Molting? Should she be separated?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lablover, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a red sex link hen that is about 16 months old and has lost a lot of feathers on her back and tail. She has not laid an egg in a few months. Her comb has shrunk, and she seems weak. She spends the day away from the rest of the flock eating bird seed, and just being very quiet. She has an appetite, but I don't think she's getting all that she needs. I feed chick starter, oyster shell, oats, and just recently black oil sunflower seeds with the shell still on. She has also been getting cat food. She seems to prefer laying on the ground at night. I have also noticed the rooster chasing her as well as the pullets we added a few months ago. Is she molting? Nothing seems to scream illness to me, as her symptoms all seem external. She is growing new feathers. Should I separate her? I have a 10x10 dog kennel coop with a run attached. If she needs to be separated, I am thinking of making a small triangle shaped pen in one corner of the coop to keep her in. That way she will be secure, but still part of the flock vs separating her completely. Would this work?
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    No she doesn't need to be separated, but the adolescent rooster might need to have a rest in a separate pen for a few days if he is bugging the hens too much. She needs extra protein right now since she is molting, and the cat food can be a good boost to help re-grow feathers. ACV in the water and a bit of yogurt once a week always help to keep the healthy.
     
  3. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol, he's actually the same age as most of the flock. He has 5 hens (including the sick one) that he was raised with. Those are his top girls and the pullets haven't quite merged with the group yet. I still wouldn't mind separating him. But it does sound like she's molting? Everything I've been reading points to what she is doing, except separating her self and staying alone.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    They really don't feel good when molting, and some hens will actually die from all of the stress. If you separate her the way you described, it might give her a rest and keep her status in the flock.
     
  5. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh that's aweful! This is their first big molt ( I think ) and she is the only one taking it this hard. Thank you so much for your help!
     
  6. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    It does sound like she's molting. The pale/shrunken comb, lack of egg laying, and feather loss are all classic signs of molting. I've heard that production type hens, such as sex links, tend to go through really severe molts, so that might explain why your hen is the only one taking molting hard. I'd give her some high protein foods, such as cat food, mealworms, or other insects, to help her grow in new feathers faster. If mounting by a rooster or pecking by other birds injures any feathers growing in, I think it would be best to separate her. But as long as she seems to get along with the rest of the flock, isolation isn't necessary.
     
  7. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I heard that too. It really seems as though the flock has completely left her. The other hens do not peck her, but she stays completely by herself.
     
  8. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    AT 16 months,she should not be on chick starter feed,as per your post. She should be on layer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    That is not true about the chick starter--many people choose to keep their chickens on starter/grower or all flock that is 18-20 percent protein. All you need to do is provide extra calcium for the layers in the flock on the side. There is no rule that anyone needs to feed layer if providing calcium. Extra protein sometimes help during a molt, and helps to prevent feather picking.
     
  10. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I realize that you can keep them on grower,but have not heard of chick starter. I am well aware of the benefits of added protein during molts. I still feel that not enough calcium is provided this way,usually give layer(contains calcium) or grower and provide added calcium in the form of crushed oyster shells,crush egg shells,necessary for egg production. In Canada my grower and layer feed also contains Selenium and Vitamin E,something that chick starter does not have. Each to their own.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013

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