Can you identify what's wrong

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by McGoo, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Hope so.

    I don't have pics - hoping to get some soon. In the meantime here are the specs:

    10 mos old pullet, NH Red, with a pale and shriveled-up comb. She has lost her tail feathers and she is pulling out feathers from her neck. She does not appear to be listless; don't know if she is laying.

    This is my son's bird. He has 12 NH Reds. This same problem is appearing - the pale and shriveled up combs, not the feather loss, in 3 other gals.

    Other factors: They live in VT where temps fell to -10 a week and a half ago. This issueseemed to appear after that cold snap, though might not be related at all.

    The other chickens are all fine.

    Any ideas on what might be the problem?
  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Are you sure they're not just going into a molt?
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Separate the sick one from the flock, just in case. I can't diagnos the problem but I can tell you some proactive interventions while you figure it all out.

    Add some raw apple cider vinegar to their water. Try upping the protein in their diets. Maybe some chopped boiled egg (with the shell) and organic yogurt with cooked white rice. You can give them a few drops of baby vitamins - polyvisol - in the water to help.

    They sound like they are missing vital nutrients.

    At 10 months I don't think it is molting if the combs are showing distress.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  4. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    Has anyone seen them pulling feathers? If not they may just be molting.

    If they are pulling feathers and eating them, then I would say a vitamin defficiancy.

    If they are pulling feathers and leaving them, then I would examine the birds with a magnifying glass for mites or lice.

    Morganton, NC
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I ahve to agree with Matt. Check for lice/mites. Up the protien..and add ACV to the water. Are they crowded? Have you had to lock them in for the cold temps? Maybe they are bored, or crowded...but sounds to me like a mite problem.
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I have never seen mites cause a shriveled up comb with lost color.

    You can check them best at night with a flashlight. Look around the vent for the little bugs.

    But I am betting it is something more.
  7. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Thank you all.

    I have already suggested separating of the chickens.

    Their space is not cramped, but they were inside for a couple of weeks with a lot of snow outside. Now the snow is gone and they're back to foraging.

    They do get sunflower chips along with their pellets. They also get veggies once in a while and oyster shells regularly.

    Already suggested checking for mites. I didn't know to look around the vent, so I'll tell him that. I also will suggest the eggs...crushed shells so they don't start a bad habit.

    And yes, the feathers could be moulting, but the shriveled up pale, almost white combs seem to be a sign of something else.

    Thanks and I'll keep you all posted on their health.
  8. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    What do you do if they have mites? Just sprinkle DE on them and in their bedding?
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I think mites could cause a shriveled pale comb because they suck blood, and enough of them could make a chicken anemic.
    If that's what is happening, I would use Sevin powder on the chickens.
  10. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Thanks for the advice. I'll add sevin to the list to help out. Can we get that at the feed store?

    What does it do? Does it get rid of the mites? Or will the DE do that? Confused. [​IMG]

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