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Poorly chicken? Apologies for length!!

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Poorly chicken? Apologies for length!!

Post  The Zoo on Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 am

Hi all, hoping someone has some advice for me! We have Molly, a Welsummer who came from friends of ours along with our other 4 chickens. I will try to give you a brief history of her in case that has any bearing on her current predicament!
She was badly bullied and pecked at our friends and ending up having to be kept on her own for nearly 2 months. When we took her and the others on they made a new flock and didn't seem to have any problems. Molly had been coated with the black tar stuff as a last resort to try and stop the others pecking and though her feathers had grown back, she looked quite sorry for herself all covered in black Sad
She was definately bottom of the pecking order, and often spends time by herself, though she usually gets in the thick of things when it comes to treats etc! She has rarely laid since we got her. Over the last few weeks I have noticed that she is spending more time sitting and sleeping. She went through a phase of sleeping in the nestbox but would always come out during the day. I blocked the nestbox at night to stop her, she was reluctant to go back on the roost and often ended up sleeping on the floor. Occasionally the others have pecked at her when she's been sitting down, but she usually gets up and moves and it doesn't seem to go any further than that. However yesterday I went in around 4pm to give them some corn and collect eggs as usual and have a look over and all was fine. At 7pm I looked out the window and saw her sitting on the floor with Margot pulling feathers out of her and she was not moving. My initial thought was that she was dead, and I flew out in a panic! She was alive, but in that short time they must have been pecking continuously as her back and neck were bald, and her back was bleeding a little. I picked her up and she seemed unable to weight bear and generally looking very poorly indeed. I brought her inside and offered her water and some yoghurt, which she (after a few bits syringed down her) began lapping eagerly. I have watched her over the last few days to make sure that she eats and drinks and she has been.
She seemed to perk up a little so I put her back in their shed overnight, but in a covered box so that they couldn't get to her to peck. This morning I put her in a seperate cage within the run for the same reason. She was almost lying on her side on the floor and I really thought she was on her last legs. I brought her inside and tried to give her water and yoghurt but she wasn't really interested and just kept her eyes shut. I went out and got some mash (I usually feed them pellets) as I thought it might be easier for her to eat and when she saw it she started wolfing it down. Throughout the day I have offered her mash and water, and she has been eating and seems brighter. I have kept her indoors (in the box in the downstairs loo!!) and she has eventually throughout the day been able to stand on her own, though she is still wobbly and weak. She is eating and drinking from the dishes I've put there and is definately looking better.
Somebody suggested to me the possibility of broodiness, which I hadn't really thought about because she just looked so poorly, but am wondering if I missed the signs as she wasn't sitting in the nestbox which I believe is usual for broodiness? The more I've read about it the more possible it seems, but has anybody had a broody hen who didn't go in the nestbox? I now feel awful because I think I missed the signs and she obviously hasn't been eating enough, I must have just seen her eat small bits Sad
I know if I'd left her in with the others they would have pecked her to death, as she looks bad enough now (though it is just where so many feathers have been pulled, I think I caught them in time), so I'm not sure about re-introducing her but will cross that bridge when we come to it, I just want to make her better!!

Thank you so much if you've managed to stay with me this far, I thought it better to give as much info as possible!!! If anyone has been in a similar situation or has had a broody hen which didn't use the nestbox I'd love to hear your suggestions. I really want to pull my quiet girl back from the edge

Thank you so much

Karen x

The Zoo

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Re: Poorly chicken? Apologies for length!!

Post  flump on Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:46 pm

Hi Karen
I myself have a hen that goes broody every so often,sometimes she goes in the nest box but othertimes she is quite happy to just sit in the actual hen house,i have even caught her in the garden sitting on the grass for ages ! i just lift her,she argues with me and tries to peck me then goes on her way for some food and water.
I can only assume your hen was doing the same as she spent so much time in the nest box,unfortunately if you dont break them of this they will die of starvation,i believe you have done the right thing by taking her indoors to feed her.Maybe now you could start introducing her back to the others but keep an eye on her if she tends to spend too much time in the nest box again,if she does just keep lifting her out and putting her in the garden,in the end she will get fed up with this.
I hope this has helped.


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