Help Hen not looking well

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Cape Cod Chicks, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Cape Cod Chicks

    Cape Cod Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
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    Please Help!!Our 1 year old barred rock is not looking well at all! The other 7 look fine. She has lost a lot of feathers from her throat and abdomen all the way down to your mid belly,see picture. Also looks thinner than the other hens. some have suggested mites so we treated with diatomaceous earth and stopped using straw in hen house, only pine shavings.
    Any help greatly appreciated.
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  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    When was she last wormed?

    She might be moulting and/or going broody, some hens do the latter without any obvious physical signs beyond losing feathers. Some hens look sick while moulting, too, go off their feed and everything. Mine haven't but it's pretty common going by what others say.

    What's her behavior and face/comb/wattle coloring like compared to her flockmates?

    Changing from straw or anything to pine shavings --- really just changing bedding at all --- can be dangerous, some chooks will eat the new bedding and kill themselves if they get blocked up internally.

    Can you isolate her overnight with no food and check her crop first thing in the morning? If you do this early enough you can also give her no water so it'll be easier to tell but if you're not going to be available to do this early best to give her water.

    If you gently feel her crop you should be able to tell if it's got any blockages or lumps in it. If it's still full in the morning then it's almost guaranteed that she's got something stuck in there, or in her gut, that's preventing her passing food.

    (First line of action in that case is generally a laxative, I use cold pressed olive oil myself, others use castor oil or similar, that will help most chooks. Second line of action if that doesn't work... Well, depends on you. You may think you could vomit her, worth looking into how to do that, there's threads on this forum that teach you how to do that. You may feel more comfortable doing crop surgery or getting her to a vet.)

    Isolating her will also give you the chance to see what her poops are like, which is important in identifying some diseases.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. Cape Cod Chicks

    Cape Cod Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
    Cape Cod, MA
    Her comb/waddle looks pale compared to others. Attitude & apatite are normal. All of girls are deprived food & h2o overnight while locked in coop. I will check her crop in AM, but pretty sure it's emptying fine. Will also look into "getting broody" I thought it meant staying on eggs.
    thank you.
    VERY SURPRISED THAT YOUR THE ONLY REPLY??
    I thought more would offer opinion/help. Does this site offer today's forums vs thread specific forums? If not it should, IMHO
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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  5. Cape Cod Chicks

    Cape Cod Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
    Cape Cod, MA
    Lots if info, thank you very much.
    1 last question, can just 1 of 8 hens get mites or wouldn't they all get them?
     
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    I recommend that you pick up each hen individually and inspect them for external parasites. Mites are tiny, eight legged, look like red or black pepper, are slow movers or dont move at all. Closely inspect their vent area where it's warm and moist.
     
  7. Cape Cod Chicks

    Cape Cod Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2014
    Cape Cod, MA
    Thanks to all for suggestions. Latest update is that she still has raw exposed skin and appears to be pulling out the feathers her self. Whether it's due to frustration or irritation still not sure. Doesn't make sense that only 1 out 8 could have mites or worms but treated all for both, why not since never done. Other than that she is acting normal, no crop issue and normal in/out.
    Time will tell I suppose
     
  8. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Is she eating her feathers, are other birds eating her feathers? If so, increase protein intake. You can purchase gamebird feed and give it to them to eat for 3 or 4 weeks, that should stop feather picking and help with feather regrowth. Then gradually wean them off the gamebird feed back to regular layer feed.
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry for slow reply, was absent for a bit... Dawg gave the relevant answers anyway.

    As odd as it sounds, you can indeed have one animal wormy or mite/lice ridden with the rest clear, but more commonly you will have them all partially parasitized with one or two of them overridden. Individual susceptibility varies and often parasite overload in one or two individuals but not the whole group means those overridden ones have something else going on as well. There's a genetic factor to parasite resistance as well, but husbandry and diet generally impact it more.

    Feather picking is often an ongoing issue, some people find it resolves and others find it doesn't, different methods work for different people... So as with most issues, it would be worth it to do a search of this forum and collect potential cures to try out if necessary.
    Quote: Upping protein intake solves it for some, but not for others, it's a complex issue and if the higher protein intake doesn't fix it you may need to look into different methods. Harsh as it sounds I culled it out of the flock alongside other negative behaviors and have never had a problem with it since, and it's been quite a few years now. That method isn't for everyone obviously but it's been quite effective. It's not really natural to the species to rip out their own feathers, or their flockmates' feathers, protein deprived or not, it's an adapted behavior developed under domestication, and some family lines are very prone to it. Those chooks that just don't have that mindset will never do it even if they're starving to death; it just doesn't occur to them.

    Hope for you and your chooks' sake that yours are easily handled as regards this matter.

    Best wishes.
     

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