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very poorly chicken

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I'm quite new to keeping chickens and one of our 3 hens (an 'amber' hybrid 1 year old) all of a sudden became very poorly, standing still with a pulsing vent and closing her eyes as if very uncomfortable. Assuming she was egg bound (although she had layed earlier) I looked for advice online and gave her a warm bath and rubbed olive oil inside her vent...she later dropped a shelless egg with an odd white rubbery thing and the next day was back to her normal healthy self. However the following day after being fine in the morning and even laying a normal egg, it happened again. Then exactly the same the next...normal in the morning then poorly later. After finding Ivy berries in her poo yesterday and noticing her scoffing down celandine leaves I thought I'd found the cause of her illness and fenced them in an area away from these plants today, yet she later turned poorly again..so much so that she couldn't get up the ramp so I had to lift her in.

I wormed them a couple of months ago and am giving them flubenvet again now..

She has been doing very loose brown poo which doesnt look like the plants shes been nibbling at have been digested well.

When I put her in tonight she had something hard where her vent is but couldn't see in the dark if it was stuck to her feathers or stuck in her vent. Yesterday I found a strange white mass in the coop which in appearance looks like a piece of cooked chicken breast, and in texture like baked artists clay...I have absolutely no idea what it is.

If anyone could give me any advice for my poor hen I'd be so grateful

ps she was vaccinated against several common chicken illnesses before we got her

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They do get poorly before they lay softies but usually perk up quickly afterwards. The last thing you describ is called a lash.

 

I would make sure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin D in their diet (one easy way is baked crushed eggshells and an occasional squirt of cod liver oil on their food.

 

If she continues to have laying problems (as she may well do if she is laying lashes) I would take her to a chicken-specialist vet. There are hormones they can be given to stop them laying all together if necessary.

 

The other thing to do is to keep an eye out for her abdomen seeming squishy or fluid-filled. If this happens she definitely needs to see a vet for peritonitis (laying softies can predispose them to this).

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Thanks for your advice. Have crushed up some eggshells for her. She was bright and perky when I first let them out this morning but with the 'lash' still stuck in her vent. She's looking very poorly now though...I tried a bath and removing as much of the lash as I could but no improvement. Could a lack of calcium be the cause? I feel guilty now I havent given them oystershell for a while, but she eats (other than when shes ill) large quantities of layers pellets which I thought provide all the nutrients they need. If she doesn't prove will seek a chicken vet, although its awkward as my husband is strongly of the opinion "its just a chicken"

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One poster, sandyhasthreechucks, has a lot of experience of lashes. You could search for some of her posts (might be sandyhas3chucks).

 

It is your legal responsibility to make sure your hens get appropriate diagnosis and treatment if they are ill. See the thread about the animal welfare act at the top of the board.

 

Good luck.

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Hi thanks for that-I will show my husband and definitely take her to the vet if this continues. In the meantime she has 'laid' a vast amount of strange white stuff and is now back to her normal self...running around, scratching and eating and drinking lots of water. Not confident it wont happen again though so will keep a close eye on her, and have been out to buy oystershell. Not managed to find sandyhas3chucks yet as am new to the forum and not good on computers but will find it once my daughters birthday party finished (all comes at once!)...so happy our "white feathers" (as the children named her) is looking happy as when we lost our last chicken to a tumour they cried for many weeks, and my daughters birthday would be a terrible time to lose another.Will let you know how she gets on

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Reporting good news! Our 'white feathers' only had one more much shorter spell of looking poorly and laying a softy...she then had 3 days of being back to her normal self but didn't lay anything at all. I assumed she had stopped laying-all the info I could find about laying 'lashes' made me pessimistic of her ever being able to live a comfortable healthy life, let alone lay eggs again. However today I was so excited when she layed an egg! It was the size of a duck egg with a thin shell, but she showed no signs of discomfort...hopefully she will settle down and lay normally again. we had come so close to having her put down, and so glad we didn't!

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Yes she has now laid a normal egg for the past 3 days and is totally back to normal! :D I've no idea what caused her to be ill, but the grass has finally dried up enough to put the coop/run back on the grass which I think has helped. I've also been giving them extra oystershell. We also now have a poultry net to contain them in a certain area which means they can't get at potentially poisonous plants or escape nextdoor...the fact I don't have to hover over them and keep checking them means they can come out of their run all the time except when we are all out (in case of foxes) so I think all in all they are happier!

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Just a quick update nearly 3 months on...White Feathers is totally back to her old self and laying a large egg every day...I've seen this thread has had a lot of views, so for anyone with a poorly hen laying lashes wondering whether she will ever recover, YES there is life after lashes! I think perhaps the oystershell is the key, as one day I forgot to top it up and she looked very poorly and layed 2 softies after her normal egg but thankfully was back to normal by the evening!

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One of my girls has just all of a sudden (from being totally normal an hour ago) become really lethargic and miserable looking. The others are all out and she's just gone and sat in the run on her own. She seems to lay more or less once every three days and today is the third day - do you think she may be going to lay a softy?

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Sorry Mullethunter I didnt find your post till now 4 months on! I hope your hen was OK in the end

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