Could a medicated feed have caused all this?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gritsar, May 16, 2011.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    While we were gone on vacation last month my chickens had to suffer through some pretty poor caretaking, my poor brahmas especially (I guess because their coop is further from the house [​IMG] ).

    When we came home I found several of the girls in full molt, though it wasn't time for a molt, all of them looking in rough shape, dirty bottoms and a total loss of egg production.

    The first piece of the puzzle I put together is that their caretaker had turned a light on them - my guess is to do a chore late at night - and left it on 24/7 until it burned out. I don't use lights on my birds AT ALL. There's only electricity out to the coops in case I have to go out there in an emergency at night. So I see that, I'm right away thinking forced molt.

    Next I find out that someone walked right by the 250 lbs. of fresh, appropriate feed for the birds to use an opened bag of medicated fed that had been purchased by mistake, but we didn't have time to dispose of safely before we left on vacation. It was a gamebird starter, medicated with (I think) bicatracin. I had put a big red "X" on the bag, written DO NOT FEED on it, told the caretaker (my SD) not to feed it under any circumstances, but still... [​IMG]

    I didn't give the gamebird feed much thought, since the girls weren't laying by the time we got home I wasn't worried about anyone eating "medicated eggs" until... now all of a sudden the girls production is picking back up again; even though two of them are still molting.

    Now I have to wonder what troubled them - the light/no light situation or a medicated feed?

  2. WallTenters

    WallTenters Songster

    Feb 16, 2010
    Sweet Home, OR
    I would think the feed - gamebird feed should have way more protein than regular chook food, that would for sure bring on a molt (protein = new feather growth = old feathers move on out)
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    A light left on at night inside there house will cause them to stay awake and if left on continuously will stress them to the point of picking/pecking at each other and may trigger a molt. They probably didnt get much sleep at all if that light was left on all that time. Like you, I never use lights on my chickens. The gamebird feed may help in feather regrowth because of the high protein content, I've used it for that purpose during molts. However, mine was medicated like yours, if I saw an increase in cecal poop, I stopped and went back to 16% regular layer crumbles.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Okay, so before I made the gamebird feed connection I was thinking of worming them. I thought okay, they are in a molt anyhow might as well go ahead and worm. It might clear up their dirty bottoms in the process. I've never had a problem with dirty bottoms in my brahmas before. Two of my hens in my other flock yes and worming has corrected that, but never with my brahmas.

    Now production is going back up - 4 eggs from the 12, three year old hens today when I haven't had a single egg in a week. I hate seeing all the dirty bottoms! [​IMG] Should I worm and follow up with some yogurt or maybe just try yogurt instead, to try and get their guts back on the right track?

    The birds, both flocks, are on a flockraiser type feed that is only 18% protein as their main feed but the free range so eat lots of bugs, rodents, what have you. Also, their morning "scratch"is called Black Rooster. It is actually a gamebird conditioner that is either 26 or 28% protein (can't remember which right now). Plus, scrambled eggs once a week. So you can see they are not lacking for protein.
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    If you havnt wormed them in the last 9-12 months, I'd worm them. You can also trim their feathers/fluff with scissors on their rear to help prevent dirty bottoms. Yeah, you ARE giving them alot of protein. I never give mine extra protein except during hard molts...during mini molts, they get regular feed. I figure that the 16%-18% layer feed has all the minerals and nutrients that they need...after all, the manufacturers have spent millions testing the right mixtures/balances to maximize egg production. Anything less they would lose customers, business/profits. I give mine a cupful of scratch every other day as a treat, they love that lol. If what you have been feeding them works best for both you and your chickens, by all means...carry on.[​IMG]
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You free range them so they may not normally be getting as much protein as you think, though maybe during their special care, they were free ranging a lot less. I'm not a proponent of stuffing extra protein down their throats, but many people do it.

    I don't know why extra protein would trigger a molt. I'd suspect the special care they got while you were away. The light thing could have caused it. Maybe a big change to their routine. One I think may be a big possibility, Did they run out of water? That is a big stress inducer.

    As far as worming them during a molt. One of the wormers can cause the feathers to grow back funny. I can't remember which one it is and am too lazy this morning to do a search to find out. The wormer should have a warning on the label about that, but maybe not.

    If you don't mind yours looking ike they had a perm, it is not a big deal. But some people would get upset about that.
  7. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

    Oct 8, 2009
    I have heard that by not feeding the chickens will it send them into a molt could they have not gotten feed as much or a lot less this would have brought on the molt. I would wait until their molt is over to worm them. I do up their protein to 22% while they free range and I noticed that their feathers came in super fast and really pretty this molt. So I know the extra protein helped with the molt. Good luck and I am sorry you are having this problem with your chickens.

  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I would think it is the lighting. Continuous light stressed them out, then you say the bulb blew out, so they were in continuous darkness. I think that would be enough stress (add to it the inability to find water in the dark) to put them in a molt.
  9. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    The feed with bacitracin could have caused the diarrhea, thus the dirty bottoms and possibly all the stress caused the molt.
  10. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    Better count your lucky stars. One year I was gone for two weeks and the caretaker didn't bother to shut the "Pop" door at night, I lost a chicken a night for every night I was gone-----Raccoons. And then, when I got home and started closing the door, the raccoons were so use to their nightly meal, they tore open the ventilation under the eaves and pulled out a chicken thru that 3 1/2" space. I had to do some reinforcements and trapping after that.

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