Looking skinny

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mkearsley, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    I've got a little Cochin hen who's been slowly looking worse & worse over the winter. She used to be a little ball of fluff, so you could hardly tell where her body ended & her tail started! But recently, I've noticed that she's a lot skinnier - she's no longer fluffy. She is shedding feathers like crazy (stupid bird doesn't know its winter!) But I was watching her with the other girls (I've only got 4) and she's obviously the bottom of the pecking order (no signs of actual pecking, though [​IMG] When she's eating, if the other birds come close to her, she takes a few steps away & waits until they leave before she eats - so she misses all the sunflower seeds & other treats. When I try to feed her separately, the other birds come running, so that scares her away. I can't easily catch her - she was raised in a hatchery for the first 10-12 months and is really skittish around people. I thought about trying to catch her & separating her to make sure she gets enough food, but the stress of being chased will be rough on her & the last time I separated a bird (for 1 mo after dog attack), the other birds attacked her when she was re-introduced. She's never laid any eggs (as far as I can tell). I just don't want to see her slowly starve to death if that's what is happening, or maybe she's just losing all her feathers during a molt & that is why she looks skinnier.... I'll try to get a picture of her today when I get off work.
     
  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    Aug 3, 2009
    Could be a few things.
    She could have lice/mites, worms or she may be very low in the pecking order and is not getting enough to eat.
     
  3. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    How can I tell if she's got worms? I use DE in their coop for mites & in their dust-bathing areas. They all free-range, so I can't really tell who's poop is who's.... [​IMG]

    How can I make sure she's getting her fair share? I'm sure that she's foraging like the other birds, but she doesn't get the egg shells when I toss them out or the BOSS because both are limited & the other girls are larger & more aggressive (and more willing to be around me). She's always been the bottom of the pile, but lately, it seems like its getting worse.

    Would you suggest catching her & isolating her for a little while?

    I'm just worried about her since she's not as "fluffy" as she was when we brought her home last May/June, and I don't know if she's losing more than just feathers from a typical molt. I also am worried that maybe she's egg-bound or something, two of the other girls are laying already, but I don't know what symptoms to look for with the egg-bound and she's never laid anything in the past, so there may be something wrong internally.... [​IMG]
     

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