In the 3 years that we’ve had White, she’s been relatively healthy and trouble-free. The last few weeks however, she’s had quiet moments that have usually been followed by her laying a soft shelled egg, but she’s bounced back to her usual self.
In the last few days however, she’s been off-colour. We separated her on Monday so that we could monitor her food intake and look at what was coming out of her, something we often do with a poorly hen. She was very quiet in the morning but in the afternoon laid a large egg with what appeared to be two soft shells, the shell being very similar to a balloon in texture. Laying this kind of egg takes a lot out of a hen, with the shell being so soft it takes a lot of effort and energy to pass the egg, so we gave her time to recover. After a few hours though she was still poorly, and her droppings were a bright green colour where they should have been brown, so something was definitely wrong.
By late evening she was still not moving and hadn’t really had anything to eat or drink all day. Sarah examined her vent area inside, and whilst there was no egg debris remaining, the area was very hot, indicating a possible infection.
In these situations, we have a small amount of medication we can use for the hens and gave her an antibiotic, Baytril, and an anti-inflammatory, Inflacam, as well as some critical care formula to stop her dehydrating. I took her to the barn overnight so that she could sleep uninterrupted by the other hens.
By morning she was a little brighter, but she soon became withdrawn and spent most of the morning asleep and showing little interest in food – apart from a few grapes! – so we phoned the vet and made an appointment for that afternoon. It’s sometimes difficult knowing when to involve a vet, as she was becoming brighter, but we knew there was still something inherently wrong, and in these cases we edge on the side of caution, and make the appointment.
The vet diagnosed reproductive issues that had caused an infection, probably in the oviduct, and this was making her feel unwell, and we went home with a fresh supply of Baytril, that she would take for a week, and after some more grapes we put her back with the other hens. We’ll keep a close eye on her, particularly as her weight is a bit lower (1.50kg) than usual (1.65kg), but she looks like she’s heading in the right direction, and the medicine will ensure any infection is dealt with.