WHY WOULD 8-10 YEAR CHICKEN BE UNWELL?

I have an older chicken she has suddenly become lethargic, walking stiffly and slowly. Also have noticed a messy back end and she's a bit smelly. All other chickens are younger and well.

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OLDER HEN NOT WELL
by: Sharon

Not knowing her breed, would guess she is nearing the end of her healthy life. Laying hens, just like all older animals, are going to start to have problems when they are past their prime.

Laying hens can develop problems with their reproductive organs, which can cause other internal problems. They often stop laying and their general health will decline.

What specifically is going on with this chicken I couldn't begin to guess. Some breeds live longer than others, and some individuals don't live as long as others of their breed.

There is always the possibility of a contagious disease affecting one that is already in a weakened state. It's always best to isolate an unwell chicken for the safety of that chicken and the rest of the flock. Another issue is that a chicken acting unwell can attract predators that look for easy prey. This can be dangerous to the flock.

We often see other chickens in the flock picking on the weak and this is often in an effort to drive out those that would attract predators and for the preservation of the others.

Wish I could diagnose this for you, but that could be hard, even if I could see her. When we have animals in our care it is up to us to give them a good quality of life and protect them.

Once a chicken shows their problems, it can mean they just aren't strong enough to keep up with the flock. She might respond to care and get better, but at her age, she may not.

Extra warmth and a protected environment may give her some needed rest to get better, where she can move at her own pace and not have to compete with others.

Thanks for writing. I wish I had a solid answer for you that would help you know what to do to help her through this. Keeping her comfortable and safe would be my choice for her.

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