Molt VS Illness

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by erzulieloo, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. erzulieloo

    erzulieloo Songster

    I know you guys get this a LOT and I'm sorry to bring it up again but what the heck.

    I currently have four hens in my small flock. One, a four year old silkie, is dandy. She's just tough as nails and lays eggs just about every day. She's also sort of a major jerk, but she fits in with the others because I always stick to so-called "docile" or "friendly" breeds to avoid troubles. I hope.

    The other three are all different breeds and were hatched on the same day about 13 months ago. The cream legbar went into what apparently was a molt about 3 months ago. I really thought she was sick because she was so young to be molting, but here we are and she's looking beautiful and she's back to her active self. About a month ago, the blue favacuana started dropping feathers, looking horrible and acting vile and so okay, I just sort of cautiously accepted it was again an early molt.

    I keep saying early molt here because I've never had a bird molt before they were about 18 mths old. This is not something in my experience.

    Well, she's still going through it but she seems healthy and I'm not worried over her. But about two days ago my lavender Orpington just started dropping feathers like CRAZY. She'd been the only one laying with the silkie up to about a week ago but I figured maybe it was the winter darkness, etc and because she seemed okay I didn't worry. But starting yesterday I noticed she was tending to sit sort of hunched up (I should add that we're going through was amounts to a cold, windy snap here in Florida. It's maybe 50 something and the wind is blowing hard enough to take down branches) and I saw her have several very watery and/or whitish droppings. I see her pecking around and drinking water, but she's not terribly interested in the food.

    I changed to a higher protein grower feed when the second bird started molting, btw.

    I stopped the treats after yesterday, which the Orpington ALWAYS chowed on, although she's seemed to sort of lose interest in the last week. She'd come by with the others, scratch a bit, peck a bit and then wander off like whatever. ( talking mealworms and sometimes cottage cheese, although that's mostly just to lure them into the run if the weather is turning and I want to lock them up safely. It's not even a daily thing)

    She's not as friendly and personable as she has always been. She's sort of avoiding us and while she's sticking with the flock, she's just not "her"

    I think I know this could simply be the molt. I know you guys answer this a million times and I know I've read probably a half million of those threads. It's just so easy to doubt things when it's your own flock, right? So. The hunching (which isn't constant) and the vague appetite and the diarreha combined with the behaviour change and the serious, sudden feather drop - can all be molt related? What clues should I look for to see if there is anything else going on? Her color is still it's normal very beautiful bright red. She seems alert, if unhappy.

    Lord I love this bird. Sigh. And right now my two dogs happen to be sick. Sometimes it feels like everything happens at once.

    Now I'm whining. LOL

    Thanks in advance for any wisdom you feel like sharing.
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  2. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Possibly egg bound or internal laying?..
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  3. erzulieloo

    erzulieloo Songster

    thanks for the reply. i'm definitely worrying about those things although my hens have always stopped laying while molting and most of my girls have either quit or really cut back on laying during the shortest days of the year - and it's been way cloudier and darker this December than usual, for some reason - plus the feathers falling out. all together combining to cause my concern.

    but yeah. i worry about her being egg bound or laying internally.
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

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  5. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Well your cold temps are nothing to a Chicken. I'm in central Alberta, Canada and that's cold. Something is wrong so if possible a Vet should see her. Too many issues for anyone to actually say what's up with her..
    erzulieloo likes this.
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    Of course a vet is always the best choice, but you can check her yourself to see if she is egg bound. It's quite easy if you know what to look for. And if she is egg bound, there are several things you can try at home.

    Internal laying, I hope not, because that is not treatable without a vet. Even with a vet, prognosis is poor. Internal laying is when yolk gets deposited into the coelomic cavity instead of the reproductive tract. When that happens they usually get a massive infection. As I understand it, the only option at this point is a vet.

    Hopefully the molt is what's making her ill. Do start weighing her daily. If she starts losing weight there are many things you can try.

    Right now a have a few that are going through something similar and so far keeping them warmer and feeing them a higher protein food is working.
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  7. Wickedchicken6

    Wickedchicken6 No Rest For The Wicked

    Nov 7, 2015
    Southwestern MB, Canada
    I have Silkies and I've found them to be surprisingly hardy. They are funny little birds. I have a couple that have an attitude like you describe in yours.

    It's good that you already are giving extra protein. That should help with replacing those feathers.

    It sounds like all your birds are experiencing the molt, so it doesn't sound out of the ordinary. It sounds like your Orpington is feeling it, possibly because the moult is so drastic so fast. It's good to question her symptoms; those can be related to a hard molt. But they can also be related to illness. Casportpony shared a very informative link. You have four birds, that will make it easier to manage her than 200 birds.

    I have a barred rock that has been in molt for a few months and she is a special case. I have her in with the other birds but she is a pet and I physically check her every day to make sure she is doing ok. I consider her special needs like a few of my oldest birds. I also have a few that have had a harder molt and they have have a harder time of it. However, I didn't have to intervene and they are back to normal. Every bird is an individual, and they can perform differently even within the same breed.

    The hunching I'd be concerned about because that signals that she's feeling cold. It may be why she's not eating if she has to venture out to get food as well. With the wind you describe, if she's not eating she may not be able to maintain body heat. That could be a major stress to her. A lamb that hasn't received milk can be hyperthermic in 90 weather in the summer. The same with a chick and food. An animal/bird needs fuel for the body to thermoregulate. It doesn't matter what the temperature is, if she is feeling cold...she's cold. We may be colder in Canada but and 50 may not seem that cold to us, but it's relative...50F may be cold for a bird used to hotter temps and for a bird that may not be feeling perfect. I'd consider fixing it for her in whatever way works for you so that she can be warm. :) And observe her from there.
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  8. erzulieloo

    erzulieloo Songster

    thank you so much!
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  9. erzulieloo

    erzulieloo Songster

    yes. i know you're right about the "cold" here and that your cold is real. i lived in south dakota for decades and have definitely become a lightweight when it comes to temps - in fact, it's why i moved. and i've a call into the only vet in the county that will see a chicken but since she's never been there before they would only give me a "new patient" appointment and first opening is the 27th. i'll keep the appointment unless it turns out i don't need it. so much easier for me to get my dogs and cat into see someone. i hope more vet clinics take up chickens in the future.
    chickens really likes this.
  10. erzulieloo

    erzulieloo Songster

    very much appreciate this.
    Wickedchicken6 and casportpony like this.

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