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The advice given in this section of the forum is based on the experience of forum members and what they have learnt from books, websites and other people. It should not be regarded as professional veterinary advice.



Incidence of problems

If you are new to hen keeping, you may find the chicken clinic a bit alarming. Please remember that it is only problems that are posted here, not details of all the thousands of Omlet hens that live happy healthy lives, laying lots of eggs and never getting sick.


Most hens never have any problems, some have minor and temporary problems that are easily sorted out, and only a very tiny minority have something more serious.


The common problems that affect some hens are covered in the stickies at the beginning of the Chicken Clinic. There is a section on possible symptoms at the start of each sticky. This may help you to quickly find both a diagnosis and reassurance or a cure for your hen. If not, then do post with as many details as possible and you should get a swift reply. Many people have found the forum a good source of advice and support.


Using a Vet

Some people view their hens as livestock, some see them as egg layers that are great fun and have lots of personality, while for other people their hens are pets first and valued members of a family.


This will affect how people treat their hens with regard to involving a vet if a hen is sick - and I feel that it is important that all views about involving a vet should be respected as long as a hen is not allowed to suffer. Any owner of an animal has a responsibility to ensure the animal is looked after properly, is able to express its normal range of behaviour and is free from suffering.


Poultry in a commercial situation, or a largish non-commercial flock will be treated differently to a pet. It is common here to isolate a sick bird to try and ensure the health of the rest of the flock. Any veterinary care will be directed towards keeping as many of the flock healthy, obviously depending on the disease involved. When one hen only is sick or has had an accident, then euthanasia is often carried out.


With pets, veterinary care will be sought to try and help an individual animal to recover from an accident or disease where possible, and euthanasia is only carried out if other options fail or are not considered appopriate. Hens are predominantly commercial animals, although there have always been enthusiastic amateur poultry keepers, and their widespread introduction as pets is relatively recent. This is why many good vets do not have experience of treating them as pets. However this is changing and most people have been able to have their hens treated as they wished. There is a sticky listing vets that forum members have used.

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