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    • CommentAuthorlisamanning50
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2010 6:55pm (Sep 14th 2010)
    Hello everyone!

    I'm new to this site and have found it really useful in answering a lot of the questions that hen keeping books just dont seem to answer! But now I'm worried and could do with some advice about what to do next.
    Two weeks ago I collected 4 ex-batt hybrid hens from a local charity. At first they did the expected thing of pecking and quarreling with eachother. One of my girls, Prince, quickly become the dominant hen- a little bully if the truth be known!!! However this quickly died down and they seemed to be living very happily together.
    But in the last few days Prince has become very subdued. She has gone from running around the garden like a headless chicken (sorry I couldn't resist!!) and pecking at anything and everything, to moving very slowly and having the odd peck here and there.
    To me she just doesn't seem herself. She is eating but not as much as usual.
    I have checked her for impacted and sour crop and for being egg bound but all seem to be fine. Any ideas??? I hate seeing her looking so sad!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2010 9:03pm (Sep 14th 2010)
    Hi Lisa and welcome to hen cam. Sorry to hear about your poorly hen. You have done the most likely checks, have a listen to her chest and see if her lungs are clear. Check for mites and lice under her wings and round her vent is where they like to be. Also check to see if she has any injuries.
    It wouldn't hurt to put a bit of sugar in her water and give her a treat of cooked chopped up egg for a bit of extra nourishment. Have another check for being egg bound as well.
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2010 9:29pm (Sep 14th 2010) edited

    Keeper of the hens

    :welcome: to the forum.

    Congrats on your ex-bats!

    Sorry to hear Prince is feeling a bit down in the dumps. For a general 'pick me up' with chickens you can add either sugar or apple cider vinegar to their water (we use a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in our medium sized water tanker). There is also a formula called Chicken Spice ( ) which is a good 'pick me up' too. You can also add chopped garlic in their food and mix it in well.

    General checks you can do: as she is an ex-bat I would suggest giving her a once over just to make sure she doesn't have any obvious injuries. Ex-bats have very weak bones and muscles because they have never been used before, so it's very easy for them to damage them in the first few weeks of freedom.

    Check to see if she is egg bound. Stress can help a hen become egg bound, which is where an egg becomes trapped in a hen and she is unable to pass it. Feel her stomach area to see if you can feel a solid round lump which could be the egg. If you can, hold her in a warm (not hot) sink-full of water for ten minutes or so, enough water so that it is covering her vent, and afterwards you can try oiling her vent with vegetable oil (not nice, I know). The bath helps her relax, and the oil helps the egg slip out easier! Failing this, it's best to call a vet and take her ASAP as an egg bound hen, if not helped, will die.

    Also, check her crop area (the area above her chest where the food is stored and digested). Ex-battery hens can develop crop problems because of all the new food they are finding and being offered - make sure you are giving your girls grit to help them digest food they aren't used to. If her crop feels 'sloppy' and very soft she could have sour crop (where the food in the crop is rotten and making her ill) and if it is extremely hard and solid she could have an impacted crop (where something as simple as a long blade of grass has caused a blockage). Massaging the crop and mixing your girls' food with vegetable oil can help both of these problems, as can adding Apple Cider Vinegar to the water. If it does seem to be a crop issue and it doesn't seem to improve within a few days, I'd take her to the vets.

    Feeding your girls activated natural yoghurt helps the good bacteria in their stomachs too, in case their are any nasties in there. Check for mites and other pests, and I strongly recommend this product (it is what we use in our coop, nest boxes and even the girls' food and it works wonders!):
    Click the ' Information about Diatom' link to find out more about it.

    Is Prince still eating and drinking? This is crucial. When a chicken isn't eating or drinking she is showing that something is very wrong and should be taken to the vet ASAP.

    If Prince doesn't pick up within a few days, take her to the vet and see what he suggests. Good luck with your girls :)
    • CommentAuthorlisamanning50
    • CommentTimeSep 15th, 2010 9:48am (Sep 15th 2010)
    Thanks for the welcomes and the quick advice. Yesterday evening my partner and I gave her a thorough check over. We looked for mites (both on Prince and in the coop) and we looked for injuries- on both counts she seemed normal, no mites or injuries to be found.
    We also felt her crop- it is soft and not grainy so I assume that is fine?! No bad smells that we could detect. We also checked for her being egg-bound firstly by feeling her externally but then decided to try an internal examination too to check for broken egg as I know this is also very dangerous. These examinations detected nothing either, although a few tablespoons of transparant liquid came out of her when doing the internal examination- is that normal???
    She is very lethargic and mopey- she is eating and drinking but not as much as usual. I have not tried the warm bath yet but will do this later today. I was half expecting to find her dead this morning because she seemed so unhappy yesterday. I am giving her ACV in her water but will try sugar too, and the yoghurt idea- thank you for those ideas!!!
    Hopefully that and the bath will do the trick- I cant imagine losing her now!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2010 1:01pm (Sep 16th 2010) edited
    How is she doing today Lisa ? I hope she is feeling a lot better.
    • CommentAuthorlisamanning50
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2010 7:23pm (Sep 16th 2010)
    Hi NN,

    We gave her a nice warm long bath yesterday evening, then a thorough dry with a hairdryer- which she seemed to really enjoy. We also fed her pro-biotic yoghurt and gave her sugared water. She ate and drank well!!
    This morning she still seemed very mopey and not particularly active and this afternoon she is pretty much the same- but I'm not sure what else I can do! Could it just be a case of the Autumn blues?? She is molting in places.
    Is there anything else you think I should try?

