Chicken dislikes eating regular chicken feed (losing major weight)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Razz Gavin, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Razz Gavin

    Razz Gavin Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2012
    There is a whole story along with this issue that could possibly be an influence to her current attitude towards her chicken food

    I have a 2 year old brown leghorn hen who has just been full of problems. From when she was a chick to when she was a year old, her health was no different than any of the other chickens she was with, but then everything about her started to go downhill. One day when I went out to check on her she was limping, I thought she'd heal in no time, but the other chickens would pick on her and it became impossible for her to walk without falling down. She became antisocial and spent all of her time hiding in the coop away from the other birds, so I took her from the flock and began giving her extra personal care and she recovered enough that she walks pretty well now. I've been taking care of her for a few months this way and now her only leg issue is having scaly leg mites that need treatment. An extra strange thing about her is that she's never laid an egg in her life.

    I'm not sure when exactly, but around the time when her leg was injured she began to lose major weight. I thought she'd gain it back once I got her away from the other chickens, but she never did. I don't have a weight scale to measure her but there have been times when I have picked her up and she weighed no more than a feather. Now she feels like she weighs no more than two pounds. She's a very bright bird and acts like there's nothing wrong but I'm extremely worried about her weight. She eats her food when she's really hungry, but she eats no more than the bear minimum that she needs. I noticed just recently that at times when I offer her chicken food she turns it down, but then two seconds later when I offer her bread, grapes, or some other food, she acts like a starved animal.

    With winter coming I'm worried she could freeze to death unless I continue to bring her into the garage every night.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    When a chicken is ill or stressed she can't lay. Laying eggs is something they can only do when they have the reserves required for what is a pretty energy intensive process.

    Did you ever find out why she was limping? Have you checked her feet for bumblefoot? The first thing that came to mind when I read your post was that she has a bumble (which is a staph infection of the foot) and that would explain the limp, the lack of laying and the slow loss of condition.

    The best thing for her, obviously, is to be eating a well-balanced chicken feed. Have you tried turning it into a mash by adding a little water? I've found that mine will devour a mash even when they have just filled up at the feeder. I save any "juices" I drain from cans of peas, beans, corn etc., and use those to make an even more delicious mash. It may be that she is holding off eating the chicken feed in the hopes you will give her the other treats, like grapes etc. I would hold off on the other treats, and just leave her the chicken feed. I've never heard of a chicken starving itself to death so I think once she realizes that's all there is, she will eat it.
     
  3. Razz Gavin

    Razz Gavin Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2012
    She doesn't have any swelling or any sign of it being or having been bumble foot, she now only has scaly leg mites. As far as stress goes she doesn't act stressed at all. She's very bright and does all the things normal chickens do, except she still doesn't like any other chicken.

    She is pretty spoiled and I thought about how she might be holding off on chicken feed just so I would give her more treats, but I have only been giving her treats recently hoping it'd bring more weight on. Her bad eating habit has been going on for months without the treats. Thank you for the idea about turning her food into a mash though, I hadn't tried that before and I hope it'll work for her.
     

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