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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23827
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My 1 year old chicken was being broody and now she is weak

Customer Question

My 1 year old chicken was being broody and now she is weak and lethargic. She is drinking water well but barely eating. She is avoiding the rest of the flock and did not go into the hen house last night (my husband didn't notice, luckily she was ok this morning when I went to let them out. She is mildly interested in foraging but then immediately stops. I think her feathers look a little odd like her tail is curved downward and her back a bit puffed up. Her vent feathers also seem abnormally dirty. I brought her inside and she seems very content sitting in a plastic crate with aspen shavings, food, water, and some chopped up chickweed. Is she eggbound, sick, or just overdid being broody? What can I do? The vets around here don't like to see chickens.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.
You'll need to intervene just as you've done. Some broodies will reach the point of suicide unless their brooding isn't interrupted. The plastic crate is just the ticket and hopefully will do the trick. Please take a look at this excellent discussion of the broody and then return to our conversation with additional questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** guessed correctly on her care. How long is she likely to stay weak/need crate care? There is almost no poop in her crate yet, what's there was mostly water. What signs should I look for to know if she is getting worse or that she is ready to go back to her flock? Also, a friend told me Gatorade can be dangerous for chickens (we had some and I considered giving it to her for the electrolytes). Is it safe for chickens?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.
Three weeks (the incubation period for her eggs) is the usual broody course. She has to start eating to tell us that you've been successful in altering her physiological and psychological sets. Gatorade is safe. If you're going to force feed, I'd do so with a slurry made from her pellets or crumbles. In that manner, you'll not only be giving her balanced calories but also fluids to prevent dehydration if she's not drinking enough. Please continue in our conversation if you wish.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin

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