We have recently updated this site to improve security. As a result you may need to reset your password next time you log in. Simply click the Reset Password link and follow the instructions. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Lethargic Hen

Animal GuardianAnimal Guardian Junior Member
edited September 2016 in Poultry Health and Welfare
Bad news... My hen Mable is lethargic and very skinny. I didn't realize that she wasn't eating on her own until now and she is paying the consequences of my mistake. :(  Mable is a pretty old hen, maybe in her teens, i am not really sure though. (She is at least 9-10)
I gave her some homemade electrolytes and some yogurt with apple this evening.  What else should I feed her?  Is this usually how older hens say its time to cross the rainbow bridge? Please help!
Thank you
Animal, Gaurdian


  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Don't blame yourself AG, hens are VERY good at hiding any weakness until it's nearly too late to help them.

    She is a good age, so it may be her time, but have you checked her crop to make sure it is empty first thing in the morning?  That would be a good place to start since an old girl's digestive system can get a bit sluggish (talking about myself again!).

    Was she glad to eat the yoghurt etc herself, without any force-feeding?

    Also - what are her poos like?  Any sign of worms?  What colour and consistency are they?  
  • BonnieBonnie Senior Member
    Oh bless you, they are good at hiding the fact they aren't well. Our sickly hens love Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding Formula.  We mix it with water and syringe feed it to them.  xx
  • Animal GuardianAnimal Guardian Junior Member
    edited September 2016
    Her crop wasn't completely empty this morning i'm afraid. I am really quite worried that she wont be able to digest the food so it can help her.  
    Yes, Mable was very happy to eat the food yesterday and today.  
    I am pretty sure she has gone to the bathroom a few times during the night on Tuesday, but I do not know whats hers.  I'll make sure to look at the poo when i see some and let you know what I find, ok.  She does have a bad pasty butt??

    I actually do have that Exact Hand Feeding Formula.  I completely forgot about it.  I will most definitely feed her some tonight!

    Animal Guardian
  • Animal GuardianAnimal Guardian Junior Member
    edited September 2016
    UPDATE - This morning her crop is empty. Yay But she is not interested in eating...My sister is going to offer food to her later this morning while i am at work. 

  • I was wondering if anyone had any ideas how I could boost Mabel's appetite.
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    The best thing ive used has been net tex nutridrops ...bit expensive in usa though ...
    at that age you dont need to be strict with her treats ...give her anything she will take
    one of mine was ill a few years back all she would eat was tomatoes but
    i figured better to eat just them than nothing at all
     keep offering her yoghurt daily too especially if her crop is sluggish
    good luck

  • Good news!  Mable filled her crop Full with some good food this evening! YAY :D  And she did go to the bathroom.  It was watery, no signs of worms in it. (It was different shades of green too)  She got really sleepy After eating.

    I will definitely add those drops to my buying list!  When you open the bottles of Nutri-drench and\or Net-Tex drops do they keep well?

    Thank you all so much!  I'll keep you posted on how Mable does. 

    Animal Guardian,   

  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    It may be that Mable's kidneys are getting a bit dodgy in her old age, especially with the watery poos.

    When mine are ill, we try to find 'the magic food' , which can be different every day, but usually when they don't want to eat they do tend to know best.

    At the moment I have Petal, who is an exbat with suspected impacted oviduct. Yesterday she went mad for sweetcorn, today it's mealworms, tomorrow it will no doubt be something else!  Although she always enjoys duckweed of all things - go figure!
  • Right now Bread and electrolyte water are the magic foods for Mable.  She did really good today!  She ate very good and is getting around well. :)  Hopefully tomorrow will be just as good or even better. 

    Duck week is a very interesting thing to like. Lol 

    Animal Guardian, 
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    All my hens have always enjoyed duckweed, and they love to forage through anything I clear from the garden pond.  They also eat the oxygenating weed and other pond plants!
    Apparently duckweed is high in protein - worth knowing if you are ever stranded without food!

