FiddleChics

Songster
Mar 5, 2018
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East Coast - Jersey Shore
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My Coop
I've got an 8 month old Buff Orpington hen that's not growing like the other hens her age. 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 of course is not laying. Goldie is also much smaller than the other girls.

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

When she eats, she rapidly flicks her head to the side, all crazy like, instead of pecking straight at the food - like the other girls do, so I think maybe 2 out of every 10 pecks at her crumble, she maybe gets a bite to swallow, which is why I assume she eats constantly and she's so thin. (If I can capture this on video - i'll add it to this thread)

Her toes on her foot also curl under sometimes - which I've notice even more over the past week or so. She walks on her knuckles... but those kind of steps don't seem to bother her... so that's 'normal' for her... but this can't be good.

She's the lowest in the pecking order, so I always try & give her special treatment. When I make hot mash with their grower/layer 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. And 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 if she sees me coming across the yard - she runs towards me (which again, looks a little awkward) - but I know it's not her eyesight that's missing.

I suspect maybe she's deaf??? She's definitely not as active as the other girls, and not at all interested in scratching & pecking on the ground. She seems oblivious to loud noise. The dog barking does't scare her - and just recently - we built a large (22'x30') run for the girls, in addition to their attached 6'x14' run. We had the air compressor's going & it was loud & had the hens in a flurry & they hid out under the coop... except for little Goldie Hen... who just stood calmly at the food tin - eating... undisturbed. So either she's really smart... or maybe she's deaf?

I don't see worms, or any unusual looking in the droppings on the tray below the roosting bar on anyone. I have a camera inside the coop, so I can see where they each roost at night, and pretty much can tell who's poop is who's - the next morning. (Ain't technology great?) I also do a regular, natural, de-wormer for all the girls periodically.

I have them all on the grower/layer crumble, and I limit their treats to about 10% of their diet... and by 'treats' I mean lots of fresh herbs, veggie/greens, pumpkin, yogurt, and a hot breakfast on Sunday of either mash (from their crumble) or scrambled egg. I put organic Apple cider vinegar, and crushed, fresh garlic in their water on alternate days, I have a heated dog bowl for them so their water doesn't get too cold - and they get Probios 2x a week in either pumpkin or greek yogurt.

So I guess my question is... has anyone ever had a chicken - just not grow up??? She's skinny under all her 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 be cuddled.... which is worth her weight in gold to us. She eats a lot, & don't think she'll ever lay eggs... which is fine. We get plenty of eggs from the other sweet girls. I just never heard of a chicken with stunted growth / arrested development? I wonder if she had a stroke? I just don't know! Anyone ever had this happen?

Here are 2 videos of sweet little Goldie Hen... I took just this morning:

1. Note in this video her development, compared to the other girls of the same age, and her odd toes and how she stands on her knuckles:

2. Note in this video her odd voice... and again, size compared to the same age hens:

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated! :)
 

Redhead Rae

Chickens, chickens everywhere!
Premium Feather Member
Jan 4, 2017
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I think your girl has always had some neurological issues (the curled toes are a sign) because she doesn't right them like a normal chicken would. This put her at the bottom of the totem pole which means she gets less to eat and she probably isn't as good at foraging as the rest of them are either. She is a "special" chicken.
 

FiddleChics

Songster
Mar 5, 2018
193
316
182
East Coast - Jersey Shore
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you @Redhead Rae - I was kinda thinking special too... but neurological issues oof... I need to research that some, I don't really understand it... but know it's not good. I've thought maybe her heart wasn't giving her enough energy or circulation she also needs too... in addition to being lowest on the totem pole. Good point you made about that.
Today, I noticed that her legs & feet are cold, like really cold. :( The other hen's are not cold like this... cool, (it's been cold out) & the other's ankle area is warmer. I worried about Goldie getting frost bite when the weather gets bad. oh boy... I think she may have to come live inside with us... gosh, I really don't know what to do. I feel like I can't just sit by and let 'nature take it's course'... but rather, I must help her to the best of my ability... and not let her be uncomfortable...
Ok... I found a website that has a tutorial on how to make chicken diapers... oh boy...
http://petproductreviews.com.au/chicken-diapers/
 

meetthebubus

Crowing
Mar 28, 2017
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Well she is definitely under developed. She has eyesight issues which contribute to her eating issues, its good you give her special food treatment bc she will need that. Her "voice" is still immature bc she's still small and didn't develop properly. Chickens don't have a voice box but work noises through air movements and contracting muscles so she might never grow large enough to change her sound


I have a buff orp that has a eyesight problem and needs help with small things like treats, her aim and accurateness is off her head is kind of small for what it should be


I hope she continues to thrive bc otherwise she looks active just remember that despite being lowest in order chickens are social with others and she may be happiest outside

Also if you dont already I recommend a open dish for crumble as well, that way no matter where her aim is she can get a mouthful of feed, rather in try to aim at small spaces in a hanging feeder just a thought
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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Yes, it is. It was suggested to me that the friends here, in this category may be able to be more helpful - I'll go remove that other thread. Thanks.
There's no need to remove the other thread, you can post as many threads as you want. I was just making sure it was the same pullet and that you didn't have another one that was having similar issues.
 

FiddleChics

Songster
Mar 5, 2018
193
316
182
East Coast - Jersey Shore
My Coop
My Coop
There's no need to remove the other thread, you can post as many threads as you want. I was just making sure it was the same pullet and that you didn't have another one that was having similar issues.
Ohh! Ok! I just went on and can't figure out how to remove it anyway... and there actually were some good comments on there... so I guess I'll leave it. But yes it's the same pullet. Thanks!
 

micstrachan

Enabler
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Apr 10, 2016
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Is she being bullied off feed by the other hens? I might put her in a dog crate (in with the others so she doesn’t get booted out of the flock) with her own food and water and see how she does.

Also, it looks like maybe her crop is puffy? Can you check that it empties properly overnight?
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Jun 23, 2013
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When did the curly toes start?
What are you feeding?


I'm thinking possible vitamin deficiency ... Her toes look like they straighten out, maybe she needs some "shoes" & vitamins (Nutri Drench)
 

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