Hen Health FAQs
Laying problems / egg problems
When did she last produce an egg? Hens tend to lay one egg every 25 hours. If your hen has not laid for a couple of days and is straining and distressed, this is an emergency and veterinary help should be sought. However if your hen laid recently and has only been egg bound for a short time you may be able to help her at home. Try sitting her in a warm bath for 5-10 minutes. Apply lubrication around the vent entrance and isolate her in a dark nest box. If she is still not able to pass the egg contact your vet.
New hens / merging
Worms and parasites
Your hen should immediately be separated from any other hens as potentially the prolapse can be seriously damaged by pecking from flock mates. If the prolapse isn’t too large (walnut size or smaller) bathe the area with a diluted antiseptic solution and leave her on her own, in low light, to encourage her to sleep. In many cases the prolapse will go back in with no intervention; pushing the prolapse back inside is usually a fruitless exercise as the hen may push it back out. If it does not resolve within a few days she may need to see a vet.
See more information here.
Hens will drink more water in hot weather but if you are noticing abnormal drinking patterns at other times this may be a cause for concern. A hen with a raised temperature due to illness or with a yeast infection causing sour crop will drink more than usual. Check her against the Hen Examination Guidelines and contact the Hen Helpline for advice.
Hens are attracted to the colour red. If your hen has a wound, sore skin or bleeding this will be noticed by other members of the flock who may peck at the wound and cause more damage. Purple or blue antiseptic spray immediately disguises and protects the area.
Your hen is telling you that she isn’t feeling well but in themselves the symptoms are not specific. Hens fluff up their feathers when they feel poorly to trap air as an insulating layer. Check her against the Hen Examination Guidelines, the more information you have the easier it is to pin down a cause.
The most obvious reaction to the death of a pet is to bury it in the garden; unfortunately this is not permitted as chickens are not currently legally classed as pets (despite being the 4th most popular pet in the UK by numbers kept).
Pet hens are legally categorised as fallen stock and the suggested method of disposal is via your local vet who will arrange for incineration.
For information on legislation please visit gov.uk/guidance/fallen-stock
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