can't figure out what's wrong with my sweet singing chicken


7 Years
Apr 16, 2015

I've read though lots of BYC threads, but this is my first time posting.

I have a sweet little 8 month old black sexlink who makes the cutest little singing whistle noise, and who has been acting sick the past week or so, but I can't figure out what's wrong with her and I'm hoping you all can help!

She has been standing still with her feathers fluffed out for most of the day, she seems to have a dimished appetite, and seems to be standing away from the rest of the flock. She is losing feathers on her head around her comb, her comb is small and pale, and at night I can't feel her crop at all.

She started laying back in August, and was a very good layer with no problems, until she stopped laying about 2 or so weeks ago.

I live in the PNW where the winter weather has just set in - we are getting temps just below freezing at night, and 40 - 45 during the day.

I was not concerned when she and one of my other hens quit laying when it got cold, but now I'm wondering if it's something more than the onset of winter in her case?

I realize all of the symptoms I've listed are very mild, but she is just not acting like herself and I know something is off, I'm just sure what it is!

In the morning when I put their food out, they all run over, but she is uninterested, or feigns interest without actually eating. When I go into the backyard they all coming running excited to see if I've brought treats, but I have to go looking for her. She will eat sunflower seeds, but otherwise is uninterested in treats.

She is not being picked on, her poop somehow seems normal, I've not seen her drink, although I haven't seen the others drink either. She with scratch a bit, but spends most of the day standing still, slightly apart from the others, feathers fluffed out.

I've tried to feel her crop at night thinking that may be the culprit, but I can't feel it at all. It doesn't feel watery or squishy, I just can't feel it, which is also the case with my other hen who is not laying.

The last few nights I've brought her inside hoping the warmth and tlc would help her perk up. Her comb seems to be slightly less pale, but other than that her lethargic, depressed behavior is the same. I've added apple cider vinegar to their water, but none of them really seem to be drinking much, so I doubt their actually getting the benefits.

Anyone have any ideas what's up with my normally very happy hen? Any ideas or insights would be greatly appreciated!
Welcome to BYC. She may just be very timid or low in the pecking order. Sometimes those chickens can almost starve themselves if there are other more assertive chickens. Multiple feeding and watering stations can help. One thing to consider is that she may have an underlying case of coccidiosis, or worms that is causing her to not eat. Her being puffed up or not eating may be symptoms of cocci, which include other symptoms such as diarrhea or blood in droppings.Corid or amprollium in the water is the treatment for that. Valbazen or SafeGuard Liquid Goat Wormer are very good wormer for chickens.
Hens can act depressed when molting and appear sick, but she may also be sick. Try giving her/all of them some B12 vitamins in their water, it helps them during their molt. Extra protein to produce feathers too like the sun flower seeds. Make sure she is getting feed, multiply feed stations and watering stations. I hand feed my low hens to make sure they get to eat.

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