Moody depressed chooks

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Annie J, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Annie J

    Annie J New Egg

    Jun 17, 2016
    Hi all... I know there have been a few posts so far on depressed chooks and I hate to carry on another conversation but Its literally a matter of life and death for my beloved girls (according to my partner) and I need to exhaust all avenues before making that decision.

    I have five chooks of mixed breed types who are generally happy individual and busy foragers with a large yard during the day and are let out to free range on the property in the evening. They don't appear to be sick at all... Food goes in and comes out pretty successfully the other end with no obvious dramas.

    Three have recently gone through a molt and it is winter here at the moment which probably explains the total lack of egg production from them all but my problem is that they have just recently seemed to have become completely depressed. They tend to all huddle together in their yard during the day, there's no more usual chicken tunes and when they are let out they all head straight for underneath the house and sit there together for hours. No scratching around anymore at all. I thought maybe they might have been scared by a chicken hawk or something to make them hide but this behaviour has been going on for several weeks now. Has it just become a flock behaviour habit? There is no obvious issues apart from a bit of scaley leg mite but surely that's not enough to zap the life completely out of 5 chooks in one hit.

    Any help or ideas at all would be great fully received.
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] This is unusual for hens, especially if for such a long period of time. Do you recall anything out of the ordinary happening around the time when they started doing this?
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    [​IMG] - glad that you have joined us. My first thought would be that something as scared the living daylights out of them, but that is a long time for the behaviour to continue. Sorry that i cannot be more helpful.

    Best wishes

  4. poodlechicks

    poodlechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2013
    I'm wondering if they were indeed scared by something and now they have become habituated to this behavior. If you haven't done this before, entice them out of hiding with a favorite treat and see if normal behavior shows up even for a bit. With time and repetition, they might start to incorporate a new behavior and abandon the old habits. Also, observe them from a distance if you have the time, to make sure nothing keeps scaring them during the day. If not, block their hideout after they come out for treats. Do that only under supervision because they might really be hiding from a creature you haven't seen.
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Molting is incredibly hard on birds. Feathers are made of 80% protein and many times molting makes birds tired and miserable enough they don't eat enough. So what happens is, the growth of feathers can sometimes draw on their systems to get all they need to produce these feathers. I have noticed in my flock similar looks...they look tired after hard molts. However if they are at all suffering in some other area, molting can kick them over the edge. What I am getting at is, have you wormed your birds lately? They say external parasites go hand in hand with internal parasites. Leg Scale mites do burrow deep under the scales into the bones and suck out the blood just as other external mites. They can cause bone and blood infections as well. And on this note, check your birds for standard mites too. They will suck the life right out of a bird.

    If these were my birds, I would get some Ivermectin Pour on and dose each bird behind the neck. 6 drops on the skin only for standard sized birds, 3 for Bantams. Dose them once a week for a couple of weeks. This will take care of the Leg Scale and any other external mites. I would also worm my birds for internal bugs. I don't know if you can get this in your area, I use Safeguard Liquid Goat Wormer or Valbazen. 1/2 ml for standard breeds, 1/4 ml for Bantams. Orally down the throat for 3 to 5 days depending on whether you have ever wormed or not.

    Then after a couple of weeks, I would add probiotics several times a week in the water and or Apple Cider Vinegar. The ACV will help to balance the PH in the body to help them ward of disease and keep the intestines nice and sour..helps keep the pathogens, cocci and other nasties at bay.

    I would also get them some liquid vitamins down them, something like Nutridrench or some sort of children's vitamins. Vitamins do wonders for sick, weak and even just slow birds. Especially those that have just gone through a molt, their bodies may be depleted. The lack of sunshine can effect chickens as well, mentally.

    Good luck with your birds and I hope you can pull them out of this funk soon! :)
    2 people like this.
  6. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    2 Crows has given you a lot of food for thought. I hope they will come out of this funk and be regular chickens again. I wonder if you sat out with them - maybe listening to soft music - it might arouse their curiosity.
  8. Annie J

    Annie J New Egg

    Jun 17, 2016
    Thanks for the comments two crows and everyone else. Plenty to thunk about. I haven't yet tried worming but will give it a go. Surely can't hurt. I think that it has possibly turned into a behavioural action now. There is some sign of small venturing out but never too far. so will consider blocking off the house to stop them. Thank you again for your comments.

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