Is she SICK or just BROODY?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AnimalCrazed, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. AnimalCrazed

    AnimalCrazed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a golden-sex link who acts like she might be sick... but then again what if she is just broody?
    she is 1 year and a few months old, i noticed the other day there were a few feathers in the dirt but i didnt think much of it. then this morning there were a whole bunch, they are all outside the coop. i picked her up and looked her over and they are only coming from her breast, i checked her skin for mites or something but she looked clean. also she does from time to time get out of the run and she lays her egg somewhere in the tall grass, most days i find them, usually around the same spot. i've also noticed the her poo is gross looking almoat like runny oatmeal? she used to sit in the nest for a longer period of time a few weeks ago, but the other two hens kick her out so they can lay too, and she hasn't really been siting on the nest too much now. also we just had a week of really hot weather so i'm wondering if that could contribute, it was in the upper 90's when it is usually in the 80's.
    Please help me so i can help her Any suggestion will be Great!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. AngelzFyre

    AngelzFyre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Usually on my broody girls their feather loss is more underneath than your hen's looks to be. She looks like either she's beginning a molt or the others are picking at her. Also looks in the pic like some feathers at the top of her head next to her comb are missing, but that may just be lighting.

    Are you sure the other hens aren't picking on her when kicking her out of the nest box? Can you add another box so they have more room?

    To be safe you can dust her for mites, separate her from the others for a few days and give her some extra protein such as scrambled eggs and see if she's laying or broody. The heat will indeed stress them and I've noticed this summer with the extremes we've had here that there are tons of feathers in all 3 of my coops/runs compared to last year at this time.

    Make sure she's on layer feed or flock raiser and has plenty of free choice oyster shell available for calcium too. I've also added probiotics to all my girl's feed to keep their immune systems built up with the heat stress.
     
  3. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hiding the eggs and picking out her breast feathers are both signs of incipient broodiness. You might have to pen her in a wire-bottomed cage for a few days to break her of it. I've got two hens in "the box" right now myself...
     
  4. AnimalCrazed

    AnimalCrazed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replys [​IMG]
    i'm pretty sure she is not being pecked at cause i'll sit out and watch them for periods of time, but who knows what they do when my back is turned, she is the bottom of the order [​IMG] i usually let them out in the yard after work to play and work off some stress. but i may just have to experement and see what works. I did have two nest boxes in the coop at one time but they just all use the one so i took the other out, i'll try putting it back in. She is still sweet as ever and she acts normal. [​IMG]

    Worms are good protein too, but does anyone know how they stack up to scrambled eggs? or what else is good too?
    Can she be a stressed out broody? Is there anything else that i can try to un-stress her if that is the case?
    Also does her poo look okay!? (first post)

    I really do appreciate all the help thanks!
     
  5. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Based on her age and looking at the picture, I would say she has begun molting. When my girls are broody (and we are talking every other month here!) their feather loss isn't actually noticable at all unless you pick them up and feel/look at their tummys (below the breast) where the eggs come into contact with their skin when they lay on them.

    I think molting causes chickens to "slow down" overall. They will usually (I say "usually" because not all do) cut back, or even stop altogether, egg laying. They may seem less active at this time. It can take awhile to get through a molt. Fist is the feather losing stage, then the growing back stage. It all takes a toll on them and you want to make sure they are getting proper nutrition and have plenty of water to drink. (which I am sure you do already [​IMG] ) I have heard extra protein is helpful while they are growning back their feathers.

    Hope this helps! I am sure she will be even more beautiful after her molt!!
    CJ
     
  6. AnimalCrazed

    AnimalCrazed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    CJ thanks, i was starting to wonder if she could be molting, it's not to early in the year to molt? She is going to be receiving extra TLC just in case:)

    One more thing to add i did notice last month that on the under side of her belly was kinda bare so maybe she was broody a little at one point! [​IMG]
     
  7. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, it's not too early to molt. I have one hen that started molting a couple of weeks ago. She may have also been broody, but maybe not in a real way. Be patient, as I said, this could take awhile! [​IMG]
    CJ
     
  8. Uniontown Poultry

    Uniontown Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    If she does go broody, she may "talk" to herself while walking around the yard or in the pen, a muted, "Brrrt? Brrrt?" noise. She may continue the little noises while on the nest, and if you approach her on the nest, she may puff up her feathers (trying to make herself look bigger & more threatening), and if you reach for her, she may growl, or do a shriek. And if she gets broody, you will know for sure if she poops anywhere near you. Because they sit on the nest for much of the time, broody poop is super-concentrated: a noticeably larger, stinky poop. It is the worst chicken poop odor ever! It will knock your socks off. It looks to me like your girl is starting a molt, which means she'll stop laying, so either way, you'll get less eggs for awhile. The best thing about a molt is that once it's over, you don't have to deal w/ it for a year![​IMG]
     
  9. AnimalCrazed

    AnimalCrazed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2011
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    Thanks so much everyone this has helped me figure out what to do!
     

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