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Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 586
Experience:  full time veterinarian at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital
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I have a hen that was not laying with the others last night

Customer Question

I have a hen that was not laying with the others last night and is still in the coop in the same spot today. She won't eat and will let me pick her up but would take try to get up. Her vent is clear. She is sleeping and her underside is warm
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Bird
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Would not try to get up by herself
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 7 months ago.

Hi this is Dr. Hill. So, she has not started laying eggs yet? Is she laying in a nest box? What type of hen and what is her normal diet. Does she free range or stay in an enclosure? Was she vaccinated for Marek's disease as a day old chick? Lets start there.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The hen died. But now I'm worried about the other ones. She was just old enough to start laying. They free range and get layer mash. I'm not sure if they were vaccinated or not but I can find out tomorrow. She was not laying in a nesting box. She was just laying away from the rest of the flock. After she passed we changed out everything in the coop
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
When I picked her up her legs stayed in a sitting get position and she let me check her out but she didn't move. When she passed she shook and twitched for about 5 seconds and that was it
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 7 months ago.

I am so sorry. Definitely find out if she was vaccinated. I feel that it is important to find out what caused her death, so I recommend that you refrigerate her body tonight and take her in to your local veterinarian so that her body can be sent for a necropsy. This way you will know if the rest of your flock is at risk. Is the rest of the flock around the same age, or are there no additions to your existing flock?

Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 7 months ago.

It is hard to watch them pass. It sounds like she was very weak. Were there any other signs of abnormal behavior over the last couple of days?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
She is the same age. We bought them all from the same place and at the same time. There were no symptoms that I noticed. Just that she was away from the flock last night
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Someone said she may have had an egg stuck. I tried to feel for an egg coming but idk if you can feel them coming or not. If you can, then I didn't feel anything. No other hens have any symptoms
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
If they were not vaccinated, can we still get them vaccinated for mareks?
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 7 months ago.

Typically if there is an egg stuck you can feel it by feeling the abdomen just above the cloaca or by inserting your finger into the cloaca. It is pretty unusual for such a young hen to be egg bound unless the nutrition is grossly deficient. The Marek's vaccine is given at one day of age and I don't think it could be given now. Having the deceased hen checked will let you know if you will have issues with the other ones. Many feed stores won't carry vaccinated chicks because the general population is very anti vaccine.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
We bought from a mom and pops place so I'll call them and the vet tomorrow. Thanks so much for your help
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 7 months ago.

You are very welcome. I have nine hens (girls) that I adore. If you are satisfied with my answers, then please take time to rate my response. You can continue to post on this thread even after rating. Again, I am sorry about your hen. Take care.