Eggers Goes Wading

It was so beautifully warm and sunny on Saturday, and the girls were so eager to get onto the lawn, that I let them out. I stayed in the backyard with them – there’s that nesting pair of hawks the nearby woods to watch out for – but the hens were unconcerned. Most of them took dust baths under the beech trees, or scratched around in the bushes.

But what’s this?

Eggers is going wading! I have never, ever seen a chicken take a water bath. She looked quite happy. She found a rock, exactly the right height to stand on. Then, she sat down in the water.

Eggers took long drinks of water. Finally, she was done.

As amusing as this behavior was, it was cause for concern. Why would a chicken choose to sit in cold water? I kept an eye on Eggers. It was soon clear that she wasn’t feeling well. The next morning she didn’t jump off the roost to get the scratch corn. She stayed huffed up and sorry looking. Eggers looked uncomfortable. Egg bound, perhaps? I think that her cold-water bath was an attempt to make her bottom feel better.

Although I couldn’t feel a stuck egg, she did seem sore to the touch. So, inside she came for a warm water epsom salt bath.

As you can see, she liked it. Eggers didn’t try to get out.

Next, a rinse off. She liked that, too.

Next, a towel dry. She didn’t like that so much.

Eggers is now staying in a dog crate in the barn, where I can keep an eye on her manure production (normal) and egg-laying (not happening.) I put her on antibiotics, and after a day, she perked up.

I’m not sure what’s going on. Eggers is my sad-sack, Eeyore bird. For a White Leghorn, she is uncharacteristically droopy, even when perfectly healthy. I’m worried because Snowball had a similar list of symptoms (albeit without the bizarre pond-wading) before she died. So, Eggers will be pampered and given antibiotics for a week. She’s the lowest on the pecking order, so she seems pleased to be all by herself. Whenever I come into the barn, she demands more food. Can chickens be hypochondriacs?


  1. Sorry that Eggers is ill, but at the same time your post cracked me up! Eeyore, hypochondriacs! I think they can be hypochondriacs! I also think they retain the “spa treatments” they receive when they are ill or act ill….. I have a hen that would prefer to winter in the house, cause she spent so much time in the house one year– fox attack, rooster injury, very late molt. If the door is open, she will waltz right in the house, past the cats and head into “her” room asking, “where’s my cage?”

    I guess sometimes everyone needs a little pampering! :)

  2. That is so interesting! I haven’t ever seen a chicken do that either. What antibiotic do you give? You obviously have a gift for taking care of your birds!

  3. I really appreciate you taking the time to post when you are nursing your sick animals. It alerts the rest of us to not just shrug off unusual behaviors, but to really pay attention.

    Here’s to Eggers return to good health!

  4. Hi Terry…That was pretty funny except for the part about Eggers being “punky”…that is the best word I have when my birds are not quite right..I wish Eggers a speedy recovery. Also, interesting webcam that you might like…an owl in San Marcos (down San Diego way)…Mama Owl and Baby Max have quite a following…Check it out..I think you might like it! http://www.ustream/theowlbox

  5. Hi Terry,
    I have been watching your girls as much as I can with the difference in the daylight times here in Australia. I noticed that Eggers was sitting on the perch and the others had got up and were moving around, I even mentioned to my husband that one of the white hens (chooks) didn’t seem that well, I was almost going to write to you actually and ask if everything was OK, I will keep my eye on the Hen-Cam and hope to see her back on her perch soon, I am preparing my hen-house ready for some new girls, I lost my last one just before New Years Eve 2009, I get so close to my animals they become part of the family
    Warmest Regards


    • Congratulations on getting new chooks! (I love the term “chook” and wish we used it here. Maybe I could start a trend?) What breeds are you getting?

      • Glad to hear Eggers is on the way to recovery!
        I am planning on getting pure breeds this time like Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes or Orpingtons. I had Isa-browns last and they seem to be bred to lay their little hearts out then drop dead….the egg laying bit doesn’t really worry me, I really just want them for pets and if they lay well all and good. I am making new Chook accessories, new blinds etc for the new chook digs, I may send you a photo when it is all up and running, our weather can be the four different seasons in the same day at the moment, we don’t get snow here and we are still in drought. Look forward to seeing Eggers back on her perch, thanks so much for sharing your stories with us.
        Warmest Regards

  6. I hope she has a speedy recovery. Now that Spring is here, she should be outside digging and scratching! A hearty appetite is certainly a good sign. (My little Meg never got her appetite back once she got sick.) Eggers is so lucky to have you!

  7. What a smart chicken! She sure seems to know what she wants/needs.

    I hope she’s feeling better soon…

  8. morning terry-just wanted to let you know that my cuckoo marans are in the water daily-maybe it is the warm weather here in ca. or the geese made them do it!