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Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about the health of your chickens, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.

Got my chickens at the weekend and I think one is ill.
9

Mung · 30/11/2009 09:46

I got 4 hens (2 rhode Island cross, 1 sussex banatam and a larger white one-not sure what it is) on Saturday evening and the little bantam seemed very funny on Sunday morning. Never having had any hens before I don't really know what proper bahviour is, but I have noticed that it is sneezing/coughing a bit. I'm not sure what to do. I am tempted to take the little one and the biggest white one back and ask if he can swap them for two more of the Rhode Island cross ones, as they seem much calmer and more friendly. What do you think my chances are of him doing what I asked?

One other question...they don't seem to know what they are doing in the ark. The man warned me that they may not know how to go to bed, as they are not used to going 'up to bed', but they struggle to come down in the morning too. This too could be a sign of them being ill, or is it just a sign of how they really have no idea what they are doing?

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Chickenshavenolips · 30/11/2009 09:50

The breeder should take back any ill hens. I would definitely call them, and see what they suggest. As for the ark stuff, they really do take a while to get the hang of new housing. Perhaps scatter a bit of corn below the ramp to tempt them out

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bramblebooks · 30/11/2009 10:54

have a chat with the breeder. One of mine was slightly sneezy for a few days, which was stress in her case. Are there any other signs such as discharge from eyes or beak? Is she perky otherwise? You may also find that their poos are a bit runnier for a few days, it's usually down to the stress of a move.

Keep going, they're lovely pets!

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LilyBolero · 30/11/2009 11:05

They will work out how to do the ark!

Re the sneezing - hens carry all sorts of things in their immune systems, and stress can cause them to come down with respiratory illnesses - sounds like your hen got a little stressed.

Things to watch for; is she eating/drinking? Is she standing hunched with feathers fluffed/wings drooped?

Poo may well be a bit runny as they adjust to the move.

If you want to perk them up a bit (especially the little one), my patent remedy is cat food (I get organic beef in jelly), mixed with hard boiled egg, and a sprinkling of poultry spice on the top - this gives them a protein boost which helps their immune systems fight off bugs, and the poultry spice is lots of vitamins.

Keep an eye on the bantam - as she is smaller than the others she might get bullied - just make sure there are plenty of feeding stations/drinking places so they can always access food.

If you want to help them go up to the bedroom after dark, try shining a torch up there, and they will sometimes go towards the light.

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nickelbabe · 30/11/2009 11:10

wrt to the going to bed: you're advised to leave them in the ark for 24 hours when you get them home to get them used to that being bed. (put some food in with them for this period: normally they do not have food and drink in the house because they don't eat when sleeping)
after that, we found that with the first lot we had to put them into their house (through the pop-hole) for 3 days to get them used to it.
it's easier in winter because they don't want to be outside all night!

agree with the sneezing chicken: if it's unched up and tucked under and tired-looking, then please take it back to the seller for a replacement.

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Mung · 30/11/2009 13:11

The bantam seems quite perky. I checked her for mucus this morning and she does seem ok, so it looks like its just a sneeze. I have read about citracidel being good for their immune systems too...but I might try the cat food for an extra boost.

Lilybolero...I did wonder if it was a bad move to get the bantam once I got them all home. However, I just went outside and they all seem to be much calmer and there is less pecking and sqwaking.

Poos are a little odd...but then I dont know what a normal poo looks like! There was just one that seemed a bit different to the others.

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Mung · 30/11/2009 13:12

Thanks for all the advice by the way. I feel a little happier about them.

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Chickenshavenolips · 30/11/2009 13:14

Glad to hear that it's all settling down With regards to poo, they drop a 'curry' poo every ten poos or so. This is normal, and completely disgusting!

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thesockmonsterofdoom · 30/11/2009 13:16

One of my hens always sneezed, nothing wrong with her, as others have said discharge from their eyes is the best sign they are ill.
I have just been out messing with my chucks and cleaning out the runs etc, they are the best pets ever. as for the bantie, just keep an eye on her, I have one silkie which I amhoping will go in with the big girls in the spring but I have to see how they get on.

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Mung · 09/12/2009 14:33

Brief update....
I have had the hens for over a week now and the sneezing is still there. The bantam does hunch up a bit, but I think that is more as a self-defence mechanism from the meanie of the flock. However, she never eats vast quantities and she heads into the hen house for a lie down every now and again. Is that normal? She did that just now whilst we were out there and its not particularly dark, the weather is ok ... so it just seems a bit odd. Am I overreacting? Does she just need a rest from the others or is she curling up to nurse her illness?

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