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Author Topic: Hen has stopped laying  (Read 967 times)

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Dibsy

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Hen has stopped laying
« on: June 19, 2013, 17:41 »
I am new to chicken keeping; we have 3 that we got in April.  They are hybrids.  One of them started laying almost straight away, a small egg every day.  They other two have since started laying as well (all different colour/shape eggs so I can tell which is which).  However the one that started laying first has stopped. I don't expect an egg every day but she hasn't laid one for about 2 weeks now.

She seems to be eating and drinking fine.  I picked her up and had a good look at her; no sign of mites, straining to get a big egg out or anything else untoward.  However when she is in the coop she stands differently to the other two - tail down rather than up.  She is also doing this funny sideways movement with her neck that I haven't noticed her doing before.  When I'm around though she is as lively as the other two and does peck around and scratch nomally.  She doesn't seem distressed.  Her comb is pink and not floppy. 

Do I need to worry?

Thanks in advance for any help.  I am new here but can see I may become addicted!

Dibsy



Prod

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 20:18 »
Hi Dibsy   I am afraid I cannot help with the problem but I can guarantee you will become addicted!!!  I started with 3 hens last march....  I now have 15 hens and 2 cockerels, 5 call ducks and 8 ducklings and 2 runner duck ducklings..........     I ask a question on here nearly every day and the people are great Someone always has an answer, an opinion or just a word of support.  You have found the right site to be  a member of!!! :D :D
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 06:47 by Prod »

grinling

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 21:13 »
Are her eyes clear/ bubbling? Nose clear? breathing sounds? Is she sitting in the nest box alot? Describe neck movements exactly or pictures if poss.
Lice are yellow and live on birds, mites are grey unless gourged on blood then red. Check for red mite using white paper scrapped in crevices.
Have they got access to oyster shell/grit... I put mine in 2 flowerpots staked in the ground with tent pegs or bent strong wire. Do they have access to greens (grass/brassicas), helps to absorb calcium.
Does tummy feel hotter on her compared to other 2 birds. Were they from the same stock?

ANHBUC

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 21:21 »
Hello and welcome to the site Dibsy.   :)

Do you know how old your hens are?  Were they vaccinated and if so what against?  Have they been wormed?

Your hen will try to disguise any illness so may behave normally when you are around so try and observe without her knowing.  They are vulnerable to predators and bullying if they show signs of weakness.

As grinling says they need access to grit to aid digestion and oyster shell to help form a good quality shell.  Try not to give them too many treats as this can cause an imbalance and soft shelled eggs which are difficult for them to lay.
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Dibsy

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 21:42 »
Thank you for your replies - I will try and answer all your questions...

They all came from the same place and were vaccinated before I got them.  They are about 24 weeks old I think - this particular chicken started laying a few days after we got her and the others 2-3 weeks later.

Her eyes are clear and bright.  There is no obvious noisy breathing.  She is not sitting in the nesting box at all as far as I have seen.  The neck movement is a bit like the normal head movements but off to one side - a sort of stretch.  I'll see if I can get a photo tomorrow!  I have checked for mites and there aren't any.

There is no sign of any bullying from the others.

They do have grit/shell.

They come out in the garden a few times a week and peck around eating our plants.  I've tried giving them greens but none of them are particularly interested.

I've had a good look at her and can't see any problems - her tummy feels normal, her crop is no bigger than the other birds and there is no obvious egg stuck!

Thanks again.

Dibsy


ANHBUC

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 21:47 »
They do a neck movement and gape their beak to pass food from their crop to be digested.

They can also gape due to a worm - 'gape worm'.  If they have not been wormed recently best to treat them all using flubenvet, their is no egg withdrawal whilst using it.

If her crop is full on a night check that it is empty on a morning as they can suffer with impacted crop if they eat long grass or anything gets stuck in the crop.   ;)

splash101

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 21:57 »
keep trying with the greens, it may take a few attempts before they show any interest

Dibsy

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2013, 08:51 »
Thank you for your replies.

I will keep trying the greens.

I've just looked up gapeworm and I don't think this is the problem from the symptoms I can see.

Her crop doesn't feel full this morning.

Dibsy

Dibsy

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2013, 15:03 »
OK, I've had another look at her and compared her to her friends and I think she has sour crop.  The crop area is much more squashy than the other two.  It is difficult to say as I'm not an expert.  So I've looked here and elsewhere online (this is good http://www.littlehenrescue.co.uk/Pages/Medicaladvice.aspx) and have managed to do the upside down massaging thing and she has vomited up some fluid/grass.  However the crop still feels the same.  Should I expect it all to go at once or is it a case of persevering and trying again (a few times a day?)?.  I've put some apple cider vinegar in their water and given them all some active yogurt which they gobbled up!

Any other tips?  At what point should we go to the vet?

Thanks

Dibsy

ANHBUC

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2013, 15:11 »
There is some information on sour crop on the site HERE

Keep a close eye on her and take her to the vets if you are concerned she is not getting better or is getting worse. 

Dibsy

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 15:14 »
Thanks for that.

I'll see how we get on...

ANHBUC

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 15:19 »
It might be worth you separating her so you can see how much she is eating, drinking and pooing.  They can lose weight very quickly. 

It could be a blocked gizzard, I lost two birds earlier this year as they had eaten bedding which I used to use in their walk in run.   :( 

Dibsy

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 15:24 »
OK, thanks for the advice.  She doesn't feel skinnier than the others and looks like she is eating and drinking OK - she certainly enjoyed the yogurt!

I'll go off and look up blocked gizzards now!

Dibsy

ANHBUC

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2013, 17:23 »
It is an internal organ that the hens use the grit to digest their food in.  You would not be able to tell that is the problem other than a pm after death.

You could always weigh your hen if you have digital scales and then you can monitor her weight.  Weigh her each time after you have done the massage treatment for sour crop.   :)

Dibsy

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Re: Hen has stopped laying
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 07:29 »
Thank you.  I'm pretty sure it is sour crop.  I'm going to have another go at getting the stuff out of her crop today and take her to the vet later if I can't do it or she doesn't seem any better.  I had another go yesterday evening and did manage to get some more out.

Dibsy



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