Chicken's abnormal behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Myriam, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. Myriam

    Myriam Out Of The Brooder

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    one of my chickens behaving normal during the day. When night time comes inside it's coop it starts making "scratching movements on its chest area. It'd walk backwards doing this until it topples over backwards. I took it out just now and there was no resistance at all, I could lay it on its side, checked the wings and between its feathers and couldn't see any reason why it'd scratch itself non stop. When I'd put it on the floor instead of being all defensive it would do that scratching again. It isn't strong at all. Is it time to let it go?
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey Myriam

    That is a weird one and something I have not experienced personally with my gals. However, I do have a couple of thoughts and conclusions I would jump to if it was one of my gals.

    If (s)he was fine during the day and only doing this at night when in the coop, I would be thinking lice or mites.

    When you took him/her out and put him/her on the ground with no resistance, is it dark out? Again, you can pretty much do what you like to my gals in darkness, they are not moving.

    When you mention isn’t strong at all, what if any other symptoms of being unwell is (s)he displaying or is this scratching behaviour the only one?
     
  3. Myriam

    Myriam Out Of The Brooder

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    During the day she's up and about. The moment she gets in for the night she starts that scratching thing and I took her out just now (after dark). She also doesn't sleep up on the roost anymore but would lay anywhere on the floor inside the coop. With not strong at all I meant that when I held her she showed no resistance, while usually their all panicky and alert I could turn her even up side down in my lap, check her wings, I checked in several spots on her skin for bugs but there was nothing. She totally forgets herself when she scratches so far that she'd fall out of her coop on the floor if I wouldn't hold her.. really off.
     
  4. Myriam

    Myriam Out Of The Brooder

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    during the day she doesn't seem unwell. I have to take a closer look tomorrow but I thought I did and was surprised how normal she seemed. This is the second night I've found her do that. She might've done it for longer and I didn't know about it.
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I think Teila has provided good advice. Disinfecting the coop and roosting poles (with a proprietary lice / mite killer) and treating all your flock for mites / lice is probably the best way forward.

    CT
     
  6. Myriam

    Myriam Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, will do. I have diatomaceous earth I can rub it in with and will clean their coop.

    Thank you two for the tips.
     
  7. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey there Myriam no problemo, I am not familiar with DE but have seen it mentioned numerous times .. I use a dusting powder specific for poultry lice and mites.

    I could be way off track but everything so far is leaning me towards mites and/or lice as previously suggested.

    Mites will live in the cracks and joins etc, coming out at night to feed on the chickens which would be a good reason for her not wanting to roost.

    Does she normally ‘resist’ during the day or at night time as well, if just during the day, I would say that her not resisting now is because it is nightime.

    One way to check for mites is to run a tissue over and under the roost during the night .. this will have given the mites chance to have a feed and by doing this you should see blood spots on the tissue where you have squashed them when they are full.

    The only other thing I can think of is that she might be getting some ant bites or something similar during the day when she is out and about and like with us sometimes, there is a delayed reaction to the itching process?

    How are your other chickens? No signs of similar activity, increased scratching etc.

    Another sign of lice or mites can be increased dust bathing in an attempt to rid themselves of them. While they all love a dust bath as a preventative, if it becomes obsessive, that is a good sign of a burden or infestation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  8. Myriam

    Myriam Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Teila,
    No problem, my first thought was mites/lice as well. Thats why I took her out and gave did a thorough check under the wings, neck chest where she scratched. The other chickens are perfectly fine. I just checked their roosts with a tissue and it came up clean. I have treated their entire run with DE about 2 months back just for prevention. I will monitor it closely and rub her in anyway and see if she gets better.
     

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