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Country Discussion Topics
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What is causing the change in shape of my hen?
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Sheila    Posted 03-14-2004 at 02:00:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have 4 hens - 3 (Sumatra x Aseel) x Silkie and 1 Sumatra. They are 16 years old. They are truly free ranging, in a rural area. Recently one of the cross-breed's rear-end has begun to droop and hang low. Does anyone know what causes this please.

'Egg bound' is a phrase that comes faintly to mind. I don't know what this means or implies with regard to either the hen or the cure.

Fern(Mi)    Posted 03-14-2004 at 05:00:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sorry to hear about your chick's drooping rear end. Having had such a good day yesterday myself, I uh ugh think I had not better mention where I have seen this phenomenon before. I could weell be the first to have dented a cast iron skillet under Herr Clinks wealding hand.

Have ya thoughtof fitting your hen with a roller sxate. In animal science, this could be a patentable first. he he he

Cindi    Posted 03-14-2004 at 02:39:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
I will be watching for the answer to this one. I had no idea hens even lived that long and I wonder myself what could cause such a thing. I had to get to forty before my rear started to sag. (grin)

egg bound symptoms    Posted 03-14-2004 at 05:32:43       [Reply]  [No Email]

3. What does "egg-bound" mean and how can it be fixed?

This is where an egg gets stuck somewhere in the egg making organs and is unable to be laid normally. Sometimes such eggs lack shells and can quickly begin to rot causing major infection inside the hen. The symptoms are the hen sits with her tail downwards and appears to be straining to pass something from her rear end. She may make pitiful chirping sounds indicating her distress. Sometimes a messy diarrhea-like discharge may be evident. When the bird is handled, the pelvis area is often distended and may feel hard to touch (if the egg is shelled) or may feel soft and spongy. The problem is most common in young pullets and old hens. Sometimes the bird may actually prolapse while trying to pass the offending egg and can be quickly cannibalised by her companions. This almost always results in death to the bird.
To help clear a shelled egg, gently massage the pelvis of the bird. Try not to distress her any more than she already is. Take some Vaseline or KY jelly and using your littlest finger, smear a little around the cloaca (anus) and without pushing too hard, inside the oviduct. To find the oviduct, gently push down at the lower edge of the anus and you will see another little hole open toward the bottom. Sometimes holding the bird over a steaming kettle can help relax the area enough that the egg pops out. Some authorities believe breaking the egg and squeezing the mass out is effective, but I believe that the egg should not be broken if at all possible as the shell pieces can cut delicate tissues inside the hen's body. For eggs without shells, take a syringe (without the needle) and gently squirt warm, saline water into the oviduct. Gently massage the area and hold the bird head up and try to squeeze the watery mass out of her body. This may take some time to achieve but patience is the key.
Once the bird is clear of the egg(s) place her is a slightly darkened, quiet place away from other birds and feed her warm mash and cool, clean water. Some hens never recover to lay again and others may begin laying normally almost immediately.

Sheila    Posted 03-15-2004 at 00:55:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hens can be long-lived. It's merely economics, genetic engineering, living conditions and possibly type of feed that can shorten their lives. Thank you all for your help.

I realise that they are old and their time may be nigh, but even so I would be sad to lose one. It would be an empty vista indeed without seeing them wandering my garden and the local fields and woods.

One reason for their longevity may be the fact that they have free access to the many herbs I grow and other wild plants. I never feed them commercial chicken pellets/crumbs either. Only corn and some cracked maize to supplement their diet.

The hen doesn't appear distressed and is still wandering around with the others and eating well. However I have noticed very soft faeces/discharge and mucky feathers on occasion. I will endeavour to follow the excellent advice given in the last posting.

Thank you all again.

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