Pets & Animals | 23 March 2017What to do When One of Your Chickens Isn’t Eating Share article facebook twitter google pinterest The two factors that will most govern the success you enjoy with your backyard chickens are the quality of the feed you give them and your ability to maintain a constant supply of fresh and clean drinking water. Appetite is a useful barometer for your chickens’ state of health; if a bird is not eating, it is a cause for concern and warrants further investigation. Author Chris Graham shares expert insight into this measure of chicken health—and what to do if one of your chickens isn’t eating—in The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver: 100 Common Problems Explored and Explained. Feeding pellets from the hand can be a great way of building confidence among your hens. Photo credit: Chris Graham / The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver Problem: One of my chickens isn’t eating Cause: Individual hens that stop eating may be victims of bullying, or they may have a physical ailment such as crop impaction, sour crop, or gapeworm. Solution: One of the reasons why it is very important to spend a few minutes every day simply observing your chickens is so that you can make sure they are all behaving normally. A good time to do this is first thing in the morning, when the hen coop is opened up for the new day. The birds should emerge enthusiastically and with reasonable vigor, their tails held high. Most should make a beeline for the feeder, and any that don’t do this deserve a little special attention. Birds that obviously keep themselves to themselves and that are reluctant to gather around the feeder with the rest may be victims of bullying, so check them over for any signs of feather damage or pecking wounds to the comb or wattles. Birds with injuries that have drawn blood should be removed from the run immediately, treated where necessary, and allowed time for the wounds to heal before being reintroduced. Also, try to check the condition of the droppings of birds that are not eating, and look—or better still, feel—for hard or soft swellings toward the base of the neck. Abnormal dropping consistency is always an indicator of internal trouble, while lower neck swelling can point toward sour crop (soft swelling) or crop impaction (hard swelling). Both will inhibit appetite and require veterinary attention. Keep an Eye on Them Paying regular, close attention to your birds is at the heart of good chicken keeping. Not only will it allow you to keep an eye on their condition, it will also help your hens to feel comfortable and relaxed in your presence; both are vital factors contributing to a healthy, settled flock. Buy from an Online Retailer US: While keeping chickens isn’t rocket science, doing it properly does involve decent levels of understanding, commitment, and attention to detail. Getting the basics right is essential, and this demands a solid appreciation of important areas such as housing, feeding, breed choice, and health. Whether you’re a newcomer or an old hand, The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver provides the information you need to nip problems in the bud – and, better still, avoid them in the first place. Let longtime chicken keeper and poultry expert Chris Graham guide you through 100 common problems faced by chicken keepers. You’ll discover in clear and simple terms what the underlying cause is and how to solve it. Each issue is tackled in depth, with photographs and diagrams, as well as a wide range of practical tips and useful insights. The problems are divided into ten chapters covering the main areas of chicken keeping, from health to housing and parasites to predators. Don’t let a simple problem ruin your love for chicken keeping; The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver has the answers you need! Chris Graham has been the editor of market-leading practicalpoultry.com since it launched in 2004. As a trained photographer and experienced editor, he worked for 20 years on motoring magazines, then made a welcomed switch to the rural sector. He now also edits Practical Pigs magazine, and is the author of Choosing and Keeping Chickens (Hamlyn, 2006) and Wisdom for Hen Keepers (Taunton Press, 2013). Married to Rachel, and with three children, Chris keeps chickens, quail, pigs, cats, a dog, and a number of elderly lawn mowers at his home in rural East Sussex. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.