Chicken suddenly being picked on - sick? Please help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by britamarian, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. britamarian

    britamarian New Egg

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    Aug 18, 2013
    We have a mixed breed of seven different hens and up until last week, they all seemed to get along quite well. However, lately one of our lacey wyandottes seems to be having a tough time. The other chickens, particularly our one other wyandotte, have begun picking on her, pecking her so much that she's beginning to lose a significant amount of feathers from her neck (see the back of her neck in the photos below). Her comb has also taken on a slightly whitish/pink hue, rather than the typical deep red color she usually sports. Her diet has consisted of lots of laying feed plus some cracked corn, due to the low temperatures lately. She hasn't been eating very much, but I've isolated her for now with her own food and water - in addition to a heat lamp. Here are some pictures...any suggestions as to what else I should do?

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  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    First, stop the cracked corn. It is a myth that it keeps them any warmer than any other food, and because it is a low protein , non fortified food, it decreases the amount of valuable nutrition they get. If you do give them any, keep the amounts very small, as a treat only.

    There could be any number of things wrong. You don't mention their age, whether you worm your girls or check for lice/mites. She could have an internal problem such as eggbound or internal layer.
     
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    How old is she? Are you sure that the other birds are causing the feather loss, not molting? A molting bird will stop laying, often not act quite normal, lose feathers (often starting with the neck/head), and will develop a paler comb.

    There are many other possiblities as to what is wrong with her. I'd check for lice and mites, as they can cause feather loss. Has she been wormed lately? Worms can cause a chicken to act different than usual, and can cause a pale comb.

    Has she been laying? Is her abodmen hard? She could be egg bound, though I would expect to see more symptoms (like a droopy tail).
     
  4. britamarian

    britamarian New Egg

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    Aug 18, 2013
    Ah, okay she is 7 months old and I have seen one, sometimes two of the other hens aggressively peck at her neck, pulling feathers as they do. They corner her and snap at her any time she comes near them. We have not wormed any of them yet - this is our first run at having chickens, so we are learning as we go (advice on worming is more than appreciated!). Any sign of having worms? I see no signs of lice or mites and her abdomen is not hard - but she has not been laying.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
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    It looks like there is something wrong; the flock will often pick on one if she is sick, and not eating much may be because she doesn't feel well enough. It may also be that she is being kept away from food and drink. Perhaps the first thing to do is see how well she eats when separated. Perhaps she is simply the lowest one in the pecking order and suffering for it.

    7 months is maybe a little young to worm; I think most people wait til they are a year old. But if you live where things are relatively warm and moist, as I do, you may want to. I worm once ayear though others who live in this kind of area worm more often. I know for a fact worms are prevalent where I live. If or when you worm, I would worm with Valbazen or Wormout. I'll give you links about them, too. You can also get a fecal test done on the poop -- many vets will do this for $20 or so, even if they don't see chickens; it's not a complicated test.

    It's pretty well a truism that all chickens get some lice/mites, so one thing I would do is treat for that. They are carried by wild birds and quite common. I'll give you some links to see how to see them or their eggs, and a thread that suggests several treatments. I'll just say, don't waste your time or money on DE for bugs, and the usual/standard treatment is 5% Sevin garden dust. Pat it on them with a homemade "powder puff" or put them in a grocery bag up to their neck and shake gently. Adams' flea and tick spray for dogs (permethrins and pyrethrin) or a similar product, "poultry spray" in the feed store, also works well, and is handy for places you need to spray. Don't skip the underside of the roost. Treat all the birds, remove the litter, spray the coop and put new litter in. Repeat the whole process in 10 days.

    Worms can damage the inside of their gut, and make them prone to other problems such as intestinal infection. Lice/mites can suck so much blood they make them sick. They can actually die of either if the infestation is severe enough.

    These aren't necessarily what is wrong, just things that many chickens get, and general info for you. Also, when you think a chicken is sick and don't know what it is, they are two things you can treat for, if only to rule them out.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-i-wait-after-using-wazine/0_20#post_12410869

    http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/818674/are-these-some-kind-of-egg-clusters/0_20#post_11897957
     
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