Molting or illness? 8 months old

Ibabz2

Chirping
May 14, 2018
49
34
74
Hello,

My leghorn is about 8 months old and hasnt laid laid for over a month. I figured this was because of the shorter/ colder days. Today I noticed that she looks thinner, her comb is very pale, and she seems to be missing feathers. Her nose isnt running but her breathing sounds a bit wheezy. Given her age I think it's more likely an illness than molting just not sure what is wrong as she acts normal. I added 2 photos of her from today and 1 from summer.
 

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pwiker

Chirping
Jun 19, 2017
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98
71
Lancaster, PA
I would agree that it isnt molting. However, it could be sickness or malnutrition. Can you talk about what you are feeding her and about how much?
 

SniperGoose

Crowing
Apr 15, 2018
302
1,134
257
Central Pennsylvania
Usually a pale comb is a telltale sign that a hen isn't well. The egg laying thing can be explained by the time of year, as most hens usually stop laying over the winter months. She could possibly be going into a late molt? But that still wouldn't explain the wheezy breathing you described. How does she act otherwise? Is she still eating/drinking, doing normal chicken things, etc? Or does she just sit around doing nothing?
 

Eggcessive

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Her comb looks very pale in 2 of the pictures. Wheezing could be a sign of a respiratory disease, but might be a sign of ascites or fluid in the lower abdomen. Since most new layers will continue to lay eggs throughout the first season, I would look at a possible reproductive disorder and ascites. Have her eggs until she stopped laying been normal with hard shells? Reproductive problems are rare in young pullets, but common in older birds. Check her skin around and under her vent, and elsewhere for signs of mites which could make her anemic, and lice. Make sure that your coop has good ventilation, without any wet or moldy conditions, and limit dust and ammonia odors. Those can help cause or worsen respiratory problems.
 

Wyorp Rock

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I see a lot of pin feathers coming in on her neck. Have you examined the rest of her to see if she has new growth coming in elsewhere?

I would check her for lice/mites while you're at it.
The wheezing could be respiratory illness, poor ventilation or a crop problem. While you are focusing on her, check the crop when she goes to roost, then first thing in the morning to see if it's emptied.
upload_2018-12-9_14-22-2.png
 

Ibabz2

Chirping
May 14, 2018
49
34
74
Thanks for all the help! She seems to be eating her layer crumble but not eating much of it. She will eat some treats. I noticed she wasnt drinking water but when I drip slowly from a syringe she drinks it all easily. She hasnt pooped all day from what I can tell. Still very alert though. Her crop feels empty throughout the day.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Sep 20, 2015
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Thanks for all the help! She seems to be eating her layer crumble but not eating much of it. She will eat some treats. I noticed she wasnt drinking water but when I drip slowly from a syringe she drinks it all easily. She hasnt pooped all day from what I can tell. Still very alert though. Her crop feels empty throughout the day.
I would watch her for a few days that's for sure.
Getting a fecal float to rule our worms is always a good idea.

Feel the crop at night to see if there is food in there, then first thing in the morning to see if it's empty.
If she is molting, then she may not be eating a lot, some of my birds don't eat well during molt. Poultry vitamins for a couple of days won't hurt either.

You may also want to take note if she is being kept away from food/water - sometimes molters are more shy and the other birds notice, then keep them run off.
 

Ibabz2

Chirping
May 14, 2018
49
34
74
Took her to the vet today. She said there is either a growth or a stuck egg causing her organs to be squished hence the weird breathing. At this point she noted I will just have to wait and do an autopsy to see what the growth was:/ I didnt want to euthanize her so just waiting to see if she passes whatever it is.
 

Eggcessive

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Could the vet feel any tightness that might have been fluid? Salpingitis, where lash eggs develop in the abdomen, can become very large and put pressure on the organs. Oviduct cancer can be another possible cause of an enlargement in the abdomen. I am glad that you were able to seenthe vet. Did they do an xray? I hope that you will give us an update on her condition if their are any changes.
 

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