Molting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lablover, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a red sex link hen that is acting very odd. She, nor her "sister" has laid an egg in quite a few months. The one in particular has feathers missing from her back and tail, and her comb has shrunk. She either lays in the coop, or spends the whole day in the front yard picking at bird seed while the others forage all day. At night, she slowly makes her way to the coop.... except tonight.... she chose to sleep under the carport. :/ She is usually quite noisy, but lately she has been very quite, and seems to be in her own world. Is she molting? Will she be okay?
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    It might just be moulting, but separating herself from the others during the day and the night as well are two serious signs it may be an illness. If I were you I'd try searching this site for lethargy-inducing, wasting, long term illnesses, etc, anything under those sorts of keywords or any you can think of that suit her behavior. What are her poops like?

    Best wishes.
     
  3. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They look normal to me... regular brown color with white in it.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally black with white is considered normal coloration for healthy bird poop. That differs for different species though, but for chooks, it's considered the standard. What are you feeding them? It's strange that any insufficiencies in whatever feed you buy (if you buy feed) hasn't been compensated for by their free ranging. There may be some illness present.
     
  5. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She is 16 months old and has eaten chick started her whole life. Oyster shell is provided. She also eats birdseed and oats. When I took her back to the coop yesterday, she seemed happy to see the others. I kept her locked up so she had access to food and water. Her appetite is good. But last night I noticed the rooster attacking her, along with the newer pullets that were added a few months ago. She ended up sleeping on the ground. :(
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Is she on layer pellets now? If she's laying it's past the time for chick starter.

    When you say 'birdseed' do you mean anything with added premixed vitamin/mineral supplements? It could be she's overdosing on some nutrient which could be stripping her system of another one (or several) to cope. Under or over dose of anything nutritional is a common cause of disease, but can take years to show. Sometimes it's quicker though, especially with the most important nutrients.

    It's a shame your rooster's adding to her misery. I wouldn't breed that rooster if he were mine. A sick hen may need segregating but she's doing that herself, so he has no need to attack her or drive her away from the flock. It's not the wild, it's domesticity. A chicken that attacks injured or ill chooks is a liability to the whole flock. I don't keep chooks that make decisions for me about other chook's lives, because often the issue is easily survivable and the bully kills anyway or adds injury to illness (or more injury to injury). It's not really a natural behavior. In the wild, if he attacked a sick bird rather than avoided it, he's likely catch its illness and therefore not live to pass on the behavior pattern to attack ill birds. That's actually something we bred into them by intensively caging their ancestors. Maybe she's avoiding the flock because he's flogged her before. His motives may be acceptable to some though, but I prefer to tend my birds rather than cull for even simple issues.

    You new pullets could have brought something in too. However if she's been doing brown and white poops all her life and the others are too I would consider maybe checking over their diet carefully. Best wishes.
     

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