Why has my hen lost her appetite?

by Sue
(Wiltshire, England)


Why has my hen lost her appetite? I have a Bluebelle hen, Dorothy, who is about 18 months old. She hasn't been well for quite a while now.

She has gradually lost a lot of weight, stopped laying, stood isolated, huddled, by herself and her wattles and comb shrunk and became very pale.

She is one of 8 hens and I worm them regularly using Flubenvet, last worming taking place in September. She has been unwell since June 2010. All of the others have been fine.

I had a poop test done at the Vets in mid December and they confirmed she had worms plus an e coli infection.

I treated her with Flubenvet and antibiotics for one week and she appeared initially to improve gradually. She has good days and not so good days.

Over the past week or so I can feel that she has put on weight and is much more active than she had been. I have also wormed the others again to be on the safe side.

However, I noticed that yesterday she didn't eat anything when she emerged from the coop - I give her some of her favorite things just to get some food into her - a small amount of grapes mixed into her usual feed along with a small amount of bread soaked in water, mixed in.

She ate most of it. She did a couple of very small poos which looked quite normal - they have been very runny and white in the past.

This morning she was last out of the coop and again showed no interest in food.

What can I do to help her? Should I keep worming her? She has been through a lot and I want to get her back to her former good health.

I brought her into the kitchen again this morning - she ate her favorite bits but made no attempt at eating her mash.

Your help would be most appreciated.

She is a strong hen, indeed, to have made it through all this, and you have worked hard to help her!

One thing I highly suggest, after using antibiotics, is using some kind of pro-biotic to restore good digestive bacteria.

There are products you can buy at the feed store or you can just go to the grocery store and buy some live culture yogurt.

I’d buy a nice big container and let all the chickens feast! Without good bacteria vital nutrients could be passing right through her undigested.

I’ve also purchased a vitamin/electrolyte/pro-biotic powder at the feed store. I would highly recommend trying this as well as the yogurt.

I personally am against preventative de-worming for my chickens and other animals. I watch them and inspect droppings regularly and treat if I see any signs.

Since I don’t want chemicals in my chickens or eggs, I use Diotomaceous Earth. I’ve raised and cared for all kinds of animals from fish to goats and finches to sheep, plus lots of poultry, and had great success only treating when I see signs.

A chicken I purchased last summer that passed a round worm. I started sprinkling the DE in their food, cleaned the coop and dusted the floor and new shavings with it as well and haven’t seen a worm since.

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