Late bloomer or freeloader?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sweepy, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Sweepy

    Sweepy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2013
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    We have 3 Dominiques from the same clutch. They have obviously developed at different rates given the size and color of their combs/wattles. They are 8 1/2 mos old. The one with the smallest/palest comb has yet to lay. In fact, she almost appears to be molting around the face, just kinda scraggly looking. The other 2 have very defined eggs, no confusing the possibly that the three are taking turns and we have never gotten 3 eggs in one day. The other 2 started laying in dec after adding artificial light. She also seems to be at the bottom of tge pecking order. How long should we give her to get going? We have no interest in keeping her as a pet. I'm sorry I can't provide pic, in not at home right now. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    I would check her weight when she's on the perch at night. If she's skeletal there's your probable reason for non laying. If her breast is skeletal and her abdomen bloated, it could be internal laying, or leucosis. She could be a normal weight and still have internal laying issues. I would check her over closely, possibly separate her for two days to see if she's actually laying or is doing normal poops or what her habits are. If she's sleeping or roosting or sedentary most of the day something's wrong. If you have a freeloader, for future ease of diagnosis and avoidance of the same issue, it's important to use her as a study subject. It may be something you're doing, or the hatchery's doing, or whatever. Alternatively, if you don't have the time to learn from her, you can cull and replace. You may have the same issue recur until you discover the cause, but if you're happy to keep replacing, well, each to their own. Best wishes.
     
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    She could be a slow developer, but there could be another issue. As suggested above, pick her up and feel her weight. If her keel bone (chest) is really sharp and protruded, she is underweight. Check her for lice/mites (look near her vent). Is she acting normal? Eating/drinking/pooping normal?
     
  4. Sweepy

    Sweepy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2013
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    We've returned home to find that her head is now balding in spots compared to looking disheveled before. What's this? I forgot to check her skeletal health while I had hold of her because I was so distracted. I don't think it's lice but I also didnt check her vent yet. Will do those things this afternoon. Here are a couple of pics. [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  5. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are the other 2 birds bullying her? She sounds at the bottom of the pecking order & that looks like they are pecking her head a bit. The stress may be stopping her laying.
    I would separate her & give her another bird for company. [​IMG]

    When she improves, reintegrate her with more birds. Thats why people don't reccomend they are kept in trio's, because one can be left out & bullied by the other 2.

    I have 6 - 4 pullets, 2 cockerels. The cockerels are very respectful of the girls & don't overmate them & the hens all have saddles. Mine are productive pets, we fuss them, but we also take their heads & their eggs except when we want more birds.

    As you said, check her for lice.

    I hope I've helped [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  6. Sweepy

    Sweepy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2013
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    [​IMG]



    She is "sister" with 2 other Doms (same cluthc) but she's in the coop with all of our flock (3 doms, 4 ee pullets and 1 cockerel).
     
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Looks like the cockerel is getting over eager in learning to mate. They hold on to their head feathers for balance.
     
  8. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Your bird looks alright to me, from what little I can see, I think it's just a case of bullying or a clumsy male trying to mate. Some boys are so adept they don't even need to hold on, other boys always manage to pull feathers out or gouge the hens with spurs etc... I would personally think the rooster would hold on a bit lower usually, whereas bullies tend to attack the head itself. But all chooks are individual, it could indeed be the rooster.

    I would watch to make sure what the issue is and then deal with it accordingly. If you do separate her to grow the feathers back, put her as close to the others as possible, within sight, even at roosting time if you can, so she isn't ostracized when you put her back in. I built double cages where chickens can roost with just mesh between them, so they still believe they're part of the same flock, to avoid that sort of issue with reintroduction of a bird that needed separating.

    But even a run where they can see her is fine, or putting something on her head the other hens or your rooster or whoever the culprit is doesn't want to taste, would also help.

    Best wishes.
     

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