Chicken unsteady on her feet, losing feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by daneaston, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. daneaston

    daneaston New Egg

    Dec 2, 2016
    One of our chickens is about a year old and has been losing feathers for about a week or so now (they're all over the garden).

    Yesterday I noticed she was hiding under a bush. I coaxed her out and she was very unsteady on her feet - trouble walking and would fall over. As she goes to eat, she falls forward. She is also sleeping on the floor rather than roosting like she normally does.

    We've also noticed we're getting one less egg each day, but the symptoms don't seem to mean she's egg bound.

    Today she's the same. Anyone have any ideas?
  2. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    My chickens aren't old enough so I don't have experience with this yet, but at that age losing feathers and hiding and seeming generally unwell could mean moulting. I don't know about the weakness though. If she's hiding most of the day and avoiding the other chickens, she might not be getting enough to eat, you could try seperating her into a smaller area with her own food and water and see if she improves. You can also add some poultry vitamins to her water to give her a boost.

    The only other experience I have is with coccidiosis, where my chickens got very weak and stopped eating properly. If you notice that her poop is red you can treat her for that too.

    I hope this helps you. I'm sure someone will come along with some better advice soon.

    ETA: If she is moulting, that will also explain why she isn't laying at the moment.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  3. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    If it's a molt you will usually see lots of pin feathers coming in in the bare area's. And they will often stop laying during a molt.
    However illness can cause feather loss also. If she's hiding I would also be concerned that she may have been attacked.
    Could be another bird bullying her or could be the flock if she is indeed unwell. They will often attack a sick bird.
    I would separate her, check her over for injury/wounds, and spend some time observing. Is she eating/drinking well, are her droppings normal, is she laying or not, does her crop empty completely (check in the AM before she eats anything), any signs of respiratory issues?
    Also, add some probiotics and electrolites to her water while you are assessing and looking for other symptoms.
  4. whychickens2

    whychickens2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2016
    Check for mites/lice. Mine just went through that i lifted her tail and she was loaded with northern mites. She lost feathers and was super weak.

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