Chickens are looking thin? Plus one losing feathers.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rachelwillow, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. rachelwillow

    rachelwillow Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2013
    I have five girls (a barred rock, brahma, speckled sussex, sex-link, and wyandotte). They are about 10 months old. They are huge birds but in the past week it looks like they are getting smaller. It's strange, I feel like my eyes may be deceiving me but every time I look at them they really look a little thinner. I've never weighed them so I can't check. The sussex is also losing feathers around her neck. She is definitely at the bottom of the pecking order and I've seen her get pecked several times but she now has a considerable bare patch encircling her neck. They eat a very nice layer mash, whenever they want, and since it has started getting cold at night (past few weeks) we've been giving them a cup or two of three grain scratch in the evening. I think it's corn, triticale, and wheat. They free-range in the yard for at least two hours, usually more, each day, so they are eating plenty of grass and bugs and dirt. I also have baked, crushed eggshell, oyster shell, and grit in their pen free choice. They get a bowl of kitchen scraps each morning as well. Their laying has slowed down some, I get 1 to 3 eggs a day which seems fair since we have fewer daylight hours, I'm not lighting their coop at all. Any ideas? I really hope they aren't sick! They seem pretty normal other than looking small.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  2. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 9, 2009
    Two things come to mind...

    Are they bored? I know they have freedom during daylight hours but they may be pecking at each other.... as if enclosed for a long period of time they may need something to amuse them... i.e a cabbage head... will give them plenty of entertainment if hung in their coop.

    Are they beginning their moult? In the Autumn/ Winter months it is natural for chickens to moult, extra protein is good for any moulting chickens

    Just some things to consider

    Taking into account that you de-worm them and treat for lice/mite infestations......l
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Supplement water with vitamin and probiotic soluble powder daily. Offering low salt tuna or moistening feed with buttermilk helps during moult since both are easily digestible proteins. A bit of scratch is alright in the afternoon, but depending on what you mean by "kitchen scraps", I'd back off on that or at least be careful not to give them anything spoiled, or allowed to get rancid and attract flies. Flies are vectors for botulism and tape worms. During the end of egg laying season, the fat stores are spent, so supporting fat stores are equally important to protein and vitamin supplementation with the onset of cold weather.

    If you haven't wormed, that is something to pay attention to. Watch for any new cecal droppings, and look closely in bright light to see if you notice any worms. Some worms are visible and others are not. if you notice worms, I'd use Valbazen suspension at 1/2 cc oral dose for LF breeds and 1/4 cc for bantams. Dose again 10 days later.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013

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