    Glad Mable is doing better.
  • Yes, definetly Good to know! :) 
  • Update - 

    Mable is doing quite well.  I am tube feeding her three times a day.  She was loosing weight when I just fed her twice a day, so i had to bump it up to three.  I hope to see her gain weight pretty soon here.  She is walking around well and is quite content right now.  I don't really know why she stopped eating, because she is digesting her food very well.  It is kind of a mystery. 

    Hope everybody's chicken pals are doing well.

    Animal Guardian
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Strange that she hasn't started eating isn't it?  Sometimes the Critical Care is enough to give them that boost and motivation to eat, otherwise they seem to know best, so this is an unusual case.
  • well, bad news.  
    Mable is loosing weight every few days. I can not feed her enough to help her gain weight, because she is not digesting fast enough.  She really resisted us tube feeding her this morning and I am not sure why. :|  

    What do you guys think I should do?  I do not want her to suffer! Starving to death is a horrible death. I wouldn't want her to go through that.  I feel like I need to do something more, but i just don't know what?? 

    Animal Gaurdian
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    I know just how it feels to get to this stage, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that hens usually know best when it comes to the end.  There could be all sorts of reasons why she is not gaining weight or wanting to eat, including organ failure, cancer etc.

    At her advanced age, it is unlikely that you can do any more for her.  Not the answer you wanted to hear, but in your heart you know it's true.

    You will know when her time has come - when she stops 'being a chicken' and shows how ill she is in her eyes. You are a compassionate person who will do the right thing for her.

    I am with you here - I have Petal still with me, she has put up such a good fight, with typical 'chicken optimism', but she cannot gain weight, and is showing signs of struggling now.  I will have to do the right thing very soon...

    Good luck AG,


  • Animal GuardianAnimal Guardian Junior Member
    edited September 2016
    Thank you so much for the support Helen!  It means so much that someone is here helping me through this. <3

    Mable passed the rainbow bridge yesterday afternoon at 1:25pm.  Earlier that day I wanted to give her some electrolytes, but when I came out and saw her she was nearly gone.  I kind of still wanted to, but I knew that I couldn't do anything for this poor girl.  It was time and It would be wrong to intervene.  My sister and I made a cozy bed outside on the grass for her in the sun.  She had a few spasms, but thankfully nothing to drastic. 
    After she took her last breath we left, because all of my hens and rooster started to come over. We watched them from a distance having their own chicken funeral. It was a very short funeral, but that's ok.  Everybody gathered around in a "circle"  Like they were talking about the good memories of Mable.  Then one by one almost in a line they walked past her body and paused then walked on.  Even my rooster Mongo paid his respects to her.  I have never seen a chicken funeral before and is was neat to see.  I have a few pictures if you all would like to see. 

    Mable was on the trampoline all morning soaking up the sun all bundled up - 

    Chicken funeral -   - This pictures was taken when the funeral was almost over, so sadly it doesn't have them walking by. 

    I am so sorry about your hen Petal!  I will be keeping you and your hen in my thoughts and prayers. <3

    Animal Guardian, 

  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Bless your heart AG, and such a lovely pic of Mable on the trampoline.
    It's so unusual to see birds take an interest in their dead flock members.  I've only ever seen it a couple of times, even though I always put their body on the grass to make sure the others know they're gone.

    My Petal has gone today too.  She was so tired, but her little body was running on fumes towards the end.

    So I'm thinking of you too.  


  • I'm so sorry Helen!  R.I.P. Petal

  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    so sorry to hear your sad news both of you 
    its hard and never gets any easier to say goodbye 
    both Petal and Mabel sound like very lucky hens to have been loved so much 
     take care both 
     xx kath
  • You are right, It never gets easier to say goodbye. <3

    Animal Guardian
  • doormousedoormouse Senior Member
    Just catching up...yes Mabel and Petal were ultra lucky...M
Sign In or Register to comment.