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Broody hen dying...

(17 Posts)
CountryCob Tue 20-Jun-17 09:04:01

Hello all, I have a broody hen who I have been taking off her eggs a couple of times a day to keep her eating and drinking, her croup is a very grey colour and she lost weight but is generally ok, she hatched a chick yesterday and another last night, there is a final egg under her now. But I think she is dying she is very still and listless and cannot encourage her to eat or drink, yesterday I noticed her drinking an awful lot and it was very hot. We have another hen in the coup but no signs of fighting, that hen is wandering round I did show her a chick to see if she would mother it but she just looked puzzled and gave it a light peck, I think I will have to bring the chicks in but have never raised chicks without a mother hen, it's all really sad, what would you do?

Sycamorewindmills Tue 20-Jun-17 09:08:55

Have you taken her to the vet?

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Tue 20-Jun-17 09:13:18

No experience of hatching eggs but know how it feels to love chickens. . Poor lady - is your vets any good? Mine wasn't and put me off taking them tbh. .

CountryCob Tue 20-Jun-17 09:17:39

I haven't taken this one but took a couple of them a few year ago for bubble eye and it wasn't good just stressed them all out and in my experience they don't really get over that, plus got the two chicks unhatched egg and a toddler at home and no family around, that wouldn't stop me but tbh I think she is too far gone and would be a bit cruel to move her, it is so sudden I checked her at 7am but have a video of her yesterday looking fine...

Reow Tue 20-Jun-17 09:22:11

Hmm, our vets aren't very helpful at all when it comes to the hens.

One of our girls went broody but we don't have a roo, so we had to physically remove her.

Ideas:
* Give her a bowl of icy cold water with sugar in it for energy.
* Put food in the nest box right next to her - something enticing like tuna in olive oil, chopped tomatoes and sweetcorn.
* Put bottles of frozen water in the coop to lower the temp

Is there any movement from the unhatched eggs at all?

CloudPerson Tue 20-Jun-17 09:30:07

First thing to do is take her out of the nest box and check thoroughly for red mites, a broody is literally a sitting target for the horrible things! They look like tiny little red pinprick things and there may be tiny white bits around the area. You may need to lift perches out to check.
If there are, make a solution of dettol (the Orange/brown, strong smelling stuff, not the kitchen spray) and spray it into all nooks and crannies of the house, once it's been cleaned out. This will need to be done every two days for two weeks (they have a similar life cycle to headlice). The dettol breaks down their waxy outer layer so is a very effective anti-mite tool.

If no mites, then take her out and have a really good look at her, is she very thin? Does she have lice on her? If you can encourage her to eat, cat food (tinned meat) can be a good tonic for a broody hen.

IME vets don't often know much about chickens, unless you're lucky enough to have an avian vet nearby, but it might be worth ringing and seeing what they say.

As for chicks, if you can find a box to put them in, take them away from her (if she doesn't perk up). You'll need a heat lamp, even a light bulb will do the trick, in a corner so they can get away from the heat. If you have a country store or a good pet shop near, they will probably sell chick crumbs and other equipment. If you can't immediately find chick crumbs, some finely mashed hard boiled egg will do for a day or so - put some on the floor and tap your finger near it, they will come and peck around. They will also need water in a shallow dish, dip their beaks in if they're not sure what to do with it.

If the hen perks up quickly, the chicks can go back under her within 24 hours, after that it's more likely that she will reject them.

CountryCob Tue 20-Jun-17 10:06:50

Thanks everyone, she did have mites and is now dead, I have washed down the coup I have had mites once before and should have known, was planning on washing down the coup just before she went broody. Got some chick crumb ready but can't get them to have it they are currently in my cleavage, the older chick is a bit weak but cheaping a little, today's looks ok, have given them water although to make today even worse for some reason ours is off today, I think will leave them under a light in a box and go to get an incubator it is the fur and feather market near us today....

CountryCob Tue 20-Jun-17 10:31:23

In a small ray of positivity today's chick has just eaten some of my little girl's soggy shreddies and done a poop

CloudPerson Tue 20-Jun-17 10:36:49

Chicks in your cleavage grin

Why do you need an incubator now?
If the other egg hasn't hatched it might not now. Has it pipped yet? (Small crack somewhere on the side of the rounded end of the egg). If you can shine a bright light through it you may be able to see if the chick is still alive. If it is, keeping it warm under a light might be enough, or keep it in your cleavage with its brothers/sisters!

If you're wanting chick equipment, an electric hen is much better than a heat lamp, and about the same price. It's basically a heat plate on legs so the chicks can go underneath it.

CountryCob Tue 20-Jun-17 12:23:59

Thanks everyone I have a lamp and a microwave pad underneath the shavings bed still on water or shower after coup so got mites myself and have missed my daughter's play date, worst day ever, today's chick is doing ok yesterday's is slightly improved but not half as well so think the mites got her to feel awful

Sycamorewindmills Tue 20-Jun-17 13:31:43

Mites are horrible. They are there before you know it. Good luck with the chicks OP

CountryCob Tue 20-Jun-17 16:56:38

Thanks I feel so guilty but there was no sign of a problem really until it was too late will be more careful in future, just one chick now but it is doing well

CountryCob Tue 20-Jun-17 16:57:20

Also water back on in house what a day for it to go off

CountryCob Wed 21-Jun-17 16:52:42

Hello all thanks for your help yesterday the remaining chick is doing really well and we have found a foster home where the chicks arrived this morning in the next village which is so kind going to try this chick under that mum tonight

Didiplanthis Sat 15-Jul-17 22:00:19

We lost a broody to red mite too. There was literally no sign of them then it got hot and they exploded overnight. She was already weaker as refused to 'unbroody' despite egg removal shutting her out of nest box etc food water all round. She went down really quickly. We had a similar situation years ago too but no red mite where a broody just wouldnt snap out of it. Interestingly they were both very aggressive dominant bantams - by far the worst we have had in 20 yrs keeping chickens. I thought they probably had a pituitary / hormone imbalance that made them so aggressive and then so broody.

CountryCob Fri 11-Aug-17 21:34:19

Thanks good to know I am not alone! Felt like such a rubbish chicken owner, the chick is happy in their new home thankfully and I have spent the holidays from work redoing the whole coup as felt I would never get rid of the redmite, when I took the old coup apart realised would never have got to the few that are hiding, found a plastic pawhut coup for about £140 after daydreaming about an eglu and hopefully picking up some more tomorrow, best bit is that I could use some of the old coup away from the mites to do a temporary partition with a gate so even though our coup is quite small if(when) my current pet hen starts being horrible to the new ones I can separate them, so tired from repaving and building the coup all day but the guilt is finally going down, my chicken that went broody was also really sharp in temperament

Jdotehs Wed 25-Oct-17 23:08:13

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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