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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have a 3-5 year old, excellent type, Malay hen that I would

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I have a 3-5 year old, excellent type, Malay hen that I would like to get some chicks from. 4 Months ago she was wormed. Her weight= 8 1/2 lbs , comb is red, good color. She has not seemed very animated, happy nor laid eggs for the year I have had her.
She has been fed Purina Layenna and is on 25'x60' net covered pasture with bugs, sun, shade, fresh water and a chicken house. 3 other chickens are with her.
Two weeks ago she was given 1/2 aspirin and 1/4 inch of equine Probio. This program has been continued every 3rd day. She has begun to dig holes and dust bathe , clucking, moving around in the AM to greet me and the food. Definitely, feeling much better. She seems to be at the end of molt right now with lots of new feathers coming in.
I would like to breed her for some chicks. Am I over doing the aspirin? Is there a better way? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations to encourage her egg production?
Thanks for your response.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 11 months ago.
Hi there,

Chickens vary pretty dramatically in how long they lay eggs. Most only lay regularly for the first 2-3 years of life, and while some continue to lay an egg or two a week well into their teens, many go through "chicken menopause" and don't lay at all by the time they are 5. It may be that your hen has reached the point that she is no longer laying, or laying regularly, even if she is in good health. Hens also often stop laying eggs after molting until spring, or lay only very thin-shelled eggs irregularly during winter. If she was not healthy earlier in the year and now has molted, she may begin laying again in the spring.

It sounds as if your management practices are excellent. It sounds like a very nice place for a chicken to live! Providing her with a comfortable nest box and lighting your coop at night to provide a longer daylight period can help fool her system into thinking spring is approaching so she may lay during the winter. Hens need about 14 hours of daylight each day to encourage egg production. I think to get chicks, your best bet is to provide long daylight hours when she is fully out of molt and behaving normally and expect that egg production may not resume fully until spring, with the understanding that your chicken may no longer be laying. If you want to expand your flock soon, I would suggest talking to the breeder about a younger bird who shares her lineage, as she sounds like a beautiful hen. If she is closer to 3, I would expect that she is still laying regularly when the weather is good and she is healthy, so giving her a little time and extra light may be beneficial.

Your feed should be perfectly sufficient to encourage laying good eggs. The dose for aspirin in chickens is about 25 mg per lb of chicken per day, so the dose you are giving isn't too much. The most common reason for needing it, though, is arthritis in the legs and feet associated with previous life in a cage, so if she seems comfortable, has no swelling or apparent pain, and has good mobility, you might try weaning her off it and see how she does. If it seems that she is painful without it, by all means continue with your current regimen.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.



Customer: replied 11 months ago.

The reason for using aspirin was pain, lack of interest, mobility for one year. The recent addition of aspirin has made a big difference in her active behavior.


 


This Oriental Game hen is from a rare (in this country) heritage line with no back up. We are trying to produce 1 to 4 chicks if possible.


DHEA has been used in pre-menopausal women with some success in fertility. Is this hormone for poultry use also?


 


Are there any other nutritional substances or other hormones that have shown response or being used as trials in poultry fertility?


Thanks for your response.

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 11 months ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
I apologize for butting in to your conversation with DrTaus, but for some reason this question appeared on my screen and I must answer to clear my queue.
Best regards,
Dr. Bob
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 11 months ago.
DHEA has been used in poultry, mostly in commercial flocks for growth promotion. It does encourage weight loss, so you may find that your hen loses body condition on it. Effects on egg laying are not well documented. The average dose is about 20 mg per kilgram of chicken (around 80mg in your hen). Its effects on lipid metabolism suggest that it might help in conjunction with lights, proper diet, etc.

Unfortunately, the commercial poultry industry has historically managed aging hens by discarding them, so work on prolonging fertility is limited. There are some studies out to show that reducing the crude protein in the diet (aiming for 12% rather than the 14-16% in grower rations) can increase fertility.

Since aspirin acts very early in the inflammatory cascade to reduce inflammation, there is some evidence to show that it it can inhibit PGF2a, a hormone that is very similar in structure to inflammatory mediators but is necessary for ovulation to occur. I would not expect the dose that you are giving to cause a problem in this area, but weaning her off the aspirin may help. If she does not remain bright and animated off the aspirin, though, I think that being a happy, healthy hen is more beneficial for her fertility than being off aspirin.

Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 11 months ago.
Selenium is also important in encouraging fertility, although you must be very careful, as too much is toxic. If you live in a geographic area that tends to be selenium deficient, supplementing may also be helpful.
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 439
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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