Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: lost a few hens in a row  (Read 1741 times)


  • Joined Apr 2013
lost a few hens in a row
« on: August 31, 2013, 02:23:14 pm »
Our ex bats are kept in a large coop and run mostly because I don't trust them not to wander out on the road and get squashed. We have three free rangers who are in an adjoining coop and run which they leave in a morning and return at night. The free rangers are fine and have no problems. The ex bats seem fine, they are happy, they scratch around and behave normally. Some still don't have all their feathers and some do, in fact two of them are the healthiest looking birds I'm even starting to think they are getting a bit too plump! There don't seem to be any bullying issues either.

Over the course of a couple of months we have lost three hens in separate incidents. Once we just went out and found one dead out in the run, the next was in a nest box. Third was clearly poorly with droopy wings so I brought her in and kept her quiet and she didn't make it through the night. Two others had the same treatment and were fine the next day.

I now have a very sick hen in the hospital cage as my daughter calls it. She is droopy and sad, won't drink or eat. No obvious signs of injury or prolapse or anything.

What could be causing it? What can I do to help her? I have been stringing a few drops of water in her beak every so often and she seems to respond but is disinterested in everything  :(


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: lost a few hens in a row
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2013, 04:12:01 pm »
All my hens that have died have had similar symptoms  :'(   It could be that they are too hot though - bringing them inside in a cooler atmosphere could help.  We revived one like this - I think she enjoyed the attention!  good luck!

Louise Gaunt

  • Joined May 2011
Re: lost a few hens in a row
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 04:34:29 pm »
It is often the way with ex bat hens, they just seem to lose the will to go on. When I got mine I was advised that due to the stress of their previous life, the often are living on borrowed time. Others can go on for a long time, there is no way of knowing which will succumb early. Several of my original girls died in just the same wy, with no obvious explanation.


  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: lost a few hens in a row
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 05:29:39 pm »
We had a few ex-batts dying suddenly like you describe (heart attack?) and some after a long battle. They've been through hell and sometimes their bodies just can't take life any more. But one of ours is now several years old and still going strong. She laid an egg nearly every day for 14 months after having been rescued. Ironically, she was at the bottom of the pecking order, then one after the other the rest of the ex-batts passed away and she's now the undisputed boss of the flock (all non-rescued hens which joined our garden after her).

Ours ex-batts understood the boundaries just as well as the non-rescued hens, not going past hedges etc so you may want to give it a try, perhaps cordoning a small space around their coop off first?



  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: lost a few hens in a row
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2013, 08:11:29 pm »
This latest girl has passed away sadly. Her comb was a little purplish actually, I think I read somewhere about this indicating heart attack?

They are so lovely I want to give them the best chance possible. I would love to let them free range. I have a friend who is clearing out at work where he is a groundsman. He knows we use free stuff and recycle whatever we find so he's bringing a van load one day next week. There may be some mesh, there was definitely some of that bright orange plastic netting off building sites. I might try making a temp enclosure and see how they go.

Thanks folks


  • Joined Sep 2010
  • uk
  • Says it as it is. don't like it don't look
Re: lost a few hens in a row
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2013, 09:08:59 pm »
Everyone is correct intensive birds don't live as long as free range, their immune system isn't very good either, I'm told you shouldn't put vaccinated and non vaccinated birds together.


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