Comet is acting weird with a long molt. Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by blackbeauty, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. blackbeauty

    blackbeauty In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2010
    Central Ohio
    Hey everybody! I have a gold comet hen that has been molting since September, she stands in the corner on one leg, with her eyes closed all of the time. We put her in a separate coop, and she still does the same thing. She hasn't lost any feathers, but hasn't gained any either. We have been giving her lots of protein. She also walks a little funny, but she can run fine. Anybody know what is happening to her? Any advice for what do to would also be greatly acknowledged! Thanks!
  2. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    blackbeauty - If you say your chicken has not lost any feathers, it may be that her symptoms are due to something other than molting. Please answer the questions below to give us a better idea of exactly what is going on with her. The more information people on this site have the better they will be able to figure out how to help your chicken. Also, posting this under the Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures topic might get you a quicker response.

    1) What type of bird , age and weight.
    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
  3. blackbeauty

    blackbeauty In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2010
    Central Ohio
    Sorry, my laptop wouldn't let the injuries/cures subject run, so I posted the problem here. My comet is around 20 months old, so this is her first year molting plus she started molting when the rest of my hens started molting. She is a Golden Comet, she is almost 2 years old (In May) and I think her weight is around 3 pounds. She behaves isolated and like she is cold all of the time even when it is 65 degrees out. She started acting this way around the end of October 2010. None of my other hens have ever been acting like this, they already finished molting. She is in perfectly good health except for her behavior and missing feathers. I have no idea what could've happened to her, she is near the top of the pecking order and has always (before this) been super nice and social to me. She has been eating Layena, normal water, and I have been giving her cat food, sardines, and yogurt for protein. Her poop looks normal, like the normal size a laying bird's should, but she is not laying. Our treatment has just been lots of protein food for her feathers. We just want to get her out with the other hens again, no vet, treat her ourselves. We normally keep our chicks in an old welping box that was for our dog when she had puppies. It is a perfect size for her, we have a heat lamp on her too to keep her warm through the winter.
  4. cobrien

    cobrien Songster

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    There is definitely something wrong with the chicken, but she has very generic symptoms that are impossible to diagnose without an expensive veterinary work up (xrays, blood work, stool samples, etc.). If you want to treat at home I would do the following:

    Keep her isolated and warm

    Take a poop sample to the vet if you can, it is not expensive and it's worth finding out if she has internal parasites - if she does you should worm her and the rest of your flock.

    Check regularly for external parasites - mites and lice, because sick birds get them more easily

    Her symptoms may be due to pain. To find out, I would try to give her a pain reliever. You can search BYC for information on giving aspirin, I have not done it but have read here that it can be done. If you can get your hands on prescription pain relievers, much better than aspirin are: Carprofen ("rimadyl") give 1/4 of a 25 mg tablet once or twice per day, or (this is an opiate and much stronger) Butorphanol give one 5 mg tablet up to 2 times per day. If she seems better after giving a pain reliever then you know she is in pain for some reason. I have seen this in my chickens who have had arthritis, internal laying, and cancer. One of my girls is disabled from an injury as a chick, she has chronic pain and she gets both a 1/4 tablet of carprofen AND a 5mg tablet of butorphanol every morning, it has extended her life for a few years so far.

    Metacam is another pain reliever that is good for birds, it is like carprofen but not quite as effective in chickens.

    To give my chicken a pill, i cut a grape into quarters and slide the pill into a 1/4 piece of grape. She gobbles it up. We've also used tiny pieces of cheese and bread. Works great. For aspirin I have read of people mixing it in with their drinking water.

    If none of the above give a clue as to what is wrong with her, you could consider an antibiotic but I'm not sure which one to suggest - you could get suggestions here. This is controversial because we don't want to give antibiotics when there is no bacterial infection, which is hard to determine without more specific symptoms or a trip to the vet.

    Of course many would cull a chicken at the first sign of something wrong to protect the rest of their flock. My chickens are pets so I take them to the vet when they are sick, which is how I learned what the common treatments are for sick chickens (I'm also a former vet tech). I've paid lots of $$ for veterinary work ups and the treatment in the end is almost always the same - keep warm and isolated, check for parasites, give pain killers, antibiotics, and injections of fluids under the skin if they are dehydrated (I now do this at home too). Good luck, I hope your girl gets better.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  5. blackbeauty

    blackbeauty In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2010
    Central Ohio
    Wow, thanks! We do want to treat them from home. We have had her with a heat lamp for a while in our barn in a big wood box.
  6. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    removed by PepsNick, apologies and good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011

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