Chicken Dilemma

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by homeschooledchicken, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. homeschooledchicken

    homeschooledchicken New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2007
    Hi,
    I have a real dilemma ... we have 5 hens. Two are about a year and 1/2 and the other 3 are about 7 months old. They have gotten along fine and we have had no problems in any category until the last two months. We have a neighborhood dog that the owners let run rampant ... he has killed one of my older hens by busting into their coop. That was about 7 months ago. Then he got into their coop AGAIN about a month ago and three of them into the tree line, one remained in the coop, and ran one of our older hens over close to his house where he then began to pluck her ... she put up an awesome fight and then I ran him off of her and she hid in the treeline for about a day. They all came back ... none were hurt. Since then, the one that remained in the coop, has now started shedding A LOT of feathers. She almost looks like a guinea ( sp? ) ... hardly any neck feathers, and has lost some on her wings, tail, and some on her underneath neck and belly. All of our other chickens look great ... feathers all in tact. Another problem ... NONE of them are laying. I haven't had to buy eggs in a year and now even my older hens aren't even laying. I'm sorry this is so lengthy, I just have so many questions. They are in a good sized coop ... 4 nesting boxes in a "house" that's about 4 ft tall, and 3 feet long, roof and door. They have a running area of about 4 feet wide and about 6 feet long. we let them out often to peck around and play. i am hoping this is just stress related for the one chicken. i am also wondering if i do get eggs soon, are they going to be ok to eat? Please help!! Any advice will be very much appreciated!!!
     
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    First of all before I know what to say, I need to know you are allowed to have chickens or do you have them on the down low? Like alot of us here....
     
  3. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is it possible their are going through a moulting phase? that will decrease egg production. also the infestation of lice will cause decrease egg production and feather loss if its bad enough. Also are their combs still a bright red?
     
  4. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I'm so sorry for you. If a dog had killed or even hurt one of my chickens it would see the shotgun behind the door. The feather loss/no eggs could mean stress. I have heard that if a flock is attacked or one had gotten killed they go into a depression/stress stage. Hope for the best for you keep us posted.
     
  5. homeschooledchicken

    homeschooledchicken New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2007
    ok, several things ... THANK YOU for your replies! As far as I know, i have chickens legally [​IMG]. We have no HOA and we dont live in the city limits.

    As for the stupid dog, if i could get close enough to him and he wasnt so sneaky, i'd shoot him. he has caused my girls a lot of heart ache. its a LONG frustrating story! UGH! my next move is to go to our little "city" hall and file a formal complaint against the owner for not having the dog on a leash at all times. anyway! i dont know what to do about him, but i have to be sneaky, whatever i do ... ive already let his owner know about it and she literally stands in front of my house and yells that i am a liar ... in front of my 6 and 10 year old girls! like i said ... very frustrating!

    the problem with all this that i cant figure out is that she is the only chicken going through this! all the other ones look awesome! im thinking maybe i should seperate her for a little while and see what happens, maybe? there hasnt been a problem with space in the last 5 months, i dont think she is being picked on ... she is one of the older ones and i have seen her push the younger ones around.

    moulting ... do they lose a lot of feathers? i dont think she has lost any in the last week, but last week, she looked nasty! [​IMG]

    will putting garlic in their water help kill mites/lice? i thought i read that somewhere. i know its supposed to help with flea problems on dogs.

    my two older hens didnt lay until they were about 9 months old and they have stopped laying for a little time before, but this is dragging on. my 3 young hens have not started laying yet, so for them, this may not be a problem. its really just my 2 older hens who are puzzling me. if i put out seven dust, will it hurt them if it gets on them or they ingest it?
     
  6. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    About the dog - next time it is loose call animal control and report a stray that is being agressive toward children, they will come right out and take him. Then the owners have to deal with the fines to get him back. If that doesn't work, get an airsoft gun and start pinging the sob. If he gets stung everytime he comes near your yard eventually he will stop.

    And yes there are ton of feathers with a molt. It looks like 15 boys had a major pillow fight in the hen house.
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Some chickens have a hard molt and look half naked. Others have a more gradual molt. Every chicken is an individual in this way, even though environmental factors can effect molting. It takes a lot of protein to grow feathers or to create an egg. A chicken having a hard molt, where they've dropped and are trying to grow a lot of feathers all at once, has a hard time doing both.

