Hen change in behavior

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Uncle Will, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Uncle Will

    Uncle Will New Egg

    5
    2
    9
    May 28, 2009
    Hi friends - I need help with my favorite. She's a 3 year old buff orpington named Buffy. She seems bright and energetic as usual. Her appetite is good. She's not broody - (I know that routine!). I'm seeing some behavior changes and I'd like to do everything I can to keep her healthy.

    Background - My 5 girls have a secure coop to roost in. At night I close them in - first thing in the morning I let them out to free range. Water and crumbles in the coop. Their nest boxes and roosts are in the coop. They also have fresh water outside. They get greens from the garden, grass, bugs, worms, a little scratch, left overs from the kitchen - the usual.

    Over the last month I've noticed that Buffy's been hesitant to jump the 18 inches off her perch. I was thinking she's just getting older and a little chunky. Then this last week she began sleeping in a nest box, and I put it that up to the same thing. She does feel heavy. She's always let me handle her and there's no change there.

    Tonight, when I went to close the coop and did the beak count, Buffy wasn't inside. I found her out in the yard crouched down next to a fence.

    I put her on the perch and she had no trouble balancing.

    I don't think she's laying, but her comb is bright -ditto her eyes. Her feet are warm. She molted last fall and her coat looks good.

    Tell me what to check for. Like I said, she's my favorite.So maybe I'm just fretting over nothing.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks
    Will
    Knoxville Tennessee
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Check the undersides of her feet for bumblefoot. It is a staph infection that looks like a black scab.

    If she is nice and heavy with no diarrhea I'd not be thinking worms at this point, unless you start seeing a pale comb, or weight loss, or diarrhea. Have you introduced new chickens lately or put in some fresh dirt with new strains of cocci in it?

    How about lice/mites? There is a red mite that can live in the coop and come out at night, feed, and weaken hens. You would never even see it on them.

    The Northern Fowl mite and lice can weaken a bird, even kill them. Any signs of bugs under the wings or vent area?

    It is of course possible that worms is the problem. Some vets will do a fecal test for worms/cocci for a small fee, but false negatives are possible, even likely, for the worms test.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by