Faded comb, no more eggs, losing feathers on head. What is up with my girl?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LoveOrpingtons, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. LoveOrpingtons

    LoveOrpingtons Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2012
    We have 3 Buff Orpington ladies, almost 8 months old (Matilda, Scarlett and Ginger). Two started laying steadily 2 months ago. Ginger has not started yet, but she is not my concern. Scarlett, who started laying first and was the most beautiful of our girls with a huge floppy comb, suddenly stopped laying about a month ago, right about the time our nights started to get cold. Her previously beautiful huge, red comb seems faded and has shrunk to a more short spike like Gingers, our non-layer. The feathers around her face seem to be sparse (short and sharp is how I would now describe them).
    I have been told everything from she is just having stress because of our weather being kind of wierd; cold at night and unseasonably warm in the day (we live in Utah), to a possible early mini molt (she is losing some feathers, but not profusely), and I was told it could be mites (so, I dusted all 3 birds last night). Our other layer is laying every day and she NOW has the biggest, reddest comb of the 3, if that matters.
    Scarlett acts fine other than not laying and her appearance change.
    Any ideas or suggestions is greatly appreciated as we are worried about our red headed girl. We are new to the backyard chicken world and learning as we grow.
    p.s. They all have a nice insulated coop to stay in at night and are loving having the free range of our entire back yard for a little over a month now, also.
    Sally - LoveOrpingtons
     
  2. Angelpoo

    Angelpoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2012
    hey... you will love having these little girls. Love the names :). All our chickens are named and at one time we had about 40 birds the kids named. I have 5 at home, just pets, not using them for the eggs, but the eggs are sure a bonus. Molting takes time its not llike one day they go full out. the little "Prickle spikey feathers" on her head...well when a chicken molts the feathers fall out like a tooth being pushed out by a new one. the stem of the feathers are hard like plastic right? well its like a butterfly in a cacoon the stem is there first and then the feather slowly comes out getting longer and longer to fit the right size. so the "little pokeys" are probably new feathers. As for the comb, chickens combs get lighter and look dry and floppy when they are dehydrated. Makes sence. Also when they are molting they stop laying. So my guess is that she is molting. Some of my chickens molt for a week and a bit... others take about a month... Right now its "cold season" so i always stalk up on electrolytes. You can buy these from your local feed store and jut put a small amount in their water. This will just help boost their immune system.

    hope this helps. pls reply once you figure things out... i would love to know how they are doing in a bit.

    Sincerely,
    BeautifulJade[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]:jumpy
     
  3. LoveOrpingtons

    LoveOrpingtons Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2012
    Angelpoo,
    Your nice reply made my day! Thank you so much for all the time you put into your instruction for me. Yes, you described Scarlett's feathers perfectly. And our chickens are pets first and egg layers second, also.
    I am putting Vi-tal in the girls' water right now for the electrolytes. I was told at the feed store to do a dose of 12 days on and 7 days off. Do you agree with that or do you just add to the water throughout the cold season?
    I am patient and just was worried that she might be sick or there was something I should have been doing, etc.
    I will update you as I see changes or improvements. Thanks so much for your friendly advice. My girls and I thank you. [​IMG]
    Sally
     
  4. Angelpoo

    Angelpoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2012
    It's kind if like us taking vitamins... I can't ever remember everyday... I just add it every now and then to give them a boost. Wouldn't recommend having them on it the whole time though :)
     
  5. LoveOrpingtons

    LoveOrpingtons Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2012
    Good to know. That's how I'll approach it. Thanks again! [​IMG]
     

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