Q& A with Victoria Roberts
QMy favourite hen became lethargic. She had a poor appetite, but was still drinking and laying the odd soft-shelled egg. She had had a full set of vaccinations before I bought her. Then she began to breathe very heavily, coughed up some blood and went in to a decline. My vet advised euthanasia with a postmortem. I couldn’t afford the PM, but this means I do not know what was wrong with her. Any ideas? VICTORIA ROBERTS SAYS: With the very hot summer, mouldy feed (due to having sweated in plastic bags) has caused some strange illnesses. Make sure that the feed is always used up before the use-by date as this means the nutrition is still good. The only vaccination that I understand this hen did not have was for infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT). A postmortem is always useful and your vet could have done this without much of a charge if samples were not sent off to a laboratory. The trachea should have been opened and, if full of bloody mucus, this would have been ILT. There is a vaccine available, so do talk to your vet.