feather challenged

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KimsChiks, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. KimsChiks

    KimsChiks New Egg

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    Jan 3, 2009
    We have 11 chickens - all about 8-10 weeks now. They were a combination of chickens when all 24 were purchased as newly hatched chicks - some intended as layers and some as meat. The meat chickens did not do well (too inbred?) and exhibited various symptoms (trouble breathing (like gulping for air), too little feathers...). There are just three meat chickens remaining - the others died on their own. Needless to say, these three will not be for the pot as they truly seem to be survivors! Anyway, the problem is one of the meat chickens is very slow in developing all the feathers (even on it's head) so we separated her from the others when it seems like it was really struggling to hold on. We've got her in her own box in a warmer location until she can grow feathers and survive the cold temps out in the coop with the others.

    Read another post and started giving her canned cat food to help promote feather growth (fingers crossed). She seems to respond to our not too frequent visits to check on her - food water, etc. which makes me think she is lonely. Do chickens get lonely when they are by themselves? Is it worse for her to be by herself? How social are chickens?

    Thanks, KimsChiks
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Hi Kim and welcome to BYC.
    Chickens are very social animals. If she's going to be seperated for awhile, do you have another chicken that is pretty docile that you can keep with her?
     
  3. KimsChiks

    KimsChiks New Egg

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    Thank you for the response and your suggestion sounds like a good one, but I was told that by separating this one from the flock until she is stronger, she will have to re-establish herself when she is reintroduced (pecking order kind of thing)... by removing another as a companion, don't I also threaten that one's "place"?

    She's been separated now for about one week... hoping it will only be another week or so depending on her feather growth - she is acting much healthier already, grooming, chirping. Perhaps that is not really so long afterall? She has her basic needs met.... just thinking (obsessing) over her.

    Thanks! Kim
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    It's true that she (or they) will have to re-establish their place in the flock when you return them to it. Be sure to keep a watchful eye at that time for excessive bullying, though some fussing is to be expected. So long as they don't draw blood in their pecking order issues, IMO it's best to let them sort it out.
    You could also offer her a stuffed animal, a hand mirror or (don't laugh) a clean feather duster for company.
    Other than the cat food, other good sources of protein for feather re-growth - black oil sunflower seeds, plain yogurt and scrambled or hard boiled eggs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  5. KimsChiks

    KimsChiks New Egg

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    GREAT ideas... going to pick up a feather duster and small mirror on my next trip to the store. I spent some time talking to her this morning - she was pecking at my ring. Also going to try the yogurt and eggs for protein (makes sense - that's what we eat for protein [​IMG], doesn't look like she is taking to the cat food.

    Thank you, thank you very much [​IMG]

    BTW, We will watch for bullying when we put her back with the others, but what if there IS bullying?
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:As long as the bullying is mild - a peck here, a little chase there - then IMO it's best to let them sort it all out. They have to go thru it and human interference can only delay the process. Make sure that she is allowed to eat and drink without the others keeping her from it.
    Good luck to you!
     

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