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Molting or Mycotoxin? Hen not doing well.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chuckzoo, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    This quote is from threehorses "But another thing that is coming up a lot lately here in the US that I'd like for you to check for, oddly - and mind you if this is it, it's not the normal reaction to it: molt. I'd check her thoroughly for any signs of feather loss and (most importantly) new feathers coming in. Start at the head - that's where you're most likely to see the "pin feathers" that come in (in their casings) during a molt."


    I was going through the posts trying to figure out what is wrong with my 9-10 month old BR hen when I came across the post (part above). She has stopped laying and there are a lot of feather in the run, and yes she has new feathers coming out on her neck. The problem is she is not doing well - eating very little, does not appear to have much of an appetite even for treats. She eats a bit of it and then leaves. She does however have an appetite for lettuce especially the core. She has been pooping very little but her poop appears normal. At times she seems normal but mostly she is hunched over slightly and seems a bit puffed up. I have checked her vent and all seems fine. I thought she might have something lodged
    in her crop and gave her 5ml olive oil today. Since she has been eating so little I have tried offering her anything she may fancy. Boiled egg, sunflower chips, BOSS, layer mash mixed with warm water, shaved peanut butter type suet and meal worms. She liked them the meal worms and ate a container full ~ 100 small ones. Then went and ate some grit. I did notice at one stage that she seemed to have something in her throat because she kept on swalloing and opens her beak widely. Did this about 5 times.

    One of the issues you raised on the botulism discussion was decaying vegetation. I let them out to forage in the little patch where I had my summer garden fenced with a short fence but they got over the top and were scratching around the pen where there is decaying straw and leaves and what looks like white mold under the leaves/straw. She is not exhibiting any type of paralyses or anything of that nature. She oddly does lift her wings up quite a bit as if she is going to fly!

    They do not free range very much and are feed mostly on layer pellets with BOSS for a treat.

    I have started adding electrolytes and vitamins to their water since it is getting rather cold here this week - lows under 20F.

    Could it be that she picked up some type of toxin from the decaying leaves? I have not tried to pull any feathers out but a lot where coming out when I brought her into the house to try get her to eat a bit more without my other hen around (I only have two).

    Does this sound like a molt or some kind of mycotoxin?

    If it is a molt how long does this last does it make them feel that bad?

    Your advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Jenny
     
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Well, mealworms are about 50% protein so VERY good for growing in new feathers!!!

    I have heard others say that molt made their birds lose their appetite, so hopefully it's just that.
    I was gonna suggest tuna, low sodium if you can get it, my birds always like that! Keep plenty of grit out for digesting those mealworm exoskeletons too.
     
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    If it is from a hard molt..

    I had good luck with canned cat food to get one of my hard molting girls interested in eating. She was in bad shape and wouldn't even go for the scrambled eggs, but chowed right down on the wet cat food. Cat food is high in sodium so I'm not suggesting making that a regular part of her diet, just use it as a jump start. My hen was eating scrambled eggs and gamebird feed after about a day and I didn't need to use the cat food anymore.

    ETA: I also brought her and her bff in for a few days so she didn't have to use any energy to keep warm and I could keep a better eye on her.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  4. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    She still has most of her feathers. Would molting make her feel like she doesn't need to eat? She eats very little at a time.
     
  5. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,873
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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Quote:I'm not positive your dealing with a molt problem, but I don't know what else it could be either. [​IMG]

    For now I'd just keep trying to get her to take as much food as you can and keep a close eye on her. See if she's interested in the wet cat food, that made all the difference with one of my hens and update if she gets any new symptomes. Concentrate on high protien foods as much as possible. Hopefully somone who knows more will come along soon.
     
  6. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I have her in the house right now it's so cold ~ 20F (that's cold for Alabama). She ate some meal worms and a little of her layer pellets mixed with warm water and vitamin powder and a bit of egg. Oh and she ate some of the grit she tried to pick out the small pieces - I don't know why they make it so big! I am going to try some grated apple and the cat food. She has her feathers on her back puffed up even though it is 70 F in the house. Thanks for your support.
     
  7. new_to_chickens

    new_to_chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 1, 2009
    I am curious to know how your hen is doing? This sounds like what my one BR hen is going through. Please keep us (me) posted! Thanks...
     
  8. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Thanks so much for asking!

    She is still not eating very much, although she does go for the lettuce and any greens, as well as sunflower chips. I let them out for a while in the sun yesterday and she acted quite normal for a while. She still has the yellowish color on her face although it doesn't seem as yellow. I felt her abdomen yesterday and she didn't seem to like that. I didn't feel any eggs and didn't expect to since she stopped laying about a month ago and has the distictive yellow color on her beak of a hen that is not laying.

    I just wish I could get her to eat more!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  9. new_to_chickens

    new_to_chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 1, 2009
    chuckzoo: thank you for letting us know how she is doing. I am happy/embarrassed to report that I believe my girl is just molting! Who knew?? I have been increasing the flock's protein intake just to make sure that none of the others get this scrawny.

    I hope your sweet little hen pulls through (I love Barred Rocks!)...keep us updated!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  10. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Thanks again!

    She seems to be doing a good bit better - showing a little more interest in food. I mixed some wet cat food will their laying pellets and warm water and she like that! Her 'attitude' seems to be better too, but I hope I have not lost her trust - she no longer jumps up on the edge of their little run to be picked up or petted. I think it is because I tried to examine her from head to toe to see if there was anything amiss and she certainly did not appreciate that! I hope she will get over this, but they say birds have good memories so I hope I have no ruined the bond of trust for life.[​IMG]

    My husband asked another guy who also lives in this area if his chickens were eating much and he said NO! So maybe I am over-reacting. My two hens were eating a lot in the fall and when I read all the posts of how much peoples chickens were eating I thought there was something very wrong and started to look for a reason. You would figure with the onset of winter that they WOULD eat more. Maybe mine just haven't read the "Instruction Manual on How to be a Good Chicken"
     

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