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My one and a half year old brown hen stopped laying eggs…

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My one and...
My one and a half year old brown hen stopped laying eggs with shells a few weeks ago and I have been adding calcium to her food with out much luck. I have checked for parasites, but both my hens seem all right. she has been her normal self but has had a bald patch under her vent. This morning when I let her out her legs were yellow and she just stood there pecking her legs instead of going over to her food. any ideas please? regards sandra
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Bird
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Answered in 9 hours by:
6/9/2010
Bird Specialist: Dr. Pat, Avian Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Avian Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 4,244
Experience: 25 years as avian-only veterinarian
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Are her legs not normally yellow? Any change in skin color is serious. She may have tingling or itchiness if there is nerve damage higher up in the spine, especially if the ovary is inflamed and putting pressure on the leg nerves. It may or may not be due to reproductive deficits. There are several viral infections that can cause nerve damage as well.

You can examine her thoroughly, again, including opening the mouth and having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. You can take her temperature gently with a rectal thermometer. Anything above 105F/40C is significant. Palpate the tummy for an egg, fluid, lumps or anything else. Check armpits for very mobile lice.

Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them.

Move the bird indoors to an aquarium, box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that she can reach easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Keep her partially covered, warm and quiet.

Do not try to force food or water. You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food. Try to keep her as hydrated as you can.


She needs to see an avian/poultry-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. I know it may be difficult to find one. Check the link http://www.aav.org/association/index.php?content=activeMembersList for members of AAV in your area (there are some listed for the UK) or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot and especially inquires as to poultry experience. Many states/governments have poultry diagnostic labs that charge very reasonable fees to test for common diseases. Because you have others and presumably use the eggs, it is important to have a solid diagnosis and treatment safe for egg consumption. Even a regular vet can collect appropriate samples and provide prescription medications.

If she were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, for multiple parasites; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. Generally I start them out on antibiotics as indicated by the tests (I use a lot of human antibiotics that are injectable). I would very likely order a number of DNA tests for poultry viruses as well.

She may need injectable fluids, antibiotics, calcium and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.

Here are some sites of general interest:

http://poultrykeeper.com/poultry-vets-uk/poultry-veterinary-practices-services-uk/

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/about/

http://mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-care/guide-toc.aspx

http://www.brittonclouse.com/chickenrunrescue/

http://www.shopthecoop.com/chickens/links.html
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