Rooster and chicken

by Marie Pettit
(United States)

Question

We had a rooster and a chicken, who just showed up in our yard one day, we think they were left behind when a neighbor moved.

We built them a coop, and they seemed very happy. After about 7 months, the rooster was sadly killed by an animal.

The chicken seems to be doing fine (this has now been about 6 months that we've only had the chicken), but we were wondering if we should get another, perhaps younger, chicken to keep her company?

We don't think we want another rooster, due to the early morning noise, but would she like another chicken to hang out with?

Maybe younger, so she still feels like the "head" chicken?

Answer
I have found the best and safest introductions are between chickens of very similar size, especially with hens, but there are always acceptions.

You may not be able to predict who will be the “head”, but the odds would be in the favor of the hen that is already established.

It would be good to get another hen to keep her company since they are flock animals. She may be nice to a younger chicken and glad for the company, but there is no guarantee.

At least if the new hen is similar in size it will have a better chance of defending its self and standing its ground.

When bringing in a new chicken, it’s important to be certain it is healthy and free of parasites. It’s a good idea to keep a new hen “cooped up” for several days to help her feel comfortable in her new home.

If there is a yard attached to the coop to keep her in, that would be OK, too. A new hen, not feeling at home, might be more apt to leave, or be run off by your current hen.

Chickens are creatures of habit, so several days learning to roost in a new place and possibly start laying eggs in the nests you provide will help her feel this is now her home.

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My cockral

by Joanne
(Belgium)

Question
My cockerel has not been feeling himself. I noticed he was sleeping a lot and started sneezing, with discharge coming out of his mouth.

He has gone off his food and water any advise would be gratefully appreciated.

Answer
Joanne, I’m so sorry this boy is in this condition. Often, when a chicken has become this ill, it can be hard to turn them around.

Possibly he has been sick for some time and is just now too weak to hide it. This is usually the way with chickens.

Since they are flock animals, the weak attract predators, which is a threat to the others. The flock can become disturbed by his unwell behavior and actually prevent him from eating enough.

This is a survival mechanism of the flock, to protect the group. There is nothing mean about it, and one of the reasons chickens are usually such hearty animals.

If you can save him he will need: a heat lamp, vitamin/electrolyte mix, conditioning feed, and possibly antibiotics.

This sounds like a simple upper respiratory infection, but could be part of a contagious disease. A vet exam could tell you for sure.

The vitamin/electrolyte mix is most important as he is probably dehydrated and depleted of minerals and necessary vitamins for a good immune system.

Offering as much as you can, according to the directions, may save his life and perk him up enough to eat on his own.

He may have a high fever and 25 mg / lb of body weight / day can help. The heat lamp will help him regulate his body temperature, since fevers make even us feel cold sometimes.

If he won’t eat on his own, offer soaked feed or a mush made of feed and the vitamin/electrolyte mix often may get him enough nutrition to keep going and get better.

He should be away from other poultry and birds since this may be contagious. Hope this helps and he gets better.

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Sick rooster is 3 years old

Question
My sick rooster is 3 years old. He has always gone outside and cockadoodaldooed all the time. Now he stays in the chicken coop on the perch all fluffed up and does not go out side.

It is the end of March in Ohio and cold now. We’ve had a few warm days and all the other chickens go outside but he does not.

He looks fine other then that. What could be wrong and what can I give him to make him feel better?

Answer
He should be separated from the flock on the chance that he has something contagious. I would give him a thorough going over looking for signs of thinness and parasites.

You haven’t said what breed he is but for some breeds this is old age. Setting him up away from the others with a heat lamp may perk him up enough to eat and drink on his own.

If not he may need antibiotics to treat any symptoms you might find. If his keel bone, the bone that runs up and down the center of the large breast muscles is protruding and sharp feeling, he is under weight.

Under nourished chickens will absorb this muscle to survive when not getting enough nutrition. You may have plenty of food out for him all the time.

He possibly hasn’t felt well enough to eat or has parasites robbing him of nutrients. I would suggest taking a sample of his droppings to the vet to see if he has worms and what the right treatment would be.

Sometimes a chicken is too sick to give the medicine right away, so it’s good to be sure he is well enough for treatment.

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Rooster won't roost

by Krista
(Cheboygan, MI USA )

Question
Rooster loss of voice & hopping: One of my hens died...she was really skinny, but I couldn't tell because she had all her feathers.

Then I noticed she stopped roosting she was in the hen box at night with one of the other hens. I decided to bring her in the house but, she got worse and died.

Now my rooster stopped roosting, but he doesn't seem to be losing weight yet.

I put him on the roost and he just jumps off, his crop is fine and he is eating and drinking.

I just want to find out if my whole flock is going to get sick I have 38 hens and 4 roosters they go outside in the snow have heat lamps inside and my hens are still laying.

They have fresh water with electrolytes and there food is not molding. I realized a bale of hay I was putting in had some silver mold on it and it was dusty.

I threw the whole bale out and cleaned the coop...so that there is just dirt on the bottom.

Now I am going to build them a floor so I can just sweep it out everyday.

Not sure what else to do, the vet said it might be chicken flu but they don't have puffy eyes or running noise's

Answer
Any type of mold on hay can create a major problem for chickens. Some may not show signs of problems but others will, just like humans.

If the moldy hay was in their area, I would strongly suggest that you remove your chickens for 72 hours.

I know that will be difficult because you have a good sized flock but it is necessary for their health.

The entire area needs to be cleaned with bleach and water to rid the area of any mold spores.

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What is Wrong with My Rooster?

Question:
What is Wrong with My Rooster: My rooster has been standing in the bushes for at least 3 hours and seems to be disoriented and has a clear discharge that is with coming from his beak or mouth I don't know which. What could be wrong with him?

Answer:
You will have to give him a good looking over. Check his crop to see if it feels hard, mushy or empty.

It's located at the bottom front of his neck on the right side. Clear liquid from the mouth is sometimes just excess water.

If his crop is blocked, he needs help. The contents would feel solid and not mushy if the crop is impacted.

He may have eaten something that didn't agree with him, he could have worms and need treatment for that.

I would separate him from the group in a roomy pen or cage after examining him for injuries, thinness or crop problems.

If it's the crop you may be able to offer him water or a water cider vinegar solution ( 1/2 cup water 1 tbsp vinegar).

Offer with an eye dropper or dip the tip of of his beak in a shallow dish and watch for him to swallow.

After he takes a bit, gently massage the crop working the liquid into the solids. This may help him digest it.

There could be any number of things wrong with him. With so little to go by, I couldn't tell you if he is sick, injured, or has an upset digestive system due to worms or something he ate.

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