Help! My 1st year and having trouble!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Benson556, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Benson556

    Benson556 New Egg

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    Feb 20, 2015
    Any advice would be appreciated! WARNING: Long & Culled flock. Possible trigger for those opposed who recommend avian vets as alternative! Its our first flock. We started out with 3 barred rocks, 2 rhode island reds and 2 buff orpingtons. We werent sure which breed would be best for our MN winters so thought wed try a few. I wish we would have stuck with one breed in hindsight but whatever. So one buff didnt make it early on as a pullet and then we had the 6 of them. We have a 30x30 fenced in run attached to the backside of our detached garage with an entry on the backside of the structure leading in to their coop we built into one corner of the garage. We covered most of the outside where the wire is to keep drafts out for the winter and keep a lamp in there that they can lay under for some warmth (not a full on heat lamp, those make me nervous about fires) and so they can see in there when its dark. Theyve got heated water and all that... so thats what our set up is like. The 3 rocks have always stuck together and had top rank, one being slightly smaller than the other 2. They picked on the others a little but nothing major. One of the red hens developed kind of a funny wing and caused her to have trouble getting on the top roost with the others and even had troubke making the small jump getting into the coop and would get stuck out there trying over and over frantically even though we put an upside down crate for her to jump onto first. Then the orpington started shaking her head all the time, quit roosting and just wasnt doing well. We had been keeping them locked in the coop because of the weather and the reds and buff were getting some bad frostbite on their waddles. The orpington started to get picked on because of her condition and I started to get worried that she might have a disease or infection. I put diatamaceous earth into their feed once in a while and throughout the coop for deworming and lice and whatnot so thats all I was able to rule out. I read up on some stuff online but was confused and all the sites say take your bird to the vet... im already paying more than we can handle on my cats arthritis and my yorkies bad teeth theres no way im taking our hens in. So anyway we were also thinking 6 is too many for our coop size being frigid winter lasts so long here that perhaps wed cull the flock. We didnt care for the reds. Not friendly, skiddish, dull personslities compared to the others. Loved our buff but she was so sweet and docile I worried about her and the rocks handled our winter like champs. So we ended up getting rid of the 2 reds and buff leaving us with 3 rocks. Shortly after the small one quit laying, started molting and now the other 2 are picking on her pretty bad. Her waddle is dry looking and much smaller than it used to be. Ive seen them peck at it. Now shes shaking her head some. Shes not being confident with treats and seems to be having a hard time. Now I have no idea what to do for her! The other 2 are super healthy and seem to be doing just fine. Any advice would be very helpful thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    Welcome to our flock. Most of us here help each other solve health issues with chickens. there are very few vets that will deal with chickens. We understand that so we help each other. Now, how much floor space is in their coop? What exactly do you provide them for food grit and calcium? Buffs and reds are cold hardy breeds, they should not have had problems from cold if sheltered properly. The one who is molting is probably not laying so her comb is drier and pinker than if she was. What do you use for bedding? Does the coop have good ventilation/low humidity? Were your birds vaccinated for Mareks? Sorry for all the questions but we really do try to help people so, we need to know these things. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Benson556

    Benson556 New Egg

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    Layer feed, baked egg shells or oyster shells, grit, scratch grains, black oil seeds and we give grapes, bread, steamed veggies and other scraps. After reading about molt ill increase her protein. Not vaccinated. Orchard grass for coop. Concrete floor. Well ventilated but protected entirely from drafts unless garage door is open (we dont park in there or anything) so thats infrequent when its really cold. Not humid at all. I keep it pretty clean. Its 6x12 with 2 nest boxes an area for food and water and the other side has roosting bars and the lamp. Its a walk in so its spacious. Ill double check for mites, etc. Do I need to check for mites at night? That could be the culprit of the head shaking but ive never seen anything on them before.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  4. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    Yes, check for mites at night. They can be very hard to see. You may only see the "dirt" they leave on the chicken's skin. Lice are easier to spot still, easier at night. If they have any, use sevin dust or spray or there are a few other products I can't remember the names of right now. Have you ever de wormed your birds? Valbazen kills almost any worm a chicken can get. DE is a deterrent but does nothing to kill parasite loads inside or out of a chicken. your feeding program seems fine, a little heavy on the extras though. Those should not be more than 10 or 15% of their diet. If there is no cross ventilation at the top of the coop, that could explain the frostbite and possibly a respiratory illness in the bird who shook her head. (would need more info on all her symptoms) I know you said it had good ventilation but the frostbite is stumping me. The waterer, droppings and chicken breath all contribute to moisture in the air and if it can't leave out the top of the coop, it really causes problems when they're locked in. Have you noticed any bad poop? Have they ever been treated preventively or otherwise for coccidiosis? Trying to think of anything I can for you....[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015

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