Broody Hen - Ants Scratching, and White Crystals

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by marzipanh, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. marzipanh

    marzipanh Hatching

    Mar 9, 2015
    Redwood City, CA
    Hi there! I have a 1.5 y/o cochin who has been broody for just over a month now. We were hoping to let it run its course, but it's really wearing her down. She's molting and has lost a ton of weight, despite us hand feeding her everyday and nudging her out of the coop. What's more worrisome is that we've found ants in her nest that crawl on and bite/irritate her. We also noticed that she's been pecking at her (maybe?) oil gland under her feathers on her back - we've confirmed it's not lice (her vent is dry and very clean). We also regularly clean the coop - fresh pine shavings every week... The area seems sensitive as she struggles/squawks every time we try to touch it. Here's a picture of the area. Any thoughts on the ants or the (potential) oil gland, BYC gurus?

    Here's the spot:

    Here's the sweet girl healthy:
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016

  2. chickenslave2

    chickenslave2 In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2016
    Hi, and welcome to BYC!

    The part about her losing weight doesn't sound normal. My broody hens usually gain a lot of weight when they're sitting. Maybe she's losing wieght because she's too busy scratching at all the ants and doesn't have time to eat?

    To control the ants, all you need is to put a layer of lavender oil around the bottom of the box she's in and they won't get to her. Or put a blob of something sweet away from your hen to drive the ants there and not at your hen.

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