I'm baffled as to what could be going on with one of my girls.
She is a RIR, around two years old. Shortly before the onset of winter this past year, I noticed that she had stopped laying. Shortly thereafter, she molted--right as it was getting very, very cold. She lost almost all of her feathers, and I was concerned enough to start putting her inside on the mud porch at night when it got very cold. It was at this time, I noticed that she had gotten very thin, to the point that her breastbone was jutting out prominently. She's a very skittish hen, so I had rarely handled her up until that point. It felt as though she weighed nothing. She was always shivering.
I was surprised she made it through the winter, honestly. Despite the fact that I kept her in her own crate on the mud porch and tried to feed her as many high-fat, energy-dense foods as I could, she still just picked at the food, and never really seemed to have much of an appetite.
The oddest thing is that her feathers starting growing back in WHITE. She is now a mostly-white RIR with a few red feathers, and some odd black feathers.
She made it through the winter, and I thought that once there was lots of bugs and weeds to eat, her health might improve. It really hasn't. She seems less miserable, but she is an outcast from the flock, sleeps in a nest box instead of on the roost, and is still very thin. Her appetite is still poor.
I have 8 hens, and she is the only one doing badly. Everyone else is a picture of health--fat, shiny, laying huge, beautiful eggs, and generally just being chickens.
I'm wondering if maybe I need to worm her. I have had chickens for 4 years and have never felt compelled to worm, but I'm wondering if that could be the problem. I got a tube of Safeguard from Tractor Supply.
She doesn't have runny poop or anything like that. She just looks rough--especially for a hen who should be in the prime of her life.
Does this sound like a parasite issue, or something else?? What would cause her feathers to have come back in white?? All of my hens eat a quality layer feed supplemented with things like oatmeal, sunflower seeds, and fruit or veggie scraps. They free range on grass all day, every day.
She hasn't really gotten worse, but she's not getting better, either. I'm at a loss.
Thanks for any advice!!