HELP! Extreme feather loss, lethargic, being picked on, losing weight hen. HELP

dcberger

In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 9, 2011
17
0
22
Relatively new chicken owner here, with a small flock of 3 hens (White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red and Easter Egger) which are all 2 years old. The problem we are having with the Leghorn is so lengthy I hardly know where to begin, but here goes. Until this time, our chickens were relatively easy to care for, had no pecking order to speak of, eat Layena crumbles, are given vitamins in their water, grit, oyster shells and only occasional treats. Around 2 months ago, we noticed the Leghorn's vent area completely bare of feathers, and her egg production was really slow (until this time, she was a daily layer). Without thinking too much about that, a couple of weeks passed, still no eggs from her, still bare rumped and then about a month ago, we noticed the 2 other hens picking on her, constantly keeping her away from food, the door to the chicken yard, etc. She was losing weight, too. We separated them by making a temporary coop/run for the 2 bullies, and left the Leghorn alone in the permanent coop and run to hopefully de-stress her, bring her back to health and assess what needed to be done. We wormed all 3 hens with Wazine, then 2 weeks later, Zimectrin Gold. We sprinkled the coop and the birds with dusting powder in case there were any mites/lice (we live in Michigan and I am wondering if mites and lice even exist during the cold months in the north?) and we also started using DE throughout the coop, and in the feed. We increased the protein intake by giving them plain yogurt, hard boiled eggs and shells, and a protein treat from TSC. The Rhode Island Red and Easter Egger look wonderful, but the Leghorn is still thin, uninterested in pecking around in the chicken pen, still bare in the vent area and now we notice an extreme amount of feathers in the coop and in the run where only she has access to. She has never lost feathers like this! She is interested in the food we give her on the side for extra protein and an occasional treat, so I know she is eating, but she still seems thin. We have looked her over for sores on her legs , mites, lice, and we cannot see anything out of the ordinary, but still she just isn't herself. Thin, unsocial, uninterested in pecking around, extreme feather loss, and no egg laying. We would like to re-introduce the other 2 hens back into the coop and get rid of their make-shift living area, but I am afraid they will go back to picking on her. At this point I just do not know what to look for. We have wormed her, added protein, treated for lice or mites, give her vitamins in her water, and removed the bullies who were stressing her out. Are there ANY suggestions as to what we can do at this point? HELP!
 
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Haunted55

Songster
7 Years
Feb 15, 2012
2,818
265
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Central Maine
Something i was told a while back to stop picking is give them a fish based canned cat food. No chicken, no beef. It's got something to do with the salt. Sounds crazy, but it works. As for the rest of it, I don't know....can you do pictures?

My birds haven't had their dusting box all winter and I can tell you that yes, they can get mites where it's cold. I haven't found any on them, but I too have birds that are showing signs as if they have mites or lice. I've dusted and cleaned same as you, so now just have to wait for their feathers to come back. This is something new to me, I have never had them before Jan. of this year. Could have done without them too, lol.

Is it possible to try a different brand of feed for them? I've had some issues with the feed I've been getting and I finally switched to Blue Seal and have had less trouble. They were getting Layena Omega 3. This is a stretch but sometimes the simplest things are the answer. As for the DE inside? I don't think it works, you'd do better with an ACV solution. 1 tbls. ACV per gallon of water.

Last thing, have you checked her for egg binding?
 

dcberger

In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 9, 2011
17
0
22
What exactly is ACV? Sorry for my ignorance. I planned on dusting her with more powder this afternoon, and I was wondering, how often is too often for a topical insecticide? As far as the egg binding, since she hasn't laid in many weeks now, way after the signs of her losing weight, missing vent feathers and being picked on. I thought bound eggs could cause death in days (?) and in her case, she has shown these symptoms for so long now.

The fish based canned cat food, is that supposed to be fed to the 2 bullies, or the one being picked on? Thanks in advance~
 

dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 27, 2008
27,738
14,078
906
Glen St Mary, Florida
Is your Leghorn in molt? When Leghorns lose their feathers during molt, they look awful thin without feathers, pretty much like other birds as well. This would account for her not laying eggs, not acting like a chicken should etc....
Extra protein would be in order if it's molt, preferably gamebird feed rather than canned catfood which is too high in salt...not good for chickens.
 

dcberger

In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 9, 2011
17
0
22
I am not sure if she is in molt or not... I always thought the molting period was only a few weeks or so, and she hasn't been herself for about 2 months now. Until just a few days ago, her feathers were normal all except her vent area which has been bare for 2 months. I added more protein to her diet several weeks ago, in the eway of dry cat food, hard boiled eggs and egg shells and plain yogurt. Just in the last few days, her feathers are coming out everywhere at a fast rate. So if she is in molt, she still apparently has other issues that proceeded it.
 
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Haunted55

Songster
7 Years
Feb 15, 2012
2,818
265
218
Central Maine
What exactly is ACV? Sorry for my ignorance. I planned on dusting her with more powder this afternoon, and I was wondering, how often is too often for a topical insecticide? As far as the egg binding, since she hasn't laid in many weeks now, way after the signs of her losing weight, missing vent feathers and being picked on. I thought bound eggs could cause death in days (?) and in her case, she has shown these symptoms for so long now.

The fish based canned cat food, is that supposed to be fed to the 2 bullies, or the one being picked on? Thanks in advance~
A 1/2 can is given to all, a second one if it doesn't stop.
 

Haunted55

Songster
7 Years
Feb 15, 2012
2,818
265
218
Central Maine
Is your Leghorn in molt? When Leghorns lose their feathers during molt, they look awful thin without feathers, pretty much like other birds as well. This would account for her not laying eggs, not acting like a chicken should etc....
Extra protein would be in order if it's molt, preferably gamebird feed rather than canned catfood which is too high in salt...not good for chickens.
I thought this as well Dawg. The cat food is a limited offering and for whatever reason it works. Experience talking, 2 cans of canned food per 22 birds and it stopped in two days and has not returned. That was 6 months ago.
 

dawg53

Humble
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 27, 2008
27,738
14,078
906
Glen St Mary, Florida
Quote: Also too much protein will cause gout. Experience talking.
wink.png
 
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dcberger

In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 9, 2011
17
0
22
I'll skip the cat food as I would hate to cause any more health issues. She seems to be doing a little better the last few days. Pecking around the yard more and her feather loss is slowing down. How long does a typical molt period last? I am still pretty sure she had some other health issues, too, since for 2 months now she has been on a spiral of weight loss, lethargy, being picked on, bare rump, no egg laying and more. Also, would it hurt to do another round of Zimectrin Gold rather than waiting another 6 months? Not even sure worms are/were the problem, but when I placed a pea size amount of Zimectrin Gold inside her beak, I wonder if she actually swallowed it all before she started wiping her beak on the ground (?).
 

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