Chicken Police

Hi there keepers, now alot of you may have already seen this video, but I thought I’d post it, because if you haven’t it’s great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnQBPbW2fcQ enjoy.

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Your Feedback

Hi Keepers, the most viewed post on this site is Egg Bound Treatment Works, it has also had the most responses or replies,  this came through yesterday and I wanted to share it with you all, incase you didn’t see it in the reply section, it was posted by Penny.

Penny’s Post

I have just had the same problem with one of our chickens, If she is dragging her behind, walking like a penguin & has her mouth open she is in pain, she is most probably Egg Bound. Don’t give up on her I never did.

Firstly do the warm water bath as suggested above, (Must hold. her bottom section under the warm water for at least 20 minutes.), then remove her, put on a plastic glove & oil your index finger with Vaseline or Olive oil.  Shove your finger in the vent & move it around to oil the inside of the vent as well as the outside. Dry her off as well as you can & put her in a separate cage away from the other chickens as they will just peck her & she must be kept warm & quiet so she can relax.If you can bring her inside all the better.

Then lastly go & get a Thick Towel put the towel in hot water or warm the wet towel in the microwave for a few minutes. Then wrap the towel in a plastic bag (I used two bags) It will keep the towel warm for a few hours, also will keep your towel clean. If you have a hot water bottle you could also use that wrap that in a dry towel, make sure it is not to warm as you don’t want to burn her. Put this under the chicken in the cage, she will straight away climb on top of it, (You will also notice that she will stop panting.the warmth helps to ease the pain).

 Our chicken was like this for 3 days & I had to repeat this procedure twice. I also took her down to the chicken run every morning & every night for her to stretch her legs & have some food.Also see that she has water at all times available in her cage. On the 3rd morning I looked in her cage & there it was ONE HUGE EGG!! & One happy chicken & An Even happier owner, never give up. “While their is life there is hope” Cheers Penny.

I welcome your feedback, as it helps us all learn more and in turn be better carers for your birds.

Girls On Strike

Hi there keepers, we appear to be eggless for the first time in the last 18 months, I nearly considered buying some yesterday, then common sense prevailed. It seems as though Renee, the first to moult, and the only one who had started laying again, has decided to moult again, this is a first for us, and a bit strange as winter is here already, quite cold last night.

I hope the Minorca starts her winter laying soon, as I am missing the eggs, as they have become a constant in my everyday, also not getting my natural omega.  This is also part of being a caring chicken keeper, appreciating the birds for just being, rather than viewing them purely as a source of food or machines that constantly produce eggs.

As we have lost a couple of our flock, due to illness and possibly drunk youths, maybe it’s time in increase the numbers again, which in turn should increase the possibilty of an egg a day, to keep the psychiatrist away.

Egg Bound or Trapped Egg Symptoms.

Hi there keepers, I have noticed in the search engine for this site, that quite a few people type in, ‘ How can you tell if a chicken is eggbound? ‘, or simular. I can only tell you how I detected ours were.

The first sign and posssibly the most obvious, was that the affected hen stopped laying eggs, now we only have 6 hens now, so I can individually recognise each hens egg, which makes it easier to know who has stopped laying.

The second behavoiur I noticed was that, the affected hen seemed to be constantly pushing down her rear, infact the whole tail of the bird was pointing at the ground, rather than the healthy tail feathers up position, On closer inspection of the vent, ( the hole both eggs and waste appear from), it was constantly being pushed by the hen, in an effort to free the egg, so the vent is visably being pushed out and then going back in, every few seconds. In some cases there will be alot of white discharge, this is because the solids are stuck behind the egg, and only the fluids can get passed, caution when examining vent, see Egg Bound Chicken Treatment  for details.

In general the affected hen will appear down, not moving around much, bum down, off their food, with a look of constipation. Good luck.

Egg Bound Chicken Treatment

Hi there, I am re-posting the entry on egg bound chickens as the prevoius title didn’t contain the word chicken, I hope it is of help to you and your hens.

After catching the afflicted hen, and placing her under your arm like a rugby ball, head out the back, bum facing up, try the following.

Fistly inspect the vent to see if the egg is trapped at the vent, also look to see if they is a white discharge from the vent, if so this is just the urates passing around the egg, meaning that the solids are trapped behind the egg, futher up the tube.

Now to try and aid the realease of the egg, it is suggested that you don a rubber glove, preferrably( for the hen), that you lubricate the finger with vaseline, ky or olive oil, this will make it more comfortable for the hen, and add lubrication to help the egg past easier.

Inside the vent there are two passages, the top one  is where the egg comes down, word of caution this next detail wasn’t in anything I read, there may(probably is) alot of trapped wind, so you might not want to be looking to directly at the vent when you insert the oilled finger.

So apon entering through the vent you want go immediately up, when I did this I thought I could feel the top of the egg, but only just at the tip of my forefinger, I just very gently massage around the egde of the egg, it did feel soft shelled. It ‘s important not to break the egg, as this may lead to futher complications. I imagine this method alone would only work if the egg was trapped right at the opening of the vent.

