BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures › Weaving, looks drunk, off balance = molting!
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Weaving, looks drunk, off balance = molting!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'm not super-experienced with chickens, having had them on grandma's farm as a kid and I have had my current flock for about 4 years now. A few weeks back they went through a really dramatic molt (one lost pretty much every feather at once) and two hens started acting really squirrelly. One seemed to act like she had an ear or crop problem: when she would put head down to eat she would suddenly scoot backwards, dragging her chin along the ground. The other was worse, walking like a drunken sailor most of the time, crouching and weaving instead of walking straight. I thought maybe a balance, vision or muscle problem, but did notice she would make a beeline for the food pan or if being chased. Research and advice was mostly doom and gloom, ranging from horrible diseases to vitamin deficiencies. However a few hopeful items, mostly from old-school farmers, just said wait it out, it goes away when molting stops... And it absolutely did!
I found it hard to believe, but I guess the pain/discomfort of the pincushion phase was behind the odd gait. I guess being vitamin deficient as all that energy is going into feather making is possible too, but our chickens are fed better than us, get a higher protein diet while molting, and free range most days. Anyway, I was very glad that I didn't do anything drastic; the behaviors lasted about 7 to 10 days, in case anyone else that might also have chickens looking drunk or crazy finds this post.
post #2 of 3

Yeah, molt is crazy hard on chickens.  I always cross my fingers after a molt until they come back into lay because every single time I have a reproductive issue pop up it is always after a hard molt.

 

Glad to hear your girls have returned to normalcy.  I bet they look great in their new coats.

post #3 of 3
Thank you so much for posting this information! This happened to one of our chickens today and it was very alarming. You have eased my mind.
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