My chicken ain't doing right (part 1).
My hen was acting strange. Instead of foraging with her sisters, she came and sat next to me while I was in the garden. The others in my little 3-hen flock started to be aggressive toward her. Three days later, I found her dead in the coop.
She was sick and I missed all the signs.
Does this story sound familiar?
To know when your chickens ain’t doing right (ADR is an actual veterinary medical term), you need to know when they are doing good. Each chicken is an individual with a certain appetite, energy level, and a particular place in the pecking order. The key is to get to know each of your chickens, so when one behaves different than usual, you know that something isn’t right.
Spend some time each day with your chickens. Observe their behavior, their posture, and their interaction with each other. Does one look depressed? Is there any change in the egg production? Look at their combs and droppings, they are often good indicators of what’s going on internally.
Click on the image below for a very good infographic describing in detail the signs of a sick chicken:
Once you notice something is amiss, you need to act fast. Chickens hide their symptoms pretty well and you may only have a couple of days to do something.
First, separate her from the rest of the flock. Put her in a safe place with food and water. It could be a small coop or a dog crate in the garage.
If you don’t know what she has or how to treat her, go to the vet (*). Don’t wait!
(*) Local veterinarians seeing chickens:
Cupertino Animal Hospital - 10026 Peninsula Ave, Cupertino
Adobe Animal Hospital - 4470 El Camino Real, Los Altos
Adobe Animal Hospital - 15965 Los Gatos Blvd, Suite 100, Los Gatos
Wildwood Veterinary Hospital - 2900 Spring Street, Redwood City
For the Birds - 1136 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose
West Valley Pet Clinic - 1360 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose
Santa Clara Pet Hospital - 830 Kiely Blvd, Suite 107, Santa Clara
Sunnyvale Veterinary Clinic - 1036 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
Did you know?
The body temperature of birds has more variability than mammals. The normal temperature of an adult chicken ranges between 105°F and 107°F, whereas the one of a hatchling is lower. Smaller breeds have a higher temperature than larger breeds. Activity also increases body temperature.
A body temperature above 115°F or below 73°F is fatal. A chicken who doesn't eat for just one day drops about 2.5°F in temperature, and one who doesn't eat for a second day drops another degree.