Hen Losing Weight

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Dawnclucks22, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. 1) What type of bird, age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
    She is a Rhode Island Red and my sweetest bird. She is about 3 to 3 and 1/2 years old. I posted this because I noticed a week or two ago she felt rather light compared to my other RIR. At first I thought maybe she was just lighter than the others and I just never noticed, but it seems to be getting worse. I know she's not laying because my only other RIR is currently finishing up a molt and there have been no RIR eggs lately.
    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    She's still moving and foraging with the others, but not as much as she used to. Her comb seems paler and droopier than usual (with a scab on it, but I'm not sure if that's related or not).
    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    I noticed her most drastic weight difference today but overall has been like this for a couple weeks.
    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    No, thank God...
    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    Not that I could find except that one scab. I checked her crop right when I let them out this morning and it was empty like it should be.
    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    No. I did post awhile back on a thread titled "Lethargic Hen" but this behavior only seemed to last a day or two. I don't know if this is the same thing or that was what caused it, but perhaps it's worth mentioning.
    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    I'm not completely sure. I will check her crop later today and see if it is still empty for an update.
    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    I will have to update.
    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    I have not done much yet but I plan to isolate her and observe her poop. I have worm medication on-hand if necessary - it seems like it could be worms.
    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    We have an exotic vet nearby but $$$ is an issue. I would prefer to take her to the vet only if it is very necessary.
    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    I will post a picture soon.
    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    Their run is my entire backyard and they sleep in a small coop with just two roosts and a nesting box. Of course, they have all-day access to food, water, oyster shell, and snuggles. We have no roos.
  2. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    Parasites are a possibility, can you see if you can find a vet that will do a fecal float test for you? Some will without seeing the bird, many will not. Then you would know for sure if that is what is going on and which one to treat for. You can also use a mail in test like this: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petco...884X1564883X8aa4f4244af37897e83d4a66f6e431e7&
    While worming may be necessary I would be hesitant to do that without knowing for sure since worming can be hard on them if they are sick with something else.
    Did she or is she molting? Sometimes molt can take a lot out of them and cause weight loss also, in that case upping the amount of protein in their feed can help. Also making sure that you have enough feeders so that no one is kept away too much and not getting enough feed. Lastly, at her age it could also be possible that there is an internal issue, like internal laying, or even organ failure or some cancers. Check to see if her abdomen, below her vent and between her legs feels normal or swollen, hard, soft, squishy, etc. Compare with other birds if you aren't sure. Those are some more things to check. If you find she's not filling her crop during the day, try some cooked egg or tuna to see if you can get her to eat, and then check the crop function. Also let us know once you see how droppings look. The scab on her comb is likely a pecking wound. When a bird shows weakness it is common for the rest of the flock to go after them. I would keep an eye on her and if she's getting picked on I would separate her until she's doing better so that she doesn't get hurt. Hope this helps a little, and I'm sure more people will chime in.
    Dawnclucks22 and Latestarter like this.
  3. I have isolated her and she ate a bit. Waiting to observe poop.
    Some pictures:
    Here you can sort of see her bone protruding easily past her feathers :( It's a bit hard to see where it is exactly but you can see where the bone is curved.
    Some feather stubs.
    Her comb, which is pale. Sorry, my chickens have a habit of blinking when I'm taking their pictures. Sigh.
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Looks like she's still growing back in her feathers from molting. It's normal for adult hens to have pale combs while they are molting and for several weeks afterwards. Molting takes a lot of energy, and some hens lose quite a bit of weight during the process. Make sure she's getting plenty of high protein feed.
  5. I'm pretty sure she's not molting. She's hardly lost any feathers and has been acting sleepy.
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    You can see in every photo that there are feathers growing in. Some birds molt so gradually that it's not very noticeable.
  7. Update again: when she steps with her right foot, she limps. She is walking slowly. I can post a clip if needed. Please help my sweet girl.
    Also, I gave her some canned tuna as suggested above. She ate some, but eventually lost interest. Not like her usual self, where she will eat everything in sight.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  8. LilJoe

    LilJoe Crowing

    Jul 15, 2016
    The limp could be caused by bumblefoot.
    As for her being thin, when and after my hens molt they become skinnier than the rest.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: