FiddleChics

Songster
Mar 5, 2018
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192
East Coast - Jersey Shore
My Coop
My Coop
I've got an 8 month old Buff Orpington hen that's not growing like the other hens. I got them all as baby chicks on March 9, 2018... so they're all about 8 months old now. My other hens have combs, waddles & are laying. They're all normal size, solid and fluffy except for this one particular Buff Orpington who we call 'Goldie Hen'. She has no comb, no waddles & "peeps" like she's still a baby... (it's become more like a honk now, instead of clucking - it's very odd sounding) and Goldie is much smaller than the other girls.

She's also uncoordinated. She doesn't hop down from the roosting bar or even the pallet in the run area... but frequently falls down to her left side. But she catches herself, scrambles up - and continues on her way. I've examined her for injury many times - but found nothing.

When she eats her crumble, she flicks her head to the side, all crazy like, instead of pecking straight at the food - like the other girls, so I think maybe 2 out of every 10 pecks at her crumble, she gets a bite to swallow, which is why I assume she eats constantly.

She's the lowest in the pecking order, so I always try & give her special treatment. When I make hot mash with their crumble on cold days, adding a little pumpkin puree, herbs & Probios, I always keep a little bit aside - just for her to eat without having to fight for it. When the girls get their afternoon scratch on cold days, I throw it out to the run for the big girls, then sit, and let little Goldie eat out of the can, as I hold it for her. She loves that, and when she sees me coming across the yard - she runs towards me - so I know it's not her eyesight.

I can't tell if she's deaf. She's definitely not as active as the other girls, and not so interested in scratching & pecking... but seems oblivious to loud noise. We just built a large run for them, and the air compressor's engine noise had everyone in a flurry, hiding under the coop... all except for little Goldie... who just stood at the food tin - eating... undisturbed. So she may be deaf?

I don't see any worms in their droppings, and do a regular, natural, de-wormer for all the girls periodically. So I guess my question is... has anyone ever had a chicken - just - not grow up??? She's skinny under all her beautiful, butter colored, fluffy feathers, and has the sweetest personality. Our kids & grand kids can easily pick her up, pet her & hold her and she loves to cuddle... which is worth her weight in gold to us. I love her so much! <3 She eats a lot & don't think she'll ever lay eggs... which is fine. We get plenty of eggs from the other girls. I just never heard of a chicken with stunted growth / arrested development? Anyone ever had this happen?
 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
Jul 6, 2016
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NW Washington state
It sounds like she might have some neurological problems, judging by some of the movements you've said she makes. She could be deaf, too, or maybe she is just very smart and knows she is safe and can continue eating while the other girls hide from noises.

Pictures of this bird would help a lot. There are members who can diagnose what your hen may or may not have, and then offer possible solutions. It may just be a case of her needing specific vitamins.
 

FiddleChics

Songster
Mar 5, 2018
193
324
192
East Coast - Jersey Shore
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you @JedJackson for your quick reply... I worry so much about her... I went out and took some quick video this morning... It's hard when all the other girls come gathering around - but there are two links below - which show her pretty well. She looks bigger than she is... she's all skin & bones under those fluffy feathers - and note too, which I didn't mention in my initial post, notice her toes in this video?!?!? She doesn't curl them in all the time... but just now and then... it's so odd, & only on the right side... Here's 2 videos - one of her odd voice, and the other of her toes & size compared to my other girls.

I also think you may be on the mark about being smart and eating when the other girls hide... We built a big additional run - and many times, she hangs out in the 'base run" and eats - while the other girls are running around in the big, new run...

I did note the deficiency comment... I have them all on grower/layer crumble and only bout 10% 'treats' - which consist mostly of fresh herbs, veggies and an occasional scrambled egg or hot mash on Sundays.

Here's the 2 videos I took this morning:


 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
Jul 6, 2016
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NW Washington state
Yes, I see what you mean. She definitely looks stunted for 8 months, and a little sickly. She looks better in the second video than the first. I really think you need to re-post, with videos and all symptoms, in here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/emergencies-diseases-injuries-and-cures.10/

Folks in there will be able to help you much better than I can. I hope she gets better, poor thing. I hated to see her being chased by the other birds.
 

