Molting Hen is walking funny

Bigbluefrog

Songster
Aug 9, 2019
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570
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Central Wisconsin
18 month old hen is having a hard molt with pin feathers everywhere. She is walking foot over foot like a drunken hen.
she is very timid right now and is avoiding the others. I put her in the sick bay and moving her seemed to hurt. So now I just leave her be and try to place food close to her . She is sleeping in the separate coop ( my extra coop for sick or young ones) on her own.
It is my first molt so I don’t know what to do. The other ones are molting too but not as much.
and still walk okay.
 

azygous

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Your hen does hurt to be touched, so avoid that. She may be starving and is suffering weakness from it. While you have her isolated, give her warm sugar water, a teaspoon in a cup of water, and feed her high protein things like scrambled or boiled egg and tuna or mackerel or raw liver. Once she regains her strength and is walking strongly again, return her to the others.

I give all of my flock canned fish once or twice a week during molt. There is such a demand for protein during molt, sometimes some chickens just don't get enough.
 

Bigbluefrog

Songster
Aug 9, 2019
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Central Wisconsin
Your hen does hurt to be touched, so avoid that. She may be starving and is suffering weakness from it. While you have her isolated, give her warm sugar water, a teaspoon in a cup of water, and feed her high protein things like scrambled or boiled egg and tuna or mackerel or raw liver. Once she regains her strength and is walking strongly again, return her to the others.

I give all of my flock canned fish once or twice a week during molt. There is such a demand for protein during molt, sometimes some chickens just don't get enough.
Thank you! I will do that. Someone said egg bound but that would mean soaking a chicken in salt water and I don’t want to touch her but I could give more calcium. I do have calcium oyster shells offered at all times. I will look for tuna
 

azygous

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It won't hurt to give her a calcium tablet in case she's egg bound. If she's laid eggs in the past week, that could be a possibility, especially if any were of poor quality. You don't always need to soak an egg bound hen, by the way, and sometimes it stresses the hen so much, it defeats the purpose.
 

aldarita

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Aug 2, 2012
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I've noticed thru the years, when some of my hens have a hard molt, they sometimes walk funny, it seems to me like they lose their balance, I believe it's the lack of feathers that offsets their normal balance. I always give them a higher protein feed and extra dry grubs. I never thought about giving them canned fish, it is a good idea!
 

Bigbluefrog

Songster
Aug 9, 2019
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570
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Central Wisconsin
I have a hen who is having a terrible molt. I'm doing the exact same thing. She's coming inside for some TLC and some extra protein. And a break! She's the lowest on the pecking order.
I made the mistake of picking her up- ouch! For both of us!
today she got extra protein- doing much better - when I get home will see if she is sleeping by herself. Amazing that she chose the other coop - she has two options go with the big gals or by herself
 

PBchick213

Hatching
Jul 16, 2020
6
2
9
Thank you all for this thread! I have a hen who will be two in March- she is going through a hard molt (picked the coldest time of the year!!!) she has pin feathers all over her tail, wings and body. Today she started walking like she had issues with balance, she almost looks like she is trying to lay down between steps. She is eating minimally but she is drinking well- Ive been taking her inside when temperatures dip near freezing- our lowest hen in the pecking order seems to be picking on her too.
I also noticed her poop has been more loose and today it was green! (She hasnt had any greens lately) She is getting supplemental protein in addition to her fermented Scratch and Peck layer feed. I also gave her some tuna the other day which she loved. The good thing is it appears her feathers are growing in very fast! I feel so bad for her, she obviously looks like shes in pain. This thread has been so helpful. Thanks!
 

azygous

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Your hen is most likely weak from hunger @PBchick213 . Hard molt saps appetite, and the result is a starving chicken. Intervention is necessary if she isn't to slip further.

Try to coax her into eating by tempting her with foods such as boiled rice with raw egg or hardboiled egg mixed in. Wet cat food or Vienna sausage or tofu can get necessary protein into her. Put a bit of sugar into her water to elevate glucose and give her a energy boost.

And stop removing her from the flock. It does her no favors and she is treated more as an outside when she returns. She will not freeze to death.
 

PBchick213

Hatching
Jul 16, 2020
6
2
9
Thanks! She ate some today, I separated her while in the run and gave her food and Grubblies. I have been giving her some honey in her water. Hoping she is ok soon!
 

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