Sick Hen Very Tame

by Sarah Ritchie


Sick Hen Very Tame: I have a hen 2 - 3 yrs old. She is very tame, active regular layer who free ranges with a Speckled Sussex and a young Silkie cockerel.

In the last week she has stopped walking about and she just stands around with ruffled feathers looking 'cold' with her head disappearing into her body.

She has watery diarrhea and is less responsive. I had a similar chicken suffer the same demise last November.

We separated her and kept her warm but she didn't recover (she deteriorated obviously in the 5 days separated from others). So in the end it was a difficult decision to cull.

Can you help? We have separated her from the others. We will give chicken shed a good clean out. What products are safe to use for thorough cleaning?

Cockerel came in September from local show and is maybe 9 months old. Sussex came to us on Nov 10 from local farm where she free ranged with several others but has never laid to our knowledge.

Also, have just reared 2 French Marans cockerels and a Jersey hen (all 12 weeks old) and just turned out with older birds this week.

Our compost heap is within the chickens run and has horse droppings, food waste, leaves and grass cuttings from summer. They are fed layers pellets and given loose corn as a treat. We have wormed in December with Flubevent.

I would suggest vitamins for the whole flock and some live culture yogurt for your girl with the diarrhea problem. Vitamins and better digestive bacteria might help her a lot.

Separating from the flock is not always the best thing to do as it can add to stress. But supporting her with heat is good. If she looks “cold” she probably is.

Drops in body temp can lower immune response and allow bacteria or virus to thrive. Do whatever you can to encourage her to eat with some fruit and high protein and fat foods and treat the rest of the flock to it, too.

Most feed stores carry a vitamin/electrolyte powder that can be added to food or water. The directions call for three days of treatment, usually, and can be repeated as needed.

If you can avoid separating her from the flock this might keep her spirits up better. When conditions need improving the weakest chicken in your flock will probably show signs long before the others.

Worming is a good idea if you believe they are exposed to worms or if you see worms in their droppings. Keeping floor litter clean as possible and dry will help.

Ammonia fumes can build in a coop to dangerous levels, especially if the chickens spend a lot of time inside. The fumes can irritate the respiratory system and lead to problems.

Most bleach bottles give a formula for disinfecting, so follow that if you believe harmful bacteria or virus might be present.

As long as you don’t have puddles of bleach/water present when the chickens return and have aired out the chlorine fumes, bleach is an excellent and inexpensive product.

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