    Your help is really appreciated- thank you!
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2010 7:30pm (Sep 16th 2010)
    I don't suppose she could be broody, anyone?
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2010 8:29pm (Sep 16th 2010) edited
    It is possible CC, when my hen Victoria went broody she was real confused and Big Specks goes moody when she is in moult. She seems almost embarresed being seen poor girl!!
    Did you have a listen to her chest to make sure she wasn't congested? The other thing you can do is stick her under your arm almost upside down stretch out her neck so it is as straight as possible and massage her crop just to make sure she hasn't got sour crop. If a watery fluid comes out expel it all and feed her more yoghurt. It isn't always easy to know if they have sour crop sometimes and just smelling their breath isnt always helpful. Other than that I can not think of anything at the moment. If every thing else fails you will have to take her to the vet.
    Keep us updated as to how she is doing.
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2010 8:32pm (Sep 16th 2010)

    Keeper of the hens

    They don't normally mope about when they are broody though, they just refuse to leave their brooding spot! I'd take her to the vets if she doesn't pick up, just in case it's something that you can't detect...not that many vets are too good with chickens, but he might have some ideas of hot to help her.
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 17th, 2010 6:09pm (Sep 17th 2010)
    How is she today, Lisa?
    • CommentAuthorlisamanning50
    • CommentTimeSep 17th, 2010 6:12pm (Sep 17th 2010)
    Thanks everyone!

    I have tried to massage her crop but its difficult to find today- my other three girls all have soft but easily found crops but Prince doesn't seem to have anything in hers at the moment. I assume this means shes either not eating or has emptied it recently. So I have brought her indoors to see if she is eating today or not.
    I have given her a large bowl of sugared water which she has finished in less than 30 minutes (a very thirsty bird it seems!) She is also eating the pro biotic yoghurt pretty well.
    However she has just done a poo and it has a really awful smell!! It is an eggy colour, very watery and smells very strongly of rotten egg! She is still very lethargic and closes her eyes every now and then for a minutes or so at a time.
    I definitely intend to speak to a vet as soon as i find one nearby which deals with chickens.
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 17th, 2010 6:15pm (Sep 17th 2010)
    Well somewhere on here is a rather graphic thread featuring pics of a variety of runny poos, Lisa. Sounds revolting, but if you can see one which matches you might be able to help the vet's diagnosis. Good luck! Try a search for 'runny poo' in the comments.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeSep 17th, 2010 6:40pm (Sep 17th 2010)
    Hi Lisa, I think you should take your hen to a vet as it is possible she has a parasite commonly known as Black head. This is treatable as long as you go asap. I might well be wrong as I havent seen your hen and am not a vet, but the symptons as pointing towards it. Good Luck with finding a suitable vet and dont forget to keep us updated as it could help someone else with a similar problem. Also it is lovely to have you join us pet xx
    • CommentTimeSep 17th, 2010 9:33pm (Sep 17th 2010)
    I hope you find a suitable vet Lisa, they are all very good with dogs, cats and rabbits, but take something different in and many of them are stumped - not that they'll tell you that. What area are you in? Someone else may be in your region and able to suggest someone.

    I hope your girl feels better soon and as NN said please do update us and stay with us. We're a friendly lot!
    • CommentAuthorlisamanning50
    • CommentTimeSep 19th, 2010 9:01pm (Sep 19th 2010)
    I have got an appointment with a vet near me in Southampton that a friend has recommended. They have a vet with experience of treating chickens so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they can make her feel better!
    Prince has perked up a bit today and is a little more active but her poo is still white/yellowly liquid so I dont think shes out of the woods yet. I will let you all know the outcome as soon as I do!
    • CommentTimeSep 19th, 2010 9:57pm (Sep 19th 2010)
    That's good news! I hope he can help her out - I suspect he'll give her a dose of antibiotics at the very least (so be careful not to eat her eggs if he does!) Best of luck!
    • CommentTimeSep 20th, 2010 12:33pm (Sep 20th 2010)

    Keeper of the hens

    Good luck at the vets - hope your vet is better than that ******** was with Milly...
    • CommentAuthorlisamanning50
    • CommentTimeSep 20th, 2010 6:42pm (Sep 20th 2010)
    Back from the vets and I am very impressed with how knowledgable they were about chickens.

    It turns out that Prince has Coccidiosis! Although the main symptom for this is blood in the poo- this is the last symptom to occur and one that basically indicates you are too late to help them.
    Luckily Prince does not have blood in her poo and has started to perk up quite a lot by herself in the last 48 hours. The vet has put her on a 10 day course of the antibiotic Baytril and is confident that this should sort her out.
    Prince was in obvious pain when the vet internally examined her vent with her finger (apparently a very sore vent without being egg bound is a key symptom of Coccidiosis)
    The parasite is internal to the chicken so should not be passed to the others so long as I clean up her poo thoroughly each day until she is better.

    It seems that ex-batts are particularly prone to Coccidiosis due to the stress of moving home and the new and alien environment they find themselves in.

    £21 for appointment and meds- VERY well spent! Fingers crossed she will continue to improve from here on in!
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 20th, 2010 7:45pm (Sep 20th 2010)
    £21???!!! Blimey, I'm moving to wherever you are at those prices, Lisa! Glad that Prince is on the mend; hope she continues to get better. Welcome to the madhouse, by the way!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeSep 20th, 2010 7:58pm (Sep 20th 2010)
    So pleased that you found a really good vet Lisa and that your hen is a lot better. The cost was very fair as well.
    Now you are not so worried about your hen, please do come and join us in all the discussions and have a little fun or a rant with us.
    • CommentTimeSep 20th, 2010 9:38pm (Sep 20th 2010)
    Fabulous Lisa! A good vet and a dose of antibiotics - what more could a poorly hen want?! I hope she continues to improve - please keep us updated.