The picture shows a sick hen. Notice her hunched up position, wings hanging low and tail dropped. These are classic signs of a poorly girl.
Once you have discovered that your hen may be sick, take a moment to go through the checklist below. It identifies the most common problems. Where an ailment is highlighted, it is explained in more detail in the Ailments A-Z section.
Knickers: Are they clean or is there poo on them? If they are dirty have you wormed her recently?
Poo: Is it normal or is something different? You can tell a great deal about your girls’ health by their poo. This webpage, from www.allotment.org.uk, is a marvellous guide to all things poo: http://chat.allotment.org/index.php?topic=17568.0
- Is it pulsating normally?
- Is there a tissue-paper-like substance sticking out? This may be the skin of a soft shelled egg.
- Does it look more horizontally stretched than usual? It may be a soft egg on its way.
- Is there clear or yolky fluid coming out? An egg may have broken inside her and she will need to see a vet.
- Is there a fleshy mass protruding? This may be a prolapse.
- Is she limping?
- Are the scales on her legs flakey and coming away? This may be scaly leg.
- Is her foot hot and swollen with a scab underneath? It may be bumblefoot.
- Is it hard first thing in the morning? This may be impacted crop.
- Is it squishy and fluidy with a foul smell? This may be sour crop.
- If is empty at the end of the day she has not eaten - see empty crop
- Is it swollen and fluidy? Is she heavy at the back end? This may be egg peritonitis.
- Is it wheezy or rattly? Is she sneezing or coughing?? Respiratory infections need veterinary treatment for antibiotics.
- Are her eyes foamy? It may be mycoplasma.
- Is it gurgly? This may be a sign of fluid build-up in her lungs and she will need to see a vet. She may need antibiotics and possibly frusemide tablets to help drain it.
- Is she in the coop all day? A first sign of illness. Check her over.
- Does she growl at you if you try to take her out of the nest box? She may be broody.