Molting and Sick?

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
2,745
5,085
357
Moore County, NC
My 17 month old Barred Rock hen started dropping feathers everywhere yesterday which didn't phase me since her flockmates are molting. Whenever I let everyone out to free range this evening, I found Sue back in the run roosting after not a lot of free ranging and she was puffed up. I feel something in her crop and she'll accept scratch and raisins (only offering this junk food/treats to make sure she'll eat something), so I believe she's been eating today. I decided to bring her inside to get a look at her poop and hopefully ease my worries but that didn't happen. I'm more worried now. She was moving around inside and was talkative, like usual. The other BR in her flock had a difficult few days with molting as well, but she seems to have made it past the worst of it and is back to mingling and her normal personality. Out of her other 3 flockmates, 1 SLWyandotte is done molting, other SLWyandotte dropped feathers like crazy everywhere for the past few days but she's normal acting, and the Buff Orpington is only dropping a few feathers a day and otherwise normal. What are your thoughts on this?
20201124_185357.jpg
 

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
2,745
5,085
357
Moore County, NC
Same poop, just wiped up on white toilet tissue and smeared a bit for better viewing of the bits.
20201124_185444.jpg



Her tail is still up like normal. I know that molting is hard on them and going through anything else while molting can be worse on them. That paired with the fact that Sue is just Petite overall and always has been, it's got me worried.
 

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
2,745
5,085
357
Moore County, NC
Here is Sue right now. She's wanting to go back to her coop and to bed. Her flock has always been the first ones to go to their coop ready for bed in the evenings.
20201124_194526.jpg
 

azygous

Enabler
Dec 11, 2009
21,647
29,211
1,012
Colorado Rockies
You are right to be concerned. Some chickens hit molt fast and hard. It often affects appetite, and once in a while, a molting chicken becomes weak from starvation, and that weakness causes even more loss of appetite and weakness.

I have an eight-year old Welsummer named Mabel that has very hard molts. She's petite to begin with and she's also timid. She becomes very withdrawn during molt, and I check her heft often to determine if she's losing too much weight. If I see her off by herself and not moving much, I pick her up, bring her inside, and give her a special feeding of cooked egg and yogurt or other food that she can't resist.

The idea is to keep her strength up so she can complete molt without dying of starvation. I suggest you do this with your hen. Her poop signals she isn't eating. It's bile and urates and nothing else. Feeding her specially should help her produce more normal poops and give her more energy.
 

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
2,745
5,085
357
Moore County, NC
You are right to be concerned. Some chickens hit molt fast and hard. It often affects appetite, and once in a while, a molting chicken becomes weak from starvation, and that weakness causes even more loss of appetite and weakness.

I have an eight-year old Welsummer named Mabel that has very hard molts. She's petite to begin with and she's also timid. She becomes very withdrawn during molt, and I check her heft often to determine if she's losing too much weight. If I see her off by herself and not moving much, I pick her up, bring her inside, and give her a special feeding of cooked egg and yogurt or other food that she can't resist.

The idea is to keep her strength up so she can complete molt without dying of starvation. I suggest you do this with your hen. Her poop signals she isn't eating. It's bile and urates and nothing else. Feeding her specially should help her produce more normal poops and give her more energy.
Thank you. I actually have a hard boiled egg in the fridge that was leftover from the day before yesterday that I'll warm and cut up for her. Since she has contents in her crop, I guess I should probably keep her inside tonight so I'm better able to keep an eye on her poops and check her crop in the morning. I'll go ahead and get a weight on her so I'm able to keep up with it from this point on. The poop after the one pictured was urates only :-(
Do you think this sounds like a good idea? I hate to keep her away from her flock, but I want to be able to keep a close eye on her poops. Thanks again. I'm going to fix that egg for her now.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,483
112,891
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
Can you fit a crate in the coop?

When I have a bird that is acting 'off' I isolate bird in a wire cage within the coop for a day or two....so I can closely monitor their intake of food and water, crop function(checking at night and in morning before providing more feed), and their poops. Feel their abdomen, from below vent to between legs, for squishy or hard swelling. Check for external parasites or any other abnormalities.

Best to put crate right in coop or run so bird is still 'with' the flock.
I like to use a fold-able wire dog crate (24"L x 18"W x 21"H) with smaller mesh(1x2) on bottom of crate under tray.
Then you can put tray underneath crate to better observe droppings without it being stepped in. If smaller mesh is carefully installed, tray can still be used inside crate.
 

azygous

Enabler
Dec 11, 2009
21,647
29,211
1,012
Colorado Rockies
Whatever is necessary for you to treat her to the best of your ability. Sometimes keeping a chicken indoors is the best thing for all concerned. She should respond quickly to the feedings, regaining energy quickly.

If she doesn't, then you will know there is likely something else going on. If she isn't much more energetic in the morning, I would suspect an infection, and perhaps you might consider an antibiotic.

When a chicken is lethargic from hunger, they recover practically at the speed of light. I noticed a Black Sex link today that has begun her first molt. She was sleepy and sluggish. I snuck her away from the others and gave her some food she could take her time with in peace and quiet. She was her normal self in an hour. If your hen hasn't transformed to a noticeable degree, then she's got another issue.
 

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
2,745
5,085
357
Moore County, NC
I'll reply to threads in just a bit but I wanted to share this picture of Sue. She loved the egg and gobbled up a lot at first then seemed to have her fill. She does keep going back to it for another peck or two.
I should have weighed her before she ate almost half an egg. Should I let her have as much as she wants? Her crop was at least the size of a golf ball before.
20201124_205009.jpg
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom