This morning I went into the coop to clean and poor Hilda was lying on her side in the breeding pen. I went in to have a look and as she tried to get up, she stumbled over, indicating a leg injury. My husband and I tried to feel if her leg was pulled out of it’s socket, and we think it probably isn’t, but she sure is hurting.
Hilda may have been injured during mating, or she could have hurt herself while jumping off the roost. In any case, she is done breeding until she fully recovers, which means we are another hen down.
When your birds are sick or injured you must immediately remove them from the coop and put them in a safe place where they can rest peacefully. A sick or injured bird will attract the wrong attention from their coop mates.
I immediately put Hilda in a “sick bay” crate in the garage where she can comfortably rest. I have given her some aspirin water to help with pain (1 aspirin tablet to 750ml of water), and of course some food. It is difficult to know exactly what the injury is and how bad it is, all we can do is give her a safe place to rest and see if she improves over the coming days. In January we had a hen display similar injuries, a week in isolation healed her and she was good as new, so here’s hoping we will be so lucky. I will give her the aspirin water over three days and will check on her multiple times during the day to clean up any messes she has so she stays clean and comfortable.
We have moved Harriot (Ameraucana) in with Ragnar (Maran) now, which means 2 hens per pen, this will not yield many eggs for the incubator unfortunately. We will try to put Dottie (Maran) in with Charlie (Ameraucana) to help with the OEE eggs; (Harriott the bully is in the other pen now, so maybe we’ll have better luck and Dottie won’t be picked on).
The reality is that we need more hens, so this summer we will be bringing in birds to increase the number of our breeding hens. We thought 3 of each would be safe, but sickness, injury and death are a part of having chickens and we are learning that we need “back-ups” to help out.
Next year we will be set up better and we will have more knowledge to be more successful in this endeavour.