Flock is having problems.

Kes

Chirping
Aug 9, 2017
58
78
71
My chickens have had a rough Summer and Fall.

I live in PA, where, for the majority of the Summer, we had rain 5 days out of the week, every week, on top of our typical hot and humid conditions. I believe it sent one if them into an early molt. Three of them also went broody even though they're not particularly broody breeds (EE and Leghorn). I couldn't break them of it until those girls also began to molt.
The rain caused the absolute worst mosquito population I've ever experienced and many of my birds ended up with fowlpox (the dry kind).
Half of them are molting now and to top it off, a dog broke into the run a couple weeks ago and killed two of my girls. : /

Out of my 12 birds, only three of them are laying.
For the ones that are still molting, I understand that it might be a little while longer before they start up again. However, I have some concerns about a few of them regardless- in particular my Dorking.

She stopped laying for a week or so this Summer. I got one big egg from her after a while and then nothing since. This was around the time that some of my birds started to go broody and then fowlpox struck not too long after, so at first I thought her behavior might be part of that but she never displayed any signs of broodiness, pox or molting. Recently, I've started to notice that she's become extremely underweight (hard to tell since her feathers make her look big) and she's had diarrhea for a while. She also has some sort of vision problem- she lacks depth perception and can't target things like bugs.
I'd say she's fourth from the bottom of the pecking order, so I've started bringing her inside at night to make sure she's getting access to food, in case the others are chasing her away. This week I'm going to set up a separate feeder as well, but I'm just wondering if anyone has any ideas or can recommend something to maybe help a few of them put some weight on.
My treats for them (in the evening, after they've had access to food all day) have consisted of cracked corn, mealworms, sunflower chips and unhulled oats. Recently I've been trying to boost their protein a bit with some eggs and canned salmon (no added salt).

We don't really have vets around that know about chickens so I'm kind of at a loss.
They haven't been dewormed but I haven't seen any evidence of worms either and didn't want to put them through the stress of that on top of everything else if it's just a needless precaution.

edit: I also forgot to mention that my Dorking had a bumblefoot scare earlier this year. I took care of it and there's nothing that looks worrisome about her feet now but maybe it's worth mentioning.
 
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sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
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I live the other side of the river, and it has been an overly rainy year for sure. It sounds as if your husbandry practices are fine. Problems with most of your flock will resolve once they get over the stress of fowl pox, molt, dog attack. How old is the Dorking ? Weight loss is very likely a result of her vision problem. Providing feed in a consistent location in a deep container that she can access may help her with eating. Moistened feed and protein supplementation may also help. Good luck for a resolution.
 

Kes

Chirping
Aug 9, 2017
58
78
71
Problems with most of your flock will resolve once they get over the stress of fowl pox, molt, dog attack. How old is the Dorking ? Weight loss is very likely a result of her vision problem. Providing feed in a consistent location in a deep container that she can access may help her with eating. Moistened feed and protein supplementation may also help. Good luck for a resolution.


Thanks for the reply. :)
She was hatched in March and has been a pretty healthy bird until suddenly no eggs and weight loss.
Sorry if this is a dumb question, but is there anything I should moisten the feed with other than water?
I've been putting some electrolytes in their water since the dog attack, but it's time to stop. They hate it anyway.
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
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When I make mash with feed I just use water. You can add in some probiotic powder (like pro bios) a couple times a week, may help, certainly won't hurt.
Even though your vet does not do birds, ask if they will do a fecal float test for you, it's the same test for all species. That would rule parasites out (or in) as a factor. Only two worms generally will be visible in droppings, round worm or tape worm, and most of the time those are not visible either, the test looks for the eggs which are microscopic. You can also do a mail in test: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=1R51TSY3Q7WW642KYHPG
Electrolytes can be helpful and life saving in some circumstances, but not good for long term use, too much sodium can cause problems. When you use them you should only leave out for 4 to 6 hours and then switch to plain fresh water.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
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When you say she had a "bumblefoot scare" earlier this year, what do you mean? Was she lame? Did she actually have a bumblefoot infection which you dug out? The reason I ask is that the depth perception and muscle wastage can be symptoms of Marek's disease and if she was lame a few months ago with no obvious bumblefoot infection that resolved without intervention then that would increase the likelihood that it is Marek's. She is also at the most vulnerable age for it to strike.
 

Kes

Chirping
Aug 9, 2017
58
78
71
Electrolytes can be helpful and life saving in some circumstances, but not good for long term use, too much sodium can cause problems. When you use them you should only leave out for 4 to 6 hours and then switch to plain fresh water.

Thank you, the instructions I was given before about electrolytes was pretty different from that, so I appreciate the info. I asked my vet once before about stool samples from chickens. I think they have yet to catch on as pets in this area, so they found it a little bizarre, but I'll ask again.

When you say she had a "bumblefoot scare" earlier this year, what do you mean? Was she lame? Did she actually have a bumblefoot infection which you dug out? The reason I ask is that the depth perception and muscle wastage can be symptoms of Marek's disease and if she was lame a few months ago with no obvious bumblefoot infection that resolved without intervention then that would increase the likelihood that it is Marek's. She is also at the most vulnerable age for it to strike.

I wouldn't say she was lame, exactly. I saw her sitting in the run the one day while the others were running around and it caught my attention. However, it was usually where they dustbathe so she could have just been working up to that. It cause me to examine her feet anyway and she had one small plug with some swelling under it and one very tiny plug that didn't seem bad at all. I removed them both and treated her and her feet have been fine since then. She has a different personality from some of my others but she's not lethargic.
I think she's always had some issue with her depth perception. I noticed it when they were younger and I'd coax them into eating out of my hands a lot but I didn't realize how bad it was until I watched her trying to catch bugs the one day. She missed no matter how many times she tried.

I know it's not a guarantee, but most of my flock has been vaccinated against Marek's, including her.

I was going to give her a bath this week since her poop has messed up the feathers around her vent, is there anything specific I should look for or that I can take pictures of?
 
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llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
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Illinois
Thanks for the reply. :)
She was hatched in March and has been a pretty healthy bird until suddenly no eggs and weight loss.
Sorry if this is a dumb question, but is there anything I should moisten the feed with other than water?
I've been putting some electrolytes in their water since the dog attack, but it's time to stop. They hate it anyway.

I ferment feed and I add garlic and Spirulina. I will occasionally add some electrolytes and probiotic powder in there.
 

Newchikntown

Chirping
Nov 7, 2016
14
5
55
S.E. Oklahoma
What do/did you treat the fowl pox with? I have used 'iodine' on my hens and I have searched the I-net like crazy for something I can vaccinate my chicks with, to no avail. Most of my hens already have it so I probably won't be able to keep the chicks clear of it, but gotta try.
Thanks!
 

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