Can starting to lay make a hen lose weight?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chickens in the Grove, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Chickens in the Grove

    Chickens in the Grove Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Oregon
    I have a 28 week old Speckled Sussex who has been losing weight. I don't know exactly how much she weighs now, but three weeks ago she hurt one of her toes and couldn't walk very well. So, we took her to the vet and they said that she looked fine. Her weight and stool sample were normal. They gave us a week's worth of pain killers with an anti-inflammatory and told us not to let her out of the coop for a week. She still couldn't walk on it very well after that, so we kept her in for two weeks. She's been able to walk around the backyard for 3 or 4 days, now, but she's started losing weight! She doesn't seem lethargic, she's still eating, and I haven't seen anything strange about her poop. Last week one of our four hens started laying. I don't know if it's her, but only 2 of them lay brown eggs, so there's a 50/50 chance it's her.

    So, now I don't know whether to call this a new symptom and take her back to the vet or not. Can laying make a hen lose weight? Was she just not getting enough exercise when she was cooped up and overdoing it now that she can get out again?

    We also switched feed last week. We had been using organic starter pellets and then a friend gave us some layer feed (she lost her flock when a dog ate them and decided not to get more chickens). Our hens hadn't started laying when we gave it to them, but we'd just run out of starter pellet and they were about at laying age, so we thought that it would be fine to give it to them. A couple days later one of them started laying, so we figured that it was fine! But, now I'm worried that she might not like the feed or maybe it was too old or something? I don't know how old it is or what kind of quality. Should I get new pellets, then?

    None of our other chickens seem to be losing weight. We have 4 hens and 2 roosters. They're all the same age. One of them is laying. They're from Meyer Hatchery.

    I haven't seen her drinking, but I also haven't sat there and watched her all day, so it doesn't mean that she doesn't. I have seen her eat, though. I don't know how much, but I have seen her at the food bucket.

    We use wood shavings in the bed. Don't worry, there's no cedar. When we changed out the bedding the other day I saw her pecking at it in the nest box. It almost looked like she was eating it, but she might have just been moving it around. One of them keeps kicking it all out of the nest boxes, but I don't know if it's her or not.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Any chance the others are keeping her away from the feeder? Since she was away from the flock for two weeks, she would reenter at the bottom of the pecking order. It wouldn't be odd for them to be interfering with her eating.
     

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