Diarrhea, feather loss, not laying

emcgowy

Chirping
Jun 26, 2018
12
13
54
Massachusetts
I would love advice please!! I have 4 chickens all a little over a year old. They have lots of space (chicken math is on point) and no new changes to diet etc. One of my chickens - our Americauna I've noticed has not laid in the past week and her amount of laying has decreased over the past 2 months. She went from about 1 egg every 2-3 days to 1-2/week. Otherwise was acting fine. Over the past few days I've noticed she has lost a lot of feathers. They have been pulled from around her vent and there are just barbs around her shoulders - also some loss around her face. She has not laid in a week. I had her out today with the other ladies and she defecated pure liquid. I am seeing most of the feathers inside their coop. Outside today she seemed much herself and I did not see any obvious violence between the ladies. She was eating well and seemed excited.

So far I have given her some yogurt, some pumpkin seeds, and added apple cider vinegar to her water.

I'm going to closely monitor her and am thinking of pulling her away from the girls for a few days but I'm worried that might stress her more.

I would love any other thoughts!!! I am going to get her in to see a vet but of course its labor day weekend and my only option is to take her to Tufts through the emergency service and I'd rather wait until I can get her in to see the exotics team directly. Since she is eating and drinking well I don't think its a super urgent scenario but any thoughts on management strategies or at home remedies I would super appreciate!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,281
28,217
1,077
St. Louis, MO
It sounds perfectly normal to me.
A chicken over a year old in August is experiencing their second post-equinox when most breeds have their first hard adult molt.
When chickens molt, it is rare for them to lay eggs. Feathers are 93% protein and it is nearly impossible to grow a new winter coat and still kick out a 6 gram lump of protein every day.
Molting happens to most birds in their second autumn and each thereafter. Each year they'll take a longer fall/winter break. They usually resume after winter solstice as daily light period increases vs. dark period.
Further, it is over 2 months after summer solstice. Day length is now nearly 3 hours shorter where you live than it was on June 21. That is the signal for most animals to stop producing.
I wouldn't change up her feeding regimen too much. The changes you've made already could possibly have contributed to the diarrhea.
Now that laying is slowing or stopped, I would stop layer feed and switch to a grower or all flock feed in the range of 18-20% protein. That will help regrow feathers and they won't need the extra calcium. You can offer oyster shell in a separate container for those birds still laying.
I wouldn't separate her from her friends.
 
Last edited:

emcgowy

Chirping
Jun 26, 2018
12
13
54
Massachusetts
Thank you so much for all the feedback! I was so panicked about my buddies. Sounds like she is doing exactly what her body needs to be doing. I'll pick up some all flock feed tomorrow.
 
Mar 22, 2018
57
33
81
West Newbury, MA
Has your chicken perked up? My 16 month old hen is going through the same thing, except I’m not noticing feather loss yet. Lots of watery poop. Did you find anything that helped?

I separated her to watch, withheld food for 2 days bc her crop was a bit doughy and gave her some oil and grit with yogurt to move things along- she pooped a bunch of undigested grass today, and her crop is pretty empty.

Wondering if my girl is starting her first molt and it’s a rough one as I’m in Massachusetts as well.
 

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