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Hen is itching obsessively and losing some weight (I'm a newbie)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sager, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. sager

    sager New Egg

    May 12, 2012
    Hi. I had one hen pass away about a month ago after the following symptoms: itching, lack of appetite, swollen eyes (to the point of being near impossible to open eyes). Towards the end she would just keep her head tucked under her wing until she wasted away.

    So now I have another bird in the flock who is starting to itch obsessively and I'm worried she has whatever caused the previous death. She is normally near the top of the pecking order but lately she is sitting down during the day rather than walking around like the others. Should I be worried? And if so, what malady could she have?

    The other hens also seem to be itching more than before, but I may be just paranoid at this point. I am a first time owner. I have tried to look up the possible maladies and the only thing that I come up with is mites. It is very wet where I live (western WA) so I put out some stove ash for the birds to dust bathe in, which they loved. But, I didn't think that mites could kill a chicken, just cause irritation.

  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Hi. Have you checked them for lice/mites/ticks? Any of these if the infestation is severe can kill. I don't know that they would cause swollen eyes but if they were severely infested that could open them up to another disease/virus.

    I'd check them for parasites first. Check near the vent and under the wings.

    Are there any other symptoms? Any eye/nose discharge?
  3. sager

    sager New Egg

    May 12, 2012
    Thanks for the reply.

    No discharge right now. I think the chicken that I lost last month had some eye and nose discharge towards the end.

    I've never seen a tick on our property, and even if we have them they wouldn't be active this time of year out here, so I think that option is unlikely. I'll try to take a look for mites tonight. The chickens are free ranging and aren't used to being handled, so I'll have to get them when they go in the coop tonight. If they have mites, any suggestions for getting rid of them?

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