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Peculiar behavior from molting hens

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, I have two eighteen month oldĀ  hens, one an Ameraucana and one Orpington, that are acting oddly. My Ameraucana finished molting about a month ago and my Orpington is just finishing regrowing her feathers, but both are still acting strangely. The Ameraucana had a normal, problem-free molt. My Orpington, on the other hand, started displaying strange behavior a few days after she started molting. She became slightly more lethargic--not refusing to move or anything, but just spending all her time standing under the bushes, with the Ameracauna keeping her company. She also ate less and lost a lot of weight. However, she still loves treats and always comes running when I have them.



Then, about a week ago both chickens started foraging again and standing around less, but it was still strange because my Orpington seemed over-zealous in her foraging, scratching vigorously at the ground and moving on quickly. She was still not quite eating normally (but eating more) and she became more aggressive. She will regularly bite my hand several times if I have it next to her head. A few days ago, I started noticing something weird with the Ameracauna too. She had started re-laying eggs after her molt, but then laid one shell-less egg and then stopped altogether. I also noticed that a lot of her downy feathers were littering the bottom of the coop. Recently both of them have become more lethargic, standing under the bushes and foraging less. They are also, I think, a little more shaky (like trembly) and are abnormally skittish about being held. They aren't that interested in their feed but still love treats. Their poop looks normal as well.



We are fairly new to raising chickens but had some theories, such as for some reason their feed is not meeting their nutritional needs anymore, they are being more reclusive because they're molting, or they're suffering from the erratic mild-cold-mild weather we've been having.



So, any thoughts? Why might they be acting more skittish, aggressive, and less hungry? Is there such thing as a second successive molt where chickens regrow their feathers and then lose more? Should I give them antibiotics or any other treatment? I really want my chickens to get better!


Edited by cypschickens - 1/18/16 at 12:09pm
post #2 of 3
What are you feeding them, I recommend upping the protein on their ration to 18-24%, perhaps giving them some things like eggs or cottage cheese. The might not have enough to complete their molts. They do become more reclusive during the molt because it's uncomfortable. As far as aggressive behavior, that happens when they go broody, and some of your descriptions sound like a broody hen, are they making a cluck cluck noise and puffing up their feathers? Otherwise it is odd.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice! I don't think they are broody, and we will try some changes in their diet
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