Is something wrong with my Buff Orpington?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickieschicks, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Chirping

    57
    41
    81
    Mar 12, 2017
    Long Island, New York
    My Buff Orpington is a year old and recently has slowed down her laying drastically. (She laid almost every day throughout the winter and now we are only getting a couple of eggs a week.) Two days ago there was a soft shell egg in the coop and I think it was hers. She's also looking a bit scraggly lately and today I noticed her vent area is very bare.(see picture) We have no roosters and there are no signs of aggression between the hens. Her behavior seems normal and she's foraging as usual.

    She never molted in the fall when my three Easter Eggers (same age) did so at first I thought maybe she was molting. But I'm not sure if that ever happens in spring and I haven't noticed a lot of feathers around.

    A few weeks ago my husband accidentally bought pellet food when they've always eaten the crumbles so maybe she doesn't like it and isn't getting enough nutrition? I have seen her eat it though. Any help/thoughts would be appreciated!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Agree, it isn't molting. :hmm Though birds sometimes don't get the memo about when they should or shouldn't do things... so just for reference it is possible for it to happen off schedule.

    Can you post a pic of her other side?

    Orpington will do best with at least 18% protein because they are a heavy feathered and heavy bodied dual purpose breed. EE do well also at higher protein than 16% of most layer feeds.

    Laying will be most prolific during their first lay season.

    What is your feed including treats and supplements? How much space for how many birds? Any weird droppings? Ever checked or treated for lice, mites, worms?

    Soft eggs... very often a hiccup of the reproductive system starting up or shutting down for the season... assuming calcium is available.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    42,854
    25,915
    1,012
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    She sounds as though she is dealing with some problems in her reproductive tract. They will sometimes have a problem with the shell gland, and eggs can be shell-less or thin shelled. Eggs can break inside and cause infection. About all you can do is offer crushed oyster shell in a container to help firm up her shells. You could crush a 1/2 of a human calcium tablet with vitamin D into a snack such as chopped egg for the next couple of days. Does she eat layer feed? My chickens will eat either crumbles or pellets. They love when I put a lot of water in a pan with feed to make it mushy.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    42,854
    25,915
    1,012
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    She also looks like another hen has been picking her feathers out. I would check her for any stuck poo and clean it off, and also look around and under her vent for any lice or white clumps of lice eggs.
     
  5. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Chirping

    57
    41
    81
    Mar 12, 2017
    Long Island, New York
    She has been getting layer feed, scratch and occasional kitchen scraps. Our girls also free-range throughout the day. I have not supplemented calcium or oyster shell but I'm thinking I had better try that. She shares a 4x4 coop with only 3 other birds and they also have a 12x12 enclosed run, so space is definitely not an issue. I haven't noticed any other birds pecking at her. I absolutely noticed a change in her appearance when we started the new layer pellets vs the crumbles. Could she be that picky??
    I have never treated for lice, mites or worms, and have never noticed any but I'm going to research the signs for identifying those...
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    42,854
    25,915
    1,012
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    My chickens have oyster shell available, but they love and prefer crushed egg shells fed back. A bag of oyster shell in a plastic container will last a long time. Some viruses, such as infectious bronchitis can affect egg shell formation, and may cause wrinkled or thin shells. Any hen can also have an occasional odd egg.
     
  7. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Chirping

    57
    41
    81
    Mar 12, 2017
    Long Island, New York
    Would mites or lice cause a decrease in egg production? She has gone from one egg every day, skipping almost never to only giving us 2 or 3 eggs a week.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    42,854
    25,915
    1,012
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Most hens lay great the first year. Any problem such as lice, mites, laying problems, or a repiratory infection can affect the number of eggs or cause a stoppage.
    Winter time when the length of daylight is shortened, many hens after the first year may take a break in laying. I had a couple of buff orpingtons, and mine only laid 3 days a week. Later the second year one had an egg break inside. She never laid much after rhat, and eventually died of a possible reproductive disorder. Each chicken of every breed will be different.
     
  9. chickieschicks

    chickieschicks Chirping

    57
    41
    81
    Mar 12, 2017
    Long Island, New York
    Here is a close up of what the skin looks like near her vent area, any ideas?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    7,126
    8,615
    556
    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    She looks quite well rounded under her vent and her feathers look a bit soiled which is usually an indication that there is some swelling below the vent. It may be a build up of fat or it may be a reproductive issue. How much scratch have you been giving them? Scratch is high in carbohydrates and whilst chickens love it, it has a tendency to cause fat deposits, particularly in heavier breeds... hence the higher protein feed for bigger girls (more protein means less carbohydrate). Those fat deposits can restrict the opening at the cloaca and cause egg binding and or prolapse as well as the risk of Fatty Liver Haemorrhagic Syndrome which can prove fatal. The scratch also means that she is eating less of her layer feed (they will only consume so much feed in a day) which means that her calcium intake will be depleted. Whilst her bones can buffer this deficit, over time it will result in shell quality and laying issues..... laying soft shelled (shell less) eggs really takes it out of a bird and there is a risk of breakage inside and then the potential for infection.
    I would stop the scratch and move to a higher protein feed and offer meal worms as a treat. Free ranging is good as it provides exercise and stimulation.

    There may be some lice eggs on the base of the shafts that appear to be broken off. It is not possible to see them clearly enough to identify them and it could be she has preened the feathers to the point of breaking them due to irritation of the lice or because she was soiled with poop and they broke off trying to break it off.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: