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Losing Feathers, Getting Pecked and Walking Wobbly!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am brand new here and to the world of chickens.. we just brought home our first chickens two weeks ago, along with their coop. We have three chickens that are only in the coop to lay and sleep, otherwise they free range in our backyard. I noticed when we brought them home, one of them was losing a few feathers here and there. Over the last two weeks this chicken has lost approx 2/3 of her feathers. Up until a few days ago I assumed it was molting or the stress of moving. There were no funny marks, I can see new feathers coming in and she is about 18 months old which is when I've read they molt.


However I have been watching them closely because the other two wander around together and don't let her anywhere near them. If they're eating and she tries to eat they will squawk at her and she'll run away. I started noticing the bossy two will come running out of the coop in the morning but she would stay up for a long time, almost as if she was afraid to come out. Finally, a few days ago when I went out to lock up the coop only the bossy two were in there. My husband found her hiding under a big bamboo bush. I thought maybe she missed getting back to the coop on time, so unfortunately I asked him to put her in there. We have coyotes and raccoons in our backyard and I didn't think she would be safe, or warm and dry, sleeping in a bush all night. The next morning I opened the coop and she ran out and cowered at my feet. She had bloody spots all over her and her beak has a small chunk missing and bleeding. I felt awful, making her go in her coop when she was obviously trying to avoid it. But I truly thought she was molting; I've looked at pictures and that is what it looked   like and there was no blood until that night she tried to not go back to the coop and I made her. 


Needless to say, we made a makeshift coop for her in the greenhouse when we found her hiding under the bamboo bush again last night.  She seemed relieved and slept in there all night but this morning when I went to check on her she was walking really wobbly, almost like a drunk person tripping and disoriented. Do any experienced chicken owners have any suggestions or ideas? I feel so badly for how quickly this chicken has deteriorated, I just want to keep her safe and happy. 

post #2 of 3

That is so sad, and I am really sorry.  I would use some of this on her.  Again, I am really sorry.

post #3 of 3

This can be the sad side of having some low pecking order chickens. I have one just like this in one of my flocks that roams my yard. She hasn't been injured yet, but the other two really give her a hard time. It is human nature to want to help them, but sometimes the other chickens may sense that something is wrong with one they pick on. Mareks disease is one thing to look into for causing the balance issues, but dehydration, being kept from food, or a vitamin deficiency might also be a problem. Put some SaveAChick or Rooster Booster vitamins and electrolytes in her water, and make sure that she drinks it or give it with a dropper. Here is some info to read about Mareks:

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