Emaciated Hen

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


12 Years
Feb 11, 2007
Bellingham, WA
Hi everyone,

I have a 1-year old wyandotte hen, she grew to a normal adult size just like all of her brothers and seemed perfectly healthy until this last winter. When it was really cold out I noticed she seemed to be "huddling" (puffed up with head in) more than the others. But other than that her behavior was perfectly normal so I didn't think much of it.

When spring came and the other hens started laying, she didn't, and her face & comb stayed pale. I still didn't think much of it. She wouldn't be the first unthrifty hen I've had, and her behavior was otherwise completely normal -- eating, drinking, active, scratching & pecking in the yard with all the others. Not "huddling" any more either since the weather had warmed up.

The other night I had to move her to a different coop. When I picked her up I was shocked -- all her poofy feathers made her look huge, but she weighed almost nothing -- she's just feathers, skin & bones! Literally! I mean, she is SHOCKINGLY thin. To be honest I'm surprised she's still alive. No wonder she acted colder than the others during the winter!

I thought maybe she had worms so I picked up my other chickens (one at a time all 80 of them!) to see if there were other skinny birds -- nope. Looked for signs of worms in their droppings too, didn't see a thing.

Any ideas? I'm stumped and I feel bad for this poor hen!
Hi, just is just guessing but maybe she's anemic, with pale comb and wattles makes me think of that right off. Have you checked for mites/lice? they will make them anemic. Also even though the others appear to be in good weight doesn't mean they all can't have worms, from what i understand if they peck the ground and dig in the ground eat earth worms and other various bugs they can have worms. you might want to start feeding her food besides her feed to help build her blood up. Good quality canned cat food, liver , egg yolk anything in the catagory that will be a blood booster. also this could even be heart realted with the pale comb and wattles, but try getting some weight on her and maybe worming and see if that helps.

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