My black australorp has been acting funny for the past few days. She's around 10 months old and has always been a good layer. Last week she stopped laying for a couple of days but then started up again. Then yesterday her feathers started falling out and she had diarrhea, and that continued today. Yesterday's egg also had a blood spot in it. She's been a little stand-offish - staying apart from the other chickens - but she's always been kind of a loner.
Thank you for your help!
1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others?
Black australorp hen, 10 months, kind of a big bird but she's my only australorp so not sure how she compares to others
2) What is the behavior, exactly?
She's losing tail feathers and has diarrhea (watery). Also had a blood spot in her egg. Acting fairly normal but a little more stand-off-ish than usual. doesn't seem lethargic.
3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
2 or 3 days (unless you count last week when she stopped laying for a little while).
4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
My red star (about 1 year old) might have some diarrhea - she has some poop stuck to her feathers around her vent - but is otherwise acting totally normal and laying fine.
5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma?
No (although she did have an injury a few months ago - possibly a bite of some sort - that she recovered from)
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation?
We introduced two new, younger pullets about three weeks ago, but those two seem perfectly healthy (droppings are normal, they look and act fine).
We have been feeding them flock raiser instead of a layer feed since introducing the new birds since they're too young for a layer feed. We've been giving them oyster shell on the side, but haven't been giving them as much for the past few days because we're running low. Both of the birds that are currently laying (the australorp and the red star) have been laying eggs with kind of thin shells. So could diarrhea and feather loss be caused by a calcium deficiency??
We also had a fox visit on Saturday morning so that could have stressed her out (no one was injured - it tried to dig into the tractor but there's chicken wire attached to the bottom).
7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all>?
Flock raiser, a little oyster shell on the side, water, plus she free ranges around our urban yard (approx. 4000 sq. ft.) so she snacks on weeds, grass, etc. Definitely could have gotten into some standing water because it rained over the weekend - could she have picked up a parasite?
8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny?
Very runny/watery. Haven't found any blood though.
9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
I always mix diatamaceous earth into their feed. Today I also added some to the bedding and dusted her with it (she loved that...)
10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
I would like to treat her myself. We live in an urban area so I'm guessing taking her to a vet will be cost prohibitive.
11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
The chickens live in a small moveable chicken tractor (we only have 4). The tractor has an interior part and a run. We move it around the yard but it's been in the same place for 6 weeks. However, they all free range around the yard during the day, so they're really only in the tractor at night and in the morning (until 8 or 9 usually) when I let them out. We use straw for bedding. Their feed does fall on the ground and we have sparrows that show up pretty regularly to pick at it. At night they usually sleep on the ground on a thick layer of straw (there is a roost but it's low to the ground and they seem to prefer to just burrow into the straw most of the time).