One of my PBR girls is in middle of her first adult molt (21 mon), a pretty rough one-she's almost naked, while my other 2 girls are done with easy molts. I've been monitoring and during all of this, Gabby has been fine, eating and drinking normally. But I noticed last night when I let them out she was acting "weird".... she wasn't grazing for their "yard time" and she was acting very concerned about her lack of feathers. Yes I can see a couple of them that haven't poked thru and they look painful. Anyway, she skipped the corn/mealworm snacks they get after yard time. She kept crouching down, almost like she was squatting.... this morning, she came out and ate, but is staying away from the others. I know she's getting picked on (she was the lead girl before this) no obvious signs, just how she acts when the others are near, but now she has a slight limp, and it looks like it's one of her feet. (bumble foot maybe?) I'm planning to get a good look tonight after work. Now, none of my girls are the friendliest, none like to be handled, at all, while I can go sit and talk to them and they'll come up, they don't like to be handled and will freak out. If you want them to leave, just put your hand out and they'll run away. However, I also know I should avoid handling a molting bird. So any suggestions on how to treat her foot without hurting her? I've thought of getting a small towel to put over her to handle her, but that seems like she's doomed to more pain regardless of how I do it. I have vitamins, antibiotics I can crush and shoot down her throat (provided I handle her), as well as the Ventri (something??) spray and gauze I can wrap her foot with. I can also put in large cage/sm.coop inside their run to keep the others from picking on her, while keeping her close enough to still see everyone, which would protect her during the day, and hopefully go in the coop at night with the other two. Their run is about 300sq ft, so plenty of room for the 3 of them, even with another coop in it, but would be small enough to keep her from walking a lot on it...Any suggestions or advise???? Thanks!
Need some advise to treat a molting girl with a sore foot
Featured Stories on BackYard Chickens
Since you haven't inspected the foot yet, there's not much I can tell you, though your description does sound a bit like bumblefoot.
For the initial inspection (and if you do have to deal with bumblefoot or another foot injury later), I'd recommend looking her over at night, wrapped in a towel. That way, she'll be mostly asleep and much easier to handle.
Good luck on inspecting her!
Edited by BeanHen - 10/8/15 at 9:41am
Should it be separate from the laying feed? Also, my other 2 girls are laying again, so shouldn't I keep the laying feed out as well? I have oyster shell in a small 16oz feeder available all the time. I had upped the corn treats for the increased protein needs, but I've been trying to make sure I don't over-feed treats. (hard to do!) They're all still going thru a slightly higher than normal amount of feed daily. I will see about leaving work early to stop by the feed store and pick up some grower feed and have it out there tonight. (As well as getting a good look at Gabby's foot after she goes in the coop!). Thank you very much for your help!!! :)
Corn is only 8% protein, it's not a good protein source for molting birds. Layer feed is for actively laying birds only, because of the calcium that is added to it. The calcium in layer feed will build up in the kidneys of none laying birds. This build-up can, and will eventually cause kidney failure and death. If there are members of the flock that aren't laying, the best solution is to feed a grower, all flock, or flock raiser type feed with oyster shell to supplement the ones that are laying. Once they are all back to laying, you can switch back to the layer feed. The higher protein content of a grower allows a bit more wiggle room when it comes to treats, it will also help prevent egg eating and feather picking.
Oh, I didn't think about changing it because I only have 3 girls total, and only Gabby is molting still. The other 2 had very minor molts, only took a couple weeks off from laying, and are almost back to normal egg production (3-4 eggs each per week). Since the molt started, I've had at least 2 girls laying while one was molting, the whole time, so I didn't think about switching feed. So I'll plan to pick up the grower feed and put them on that tonight, leaving the calcium out for the 2 still laying. So far, there hasn't been any egg eating problem and while I'm sure Gabby is getting picked on (she's very timid right now), she hasn't had any sores that indicate feather pulling from others.
The snacks I was giving, corn, etc, were from an article I read about giving more protein while molting was going on, however I obviously missed the part about changing back to grower feed. Thanks again!
Well, I inspected Gabby last night and both of her feet are fine??? While out grazing last night, she wasn't limping, BUT what I did see is that a couple times while her head was lowered it seemed like she was losing her balance. She took 2-3 steps to regain it, and was fine. Now while her head is up, no issues of balance, ran into the yard with the other 2 and looked fine. I also noticed she did the wobble thing only when the other girls were near. This morning, she did the same thing, while eating near the other two she had a "drunk wobble" for 2-3 steps (almost like she was trying to walk a straight line and couldn't), but once they stopped checking out the snacks (1/4 cup of left over rice and some cooked corn, plus 1/2 head of lettuce in a hanging cage), afterward she wasn't wobbly anymore. She seems to be eating and doesn't feel thin, although not really plump either. I switched out the laying feed for the grower feed(22% protein), and added the vitamins and electro-lites to their waterers. I did not give her any antibiotics. She eyes, nose, comb and wattles all look good, with good color, no runny nose or watery eyes. I saw her have a "normal" poo as well as a runny one, but she doesn't have any runny "trail marks" on her booty either. So at this point, I'm going to continue watching and be ready I guess?!?!?! Any ideas??