Advise needed

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RoccoM, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. RoccoM

    RoccoM New Egg

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    Jun 22, 2012
    My 5 year old hen seems to go through a hard molt every year. This year she is seeming very weak. Feathers puffed up standing on the floor of the coop by herself with her eyes closed. She does perk up for a minute when I go out there and she did peck at food a little so I think she's eating. Could this be normal molting behavior? I've been feeding her extra protein and ground eggshells. Last night she didn't climb up to roost.

    Last year she got pretty weak and the others started pecking at her and she had sores on her back. I brought her in and separated her for the rest of the winter and she got strong and beautiful again and integrated well back into the flock.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    It's normal for them to feel unwell during a molt and especially during a hard molt it seems to be painful. I would worry about her getting stressed enough to get sick from any viruses she might normally be able to fight off. She is getting up there in age so if you are concerned I would do what I can to keep her comfortable, a lot of hard molting hens are not comfortable on the roost and will take to sleeping in the nestboxes.
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Molting is stressful and uncomfortable and if a bird has any underlying health issues they may become more apparent. That said, I've never had a bird stand around puffed up with closed eyes nor stop roosting at night when molting, even my older birds. They may become cranky or skittish, I even have one that crouches and walks backwards at times when she's got pin feathers coming in, but they otherwise act normal, move about during the day as usual and eat well.

    The fact the you separated her last winter for an extended period and she improved a lot makes me wonder if she's being bullied away from the food? Is there more then one feeding station? Does she feel thinner then she should? Have they been dewormed?
     
  4. RoccoM

    RoccoM New Egg

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    Jun 22, 2012
    Last year when this happened she got really skiddish and would run away from the other girls she seemed to have more flighty energy. This time is different. I'm pretty concerned about her. I have never dewormed my chickens. I read that it's not necessary for chickens? have I been wrong at not doing this? I also read that chickens can live up past 15. Is 5 years getting up there? Thanks so much for your responses I appreciate your advise this is my first flock of chickens so I'm still learning
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    I have never wormed any of my chickens. I have found that around half my birds live to 4 years and then suddenly die, others go on living up to ten years, older than that is unusual and doesn't happen often, the reported life expectancy of 12 years I'm not sure where they get such information as most chickens are killed at a young age. I'm going on the assumption that they can live that long, not that it happens a lot.
     
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  6. RoccoM

    RoccoM New Egg

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    Thanks for that! I've already lost another one out if my original 4. She died at age 4. I wasn't sure if Ive been doing something wrong or if this just happens. Feeling a little better about it!
     
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens do get worms, just like any other animal, maybe even more so simply due to their lifestyle. If you prefer not to give dewormer on a regular basis then a good idea is to have a vet test a fecal sample for you. Gather several droppings from different birds and have them tested. If anything shows up you can treat for it. If going by this method do the samples regularly. Chickens can live with a certain amount of worms but worms are very damaging and eventually they can overwhelm even a healthy bird. I personally see no reason to loose birds to something so easily controlled.

    In my opinion 5 is not old, I have had chickens live much longer. There are a few people on this forum who have reported 10 year old and older chickens. However, it is also not unusual to loose birds much younger. They are prone to tumors, diseases and, in layers, reproductive tract/egg laying issues as well. So it's really impossible to predict a lifespan in these birds. I've had birds die at two years old from internal laying, others that were still going and even laying a few eggs at 7 years old.
     
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