The other method I incorporated with the above, was the warm bath, this sounds easier, I thought, well what you do is fill the basin with very warm ( warmer than hen body temperature), then sumerge the lower half of the hen in water, ensuring that her vent gets a good clean, and hold her in in there for 20 mins, this is a long time to hold a hen still in a basin, but it needs to be 20 mins to work, 10 mins won’t always do it, so the longer you can hold her in there for the better, this just generally helps all the muscles relax, loosens everything up. Daphne even closed her eyes for a little while during her second warm bath.

After the bath I gently dried her with an old towel, and let her back out in to the garden with the others, and the very next day her tail was up again, as we let our hens free range I didn’t find the offending egg. So if you have a hen that bum points to ground, try these methods first before taking an expensive visit to the vet.

Below is some sub notes, provided by other visitors. Any thing that may help always welcome. TCK.

If a hen is handled roughly just before she lays an egg, the egg may break inside her. So be sure to handle hens carefully, especially early in the day.
A hen who’s egg bound will sit on the floor or ground. Her feathers will be fluffed, and she’ll be drowsy and act sick. Sometimes you’ll actually see her strain as if trying to produce the egg. More often, you’ll notice her tail pumping up and down.

Moist heat is considered the safest remedy for egg binding in chickens. Put the hen in a cage with a wire floor. Place a large, flat pan of steaming water beneath the cage. Keep the water warm under her, but don’t keep it so hot that the steam burns her.

Provide some overhead heat from a heat lamp, and enclose the whole cage with a blanket or plastic to keep the moist heat in. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot, however. A thermometer can be used to keep the heat between 90 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Water should be available at all times for the hen to drink.

The hen should pass the egg in a couple hours with this treatment. If you see an egg, she should have perked up and will be ready to be removed from the cage. If no egg has passed but she seems more active and will eat, you probably misdiagnosed her. Something else is wrong. If she continues to act droopy and ill, give her a few more hours of treatment. A vet can give a hen an injection of calcium gluconate, which will often cause her to pass the egg.

A hen that’s truly egg bound will die if she doesn’t pass the egg, usually within 48 hours. Don’t stick things like syringes full of oil up her vent; you’re likely to hurt her and cause infection. Trying to break the egg inside her and extract the pieces isn’t usually effective either; it’s likely to result in infection and death.

s.

 

Doubling the Run

Hi there, today I am finally getting around to making the girls run bigger, it been 3 weeks now since they have been on full lockdown, we had one casulty, if the form of Manuella the Minorca got very depressed about being confined, she became ill, but as soon as I let her out she recovered the very next day.

Using more chicken wire, than bamboo this time, as it does let more light in, also it doesn’t look so opressive. Hopefully this will raise the wellbeing of our hens all round, they will have more space, more bugs, etc. As nice as it was in a hippy ind of way to let them roam free, but we do live in an urban area, and the back yard is definately cleaner now that they have been confined to the run.

The next task will be to double the size of the nesting box, as they have all decided to lay in the same box, and invariably a fight breaks out everytime one of them wants to lay, and at the moment Renee is broody, just about filling up the whole box, so it’s a bit of a squeeze to get two in side by side, although quite comical to see, I must get a pic to post for your amusement too.

Keep up the chicken keeping.

Chicken Feed

When it comes to eating, we have found that our chickens will try anything once, your toes, fingers, hair, buttons, infact anything small enough to fit in their beaks, and more often than not, pieces of bread that are far too big to fit into their beaks, but they’ll try anyway. Since getting our chickens we have mainly fed them with layer pellets, as they were raised on pellets at the farm where we bought them. Occasionally when the supermarket has run out of pellets, we buy layer mash, which is a bit like porridge mix,  you add water and stir it up, we use a bucket, the girls seem to enjoy the change from pellets, my partner told me that one of her pupils, who’s family also keep chickens, said that her parents are mixing up the mash with hot water (as it’s winter here), and it has increased their hens egg output.

One important factor when choosing a feed, is to check whether it contains grit, or shell,  which is essential for the chickens diet, it helps with forming the egg shell, lack of calcium will cause soft shelled eggs, some pellets have the shell included the the pellet, other manufactures place a small bag of crushed oyster shell in with the pellets, or alternatively you can but it from most pet shops. I always try to bring a few shells from any beaches we visit, I put in them in a plastic bag, place them on a hard surface and smash them up with a hammer, do this at home, as it looks strange at the beach.

Other suppliments to the hens diet come from the garden, in the form of bugs and grasses, some plants and weeds, they have really helped keep the weeds down the the back garden, we also throw our food scraps on the compost heap, and they will rake through those and pick out any good bits. A bit of varity is the main thing when it comes to chicken feed, it makes them healthier, both in body and mind, they get bored with the same food everyday.

Layer pellets
Layer pellets

feed