FiddleChics

Songster
Mar 5, 2018
193
324
192
East Coast - Jersey Shore
My Coop
My Coop
I hate seeing her being picked on too. I will post this there, that's a good idea @JedJackson. I'm not real savvy with this BYC site yet... as I'm kinda new to this site & chickens... and I barely figured out how to post this thread! But thank you again for your input... at least I know I'm on the right track with what I'm thinking. I do try and pamper her as much as I can... and in the back of my mind I'm thinking if any chicken were EVER to come inside the house for winter... it would be her. It's been a struggle with her since the beginning. It's my first flock ever... and the local business that sells chicks - sold me seven - 1day old chicks... and 3 of the 7 -I think were runts... and this is the 3rd (remaining one - that just didn't grow). I think they took advantage of the fact that I honestly didn't know any better... and also charged me $15 per chick... which I have since learned - is kinda like highway robbery. Needless to say... I'll go to Tractor Supply or Meyers Hatchery or somewhere that's got a good reputation. I"ll repost this, thanks! :)
 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
Jul 6, 2016
6,257
19,529
882
NW Washington state
I hate seeing her being picked on too. I will post this there, that's a good idea @JedJackson. I'm not real savvy with this BYC site yet... as I'm kinda new to this site & chickens... and I barely figured out how to post this thread! But thank you again for your input... at least I know I'm on the right track with what I'm thinking. I do try and pamper her as much as I can... and in the back of my mind I'm thinking if any chicken were EVER to come inside the house for winter... it would be her. It's been a struggle with her since the beginning. It's my first flock ever... and the local business that sells chicks - sold me seven - 1day old chicks... and 3 of the 7 -I think were runts... and this is the 3rd (remaining one - that just didn't grow). I think they took advantage of the fact that I honestly didn't know any better... and also charged me $15 per chick... which I have since learned - is kinda like highway robbery. Needless to say... I'll go to Tractor Supply or Meyers Hatchery or somewhere that's got a good reputation. I"ll repost this, thanks! :)
Yeah, 15 bucks per chick is too much. It also sounds like this person's chicks have health issues. I hope someone in the medical emergencies forum can help you.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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8 month old Buff Orpington hen that's not growing like the other hens.
They're all normal size, solid and fluffy except for this one particular Buff Orpington who we call 'Goldie Hen'. She has no comb, no waddles & "peeps" like she's still a baby... (it's become more like a honk now
She's also uncoordinated. She doesn't hop down from the roosting bar or even the pallet in the run area... but frequently falls down to her left side
When she eats her crumble, she flicks her head to the side, all crazy like, instead of pecking straight at the food
She's definitely not as active as the other girls, and not so interested in scratching & pecking... but seems oblivious to loud noise.
I don't see any worms in their droppings, and do a regular, natural, de-wormer for all the girls periodically.
She's skinny
Thank you for the videos:)

Have you looked inside her ears just to make sure there is no infection, debris or ear mites?

Has she always flicked her head when eating? Does she only do that when eating crumbles or does she flick the head often.

The flicking of the head and loss of balance does sound neurological. Whether the cause is nutritional, genetic/developmental or disease (Marek's) related it would be hard to know.
Since she is stunted, I would lean toward genetics - but you can't rule out Marek's.
I would try Vitamin E (400IU daily) and 1/2 tablet human Vitamin B-Complex for a couple of weeks to see if that makes a difference. Give her a little treat of egg or tuna for Selenium, this helps with the uptake of E. Since you hand feed her/save goodies for her - egg with the vitamins mixed in would work nicely for "treat time".

I don't know of any natural de-wormers, can you tell us what that is? Getting a fecal float would be a good thing to do. If she has worms, then treating those with something like Safeguard or Valbazen is the way to go.

Her crop looks quite full in the video, which is a good thing if she's been eating, but I would also check it just to make sure it's emptying completely overnight.
 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
Jul 6, 2016
6,257
19,529
882
NW Washington state
Thank you for the videos:)

Have you looked inside her ears just to make sure there is no infection, debris or ear mites?

Has she always flicked her head when eating? Does she only do that when eating crumbles or does she flick the head often.

The flicking of the head and loss of balance does sound neurological. Whether the cause is nutritional, genetic/developmental or disease (Marek's) related it would be hard to know.
Since she is stunted, I would lean toward genetics - but you can't rule out Marek's.
I would try Vitamin E (400IU daily) and 1/2 tablet human Vitamin B-Complex for a couple of weeks to see if that makes a difference. Give her a little treat of egg or tuna for Selenium, this helps with the uptake of E. Since you hand feed her/save goodies for her - egg with the vitamins mixed in would work nicely for "treat time".

I don't know of any natural de-wormers, can you tell us what that is? Getting a fecal float would be a good thing to do. If she has worms, then treating those with something like Safeguard or Valbazen is the way to go.

Her crop looks quite full in the video, which is a good thing if she's been eating, but I would also check it just to make sure it's emptying completely overnight.
:goodpost:
 

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