Hello all, I have been scouring over the threads for a while now. I have a mixed flock of 6 (became 5 this morning). I am new and have had a flock of free to me's for about 4 months now. I love these guys!! I do know I have 1 RIR pure and what I think is a white (she is all white and plump). The other 4 hens are I believe mixed. And to top off, 1 bantam rooster, pretty little guy.
My problem stems on my mixes. The symptoms I noticed in Baldy (wife named her since she was missing some feathers when we got her) a couple weeks ago. She was extremely active, first to the gate, first to treats we threw, first everywhere. Then one day her right eye would close like she was having trouble staying awake yet it was only her right eye. She still ate but hung back from the flock as they ran around. Then she just moped around and that's when I picked her up and noticed her breast were very sunken in even though her feathers were puffed out. I had no idea. Her breast bone had no meat around it. I went to Allies here and they recommended some antibiotics. Once I had her quarantined I noticed she pooped almost clear. I had her on antibiotics for about a week then electrolytes for a week and she started doing better but not great. I then decided to worm the whole flock so did that.
Baldy is slowly getting more active and although I have not been putting her on a scale (I plan on tracking weights beginning tomorrow) she feels like she is getting heavier. She still has no meat around the ridge down her chest but she seems to be doing better. Except that some of the other hens peck her and gang up on her. I figure one day if she gets back to where she was she'll pay them back with interest but probably not, animals don't think like we do..... lol But in the meantime I let her run around the yard by herself a while before letting the rest out. They do pick on her but normally I am around outside to break it up or I lock her in the run by herself while the others are in the yard.
My questions are:
How long will it take her to gain weight and recover fully? (we live on just under 2 acres in the forest, I let them range most of the day with laying food in their run. Plus plenty of treats!! Food is not a problem!!)
Any guesses what could have done this?
How do you prevent stuff like this happening?
When Baldy is put back into the flock, how do I keep them from beating up on her? Do I wait for her to fully recover her weight?
I did lose one this morning, we called her Red. Another mix. I am certain it was botulism. But, she also had the same skinny breast and yesterday started acting "tired". I think botulism because I found out yesterday they were digging in the garden and getting to the fish carcasses I have buried in there and eating the maggots they dig up. Fence is back up and they're prevented from getting in. I had no idea. Hard lesson for us, she was a very easy going hen. But I am shocked that she seems to have been headed down Baldy's path to shriveling up and being near death. I don't know why......
So any help or advice y'all can throw my way would be hugely appreciated.