    Your neighbor sounds like a bit of a jerk. You can try to get help from whoever handles animal control in your area. You can probably shoot the dog legally, if it's attacking your chickens. You can make your chicken coop or pen stronger. Here, I'd be calling the sheriff's department to report the incident and working on the coop.

    It might not take that much to fortify your coop. If you could post more information, maybe we could help with some ideas for that part. Then they'd be safer from other dogs or wild predators, too, so it would still be a good thing, even if you end up shooting this dog.
     
  8. homeschooledchicken

    homeschooledchicken New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2007
    Y'all are so helpful! I went outside and looked at all my chickens. The one that I have been talking about still has a very red comb and waddel. She is also looking better to me. I looked under her feathers and her skin is almost powdery looking ... like dandruff. I saw no mites, but I was wondering if they are visible? I noticed this afternoon that my other one that is her age is also starting to lose some feathers, she just hasnt lost as many! I am now beginning to think that it is just moulting. My young hens have no sign of it. Do they usually moult all at the same time? I have another question, it seems like they are, lately, pooping more in the nests, am I just crazy or is that normal?

    Regarding the dog, since we live out from town, our "city" only pays for the dog catcher to come out and patrol once a week. I have emailed them probably 5 times, explaining in detail about this dog, and I even have photos of him in my backyard ( we dont have a fence ). NOTHING has been done. The dog catcher said that in our area the fine is $165 each time I or anyone else calls in and files a complaint. I can't imagine that they are still allowing the dog to run off leash at this amount every time I have called. The owners will put him on a long tie out in their front yard for a little while ( I guess to appease all of us who can't stand their stupid dog ) and then I will find him in my back yard again. My husband said that we are not to shoot a gun in this area, not sure why ... we are kind of in a weird area ... we are in the city of Lowry Crossing, our address says McKinney, and we are in Princeton school district ... weird, I know. Anyway, this dog is very smart and it's like he knows how to be a perfect sneak. His owner is a REAL jerk ... our neighbor said their first dog, they let run amock like this one, and it ran across the street ( before the neighborhood was finished ) and a pack of coyotes tore it apart right there in front of them ... oh that I should be so lucky!! [​IMG] The dog's name is ToTo ... wish he'd take a trip to Kansas!

    Thanks for all you guys time and advice! By the way, our sweet little girls are Dora, Alesia ( pronounced uh-lee-see-uh ), Fajita
    ( thanks to my husband ... and she is named after the first chicken to fall to Toto ... they look like twins! ), Scarlett, and Little Whitey! [​IMG] Felt like I should introduce them, since y'all are trying to help them! [​IMG]
     
  9. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    When new feathers grow in, they are enclosed in a sheath, a long skinny tube. They're usually called pin feathers. They have a blood supply as they grow. As they stop growing, starting at the tip, the blood supply recedes and the bird preens the feather, removing the outer sheath. The feather can then unfurl and fluff out. It starts at the tip, but eventually the entire feather is released. The bits of sheath look like dandruff. Some of it is more powdery and some of it is chunkier.

    Some of my chickens molt a little sooner, some a little later, but all around the same general time of year. Mine have always had slower, more gradual molts. Now this year, I've had two do really hard molts, where they're half naked! They were last year's chicks, so this is their first big annual molt. Chicks from this year, won't have a big molt until next year at this time. So, that's one of the differences you may be seeing in your chickens, too.

    Is the dog catcher the one you reported the incident to and is that who is responsible for fining the neighbor? Or do they turn in paperwork and someone else fines the neighbor? Things work a little differently, in different areas. It wouldn't hurt to get ahold of whoever the person is that can give you an answer of "Yes, we fined your neighbor $165.00 for the incident where their dog was running loose and attacked your chickens." Just to make sure nothing got overlooked.

    Don't forget that you are entitled to reimbursement if a dog damages your property, kills your chickens or you have to pay for vet care. Sometimes loss of eggs is calculated, also, when a laying hen is killed. Although, I of course hope you don't have anything else terrible happen to your chickens!

    Do you want some ideas on how to fortify your coop? Do you think you just need some stronger wire? Is the basic structure sound? Sometimes people build their structures to be sturdier. Other people like to put up electric wire, especially if they have a big pen that would be expensive to buy stronger fencing for.
     

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