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Merlah

Poorly hen?

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Hello,

We got our hens about a month ago and since the first day one of them seems to breathe quite heavily, her whole body seems to move, haven't seen that in the other three hens. She also sits down a lot, often with her tail feathers down and her breathing looks even heavier then. 

Otherwise she seems completely healthy, she eats, she drinks, she lays an egg every other day and poops normally. She happily runs around the run or the garden although less than all the others, . She's also still high in the pecking order and no one bothers her when she sits around. 

So the question really is: Could there be anything wrong with her? Or is she just a 'lazy' hen that enjoys sitting around more than others and I worry too much? 

 

Thanks already! 

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If she's been doing it for a month I wouldn't worry too much, it sounds normal for her, especially as she is still laying.

Continue to keep an eye on her as you're doing and hopefully she's fine :) 

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Have gentle feel of her abdomen and see if it feels soft or hardish and heavy; hard to tell without seeing her, but sounds like peritonitis to me - that can cause heavy breathing as the fluid puts extra pressure on the internal organs. If it feels turgid, then you'd be best to take her to a chicken-savvy vet, although there's not a lot that can be done I'm afraid

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It's also possible that she is just fat. Worth noting where she roosts and comparing the poo pile compared to the others, or checking the size of her crop at night compared to the others. If you are giving treats make sure they are kept to a minimum, just a small percentage of their diet and avoid sweetcorn.

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Thanks for your replies! :)

I will check their crops tonight and will keep treats away. At the moment they are getting some treats in the afternoon but they'll live without it! She doesn't look paticularly fat, but if I look at pictures she could seem a bit wider than the rest (although she's also taller).

I'll also read up on peritonitis and see if I can feel anything. There are a couple of (according to their websites) chicken savvy vets around us if all fails. Now here's hoping she's either just fat or it's nothing after all! I'll report back though. 

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I still haven't figured out how to edit posts....

I just felt her abdomen and compared it to another hen, they seem to feel identical, I don't think they are hard. Will keep an eye on it though and let my other half feel it too! Her crop does seem bigger than the others, but that could just be the light and feathering and I will check that out later.

This was her just now by the way (not amused by having been caught just before :D )

 

harriet.JPG

Edited by Merlah

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She looks a picture of perfect health Merlah, although that is a large crop. They usually eat morning and evening, so if she's going to top hers up it will be huge. Worth checking her crop is completely empty in the morning as well; no hard lumps that could be going sour.

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