catching up with her. What you are doing - bringing her in where it's warm, giving her TLC, giving her healthy foods and plenty of fluids, may help her recover.

When chickens get sickly there can be so many reasons why, but the most important thing is to treat her symptoms. Seems to me that warmth and good food, vitamins and liquids are the best thing to focus on. I would encourage her to eat moist foods as a way to simply get needed fluids in her body, as well as food.

Sometimes a bit aspirin can be helpful. You can look up the dosing on line for one chicken.

Yogurt may be helpful. A little apple cider vinegar in her water, too. If she's willing to eat you might offer her some warm scrambled egg, some fruits and green veggies like spinach or dark lettuces as well as soaked feed.

With so many possibilities of what could have gone wrong with her health, supporting her with the basics is a good place to start. You may see improvements with just those steps.

While you have her close I'd check over her body for any external parasites or other problems and treat her for what you see. I hope this helps a bit and she gets better.

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