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My hen keeps her tail down

Species: bird | Category: behaviour | Submitted: 15 November 2010 05:00PM | viewed 35484 times
Q Marie-Alice asks about Omlet (bird - Ex-battery hen, F) :

13 months ago we rescued ex-battery hens but Omlet is now behaving strangely. She spends most of the day just standing there, not moving with her head in her shoulders and her tail down. But this behaviour is not permanent, some days she's fine and others she's not. She also has plucked some feathers from her neck and almost all of them from her tail. What can be wrong with her?

Q Our vet says: Hens can suffer ffrom many different problems and it can be difficult to tell exactly what is going on with Omlet. Since the behaviour is not permanent it is possible that it could be a behavioural issue rather than a medical one. Could she be getting bullied by the other hens? Could the other hens be plucking the feathers rather than her?

If she is eating and drinking, laying eggs and moving around normally these are good signs. You should ensure all your hens are wormed and treated for mites appropriately. If you feel that she is showing signs of respiratory distress or diarrhoea or is lethargic and off her food you should take her to your vet promptly.

Sadly hens do succumb to disease quickly when they get sick and it would be a good idea to get her checked over by your local vet if you are concerned. If bullying by other hens could be part of the problem then you might consider moving her to a smaller run, either on her own or with a placcid friend.
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