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My favorite chicken has some problems..

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by firehog, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. firehog

    firehog Chirping

    Jul 27, 2009
    I don't know how old she is, got her a couple of years ago from a couple of ladies who didn't know her age. She walks crooked since it appears her neck was broken at one time or she has a birth defect. A large bone is jutting out from the side of her neck coming from her breast bone I think. she is my favorite because she makes a nice "cooing" sound whenever she sees me come out of the house. Last summer she lost a lot of feathers in her chest area and on the top of her wings. They never grew back, even though i would rub oil on her skin since it looked red and painful. she is now going into more of a molt and with Winter coming on am concerned she may have trouble staying warm. She normally is the first to come racing out of the coop when I open the door and tell them "Let's go scratching!!" which I do every night since their normal run that is fenced is quite barren.. (12 chickens in a 50 x 50 enclosure.)

    Stacey did not come out tonight and was making mournful sounds and would not eat her special treat i give her every night. I know this sounds ridiculous but I was thinking of getting an old wool sweater and somehow making a little "coat" for her, with holes cut out for her wings and legs so she will be warmer.

    Am I being a little too overly concerned for her? I have been giving her a little hamburger meat every night for the extra protein to grow the feathers back but no luck. I can't find any mites on her that may be eating the feathers. Could she have some intestinal parasite? all the other chickens are healthy.

  2. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    First of all -- NO, I do not think you are being over protective of this special needs hen.

    Alot of people would send her on to Freezer Camp, and yes, I can understand that too.

    But if you can -- and are willing -- to provide her with a good home despite her disabilities, then I think that you are doing the right thing in looking to be a bit over cautious with her. I even think that is commendable. Not everybody can rescue a special needs hen like you have, but isn't it wonderful when somebody can?

    There is a place that makes chicken aprons for chickens. They advertise in Backyard Poultry magazine, and they may advertise on this website too. I bought a few aprons from them when my roo wore his favorite hen down to raw skin back last summer, and they do work -- well they did, till my gal figured out how to get hers off. It took a few weeks for her to figure that out, though, and it got her through the crisis point without me having to isolate her.

    A ready made chicken apron might work for your special needs lady. But if not, it could provide the sewing pattern you need to sew up something better suited to your hen's needs. (For example, she might need a softer fabric than the apron these folks are selling, if she has sensitive skin, which it sounds like she has.)

    I don't know anything about internal parasites, but my gut suggests to me that that is NOT the problem here. Are the other birds picking on her? Are they blocking her from food and/or water when you are not around?

    Hamburger is one way to give her supplemental protein. Might I suggest plain yogurt as another way? One of those yogurts like Danactive that have alot of beneficial gut microorganisms in them? This would provide extra protein, calcium AND beneficial gut microorganisms.

    Do you have access to RAW milk? Not anything that is pasturized -- which is what even most small dairymen sell.

    You might have better luck finding RAW milk if there is somebody you know who has a milking goat, since goat milk is less likely to have been pasturized. I think most people who have milking goats just drink that milk without pasturizing it first.

    The pasturization process KILLS the beneficial gut microorganisms that could really help her out right now, which is why regular store bought milk would not help her. In fact, the pasturization process kills off the microorganisms that help our bodies digest milk, hence so many people nowadays who cannot drink milk because they are "lactose intollerant." (Ever notice how lactose intolerance didn't seem to be a problem in the days when most people drank milk straight from the cow or goat?)

    Both me, my family and my chickens drink truly RAW milk on a regular basis. My wife is lactose intolerant, and thought she could never enjoy a dairy product again, until we discovered raw milk and a way to LEGALLY purchase it for our family's use. (In Tennessee, you can obtain raw milk for human consumption legally IF you learn the convoluted legal way to do it, and then follow the law 100%).

    Anyhow, IF you have access to RAW milk, then that would be the single best thing you could give her right now, because it would provide her with easily digestable organic sugars, protein, calcium and beneficial gut microorganisms.

    But if you can't get RAW milk, then the next best thing is to feed her some plain yogurt like Danactive -- one of those brands where they purposefully try to put back some of the beneficial microorganisms that the pasturization process killed off.

    And yes, continuing to feed her some hamburger is OK too. It's just not as good as microorganism fortified yogurt or RAW milk...
  3. ovofrappe4u

    ovofrappe4u Hatching

    Nov 29, 2010
    not sure what raw milk is going to do for regrowing feathers and too much milk and the chickens will be squirting like crazy. They can handle a bit of fat but too much... not good.

    besides raw milk is expensive if you can find it. Cottage cheese is cheap and easy to to find. Even using 100 percent whey protein that body builders use would work out cheaper per oz when you mix it. Raw milk at 7 bucks a quart when you find it... too expensive. if you have your own cow or part of a cow coop / milk sharing program.. i guess but i would still think twice about.

    The coat idea is sound but its going to get messy. To the bald spots you can apply bag balm or udder cream to the bare skin both will act as a good insulator. Plus it will help prevent her or other chickens from plucking feathers from her.

    Feeding more protein could help or at least encourage the other feathers to grow in more lush and oil. Adding more wheat to your scratch, feeding a good high quality high protein dog food is an option. I use peas as a protein boost. Costco has monster bags of frozen peas for cheap. The suggestions for high protein food for chickens is extensive here on the site.. do a little reading for more ideas.

    More importantly, since its been since the summer that feathers are not coming in. Is there a chance that the other chickens are picking on her? or she is doing it as an attempt to rid herself of a parasite. Root around in feathers, maybe its lice.

    Are you being overly concerned... NO... Ask anyone who has taken their chicken to a vet, they are? The answer will be no.

    good luck ...keep us posted?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  4. nelgkel

    nelgkel Songster

    Apr 14, 2010
    Quote:I pay $8 a gallon!! our family loves it!

    I hope you can get your favorite hen lively and healthy soon. I have no idea what would help, but I don't think you are being too over protective. I am sure she would love a little fleece cover up..
  5. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    Quote:Raw milk provides:

    1, a easily digestable form of protein,

    2. an easily digestable form of calcium (to aid in egg production, if she is still producing eggs),

    3, an easily digestable form of natural sugar for quick energy (something a lethargic chicken really needs),

    4, natural, beneficial gut microorgansims -- which, IF this little lady is suffering from internal parasites (something that was at least momentarily considered in the OP), then it might help with them too. There is no guarantee on this -- it really would depend on exactly what internal parasite(s) she had, if she even has any. But the fact is that beneficial gut microorganisms assist in digestion and control of parasites in both bird and man more than most people know.

    Raw milk can be costly if you have to buy cow's milk from one of the few legal raw milk providers out there.

    But alot of country folks keep a milking goat or two around, and might be willing to share/sell some of that goat's milk cheaper.

    And there is possibly another option -- commercial raw milk producers have a very short window between the time that they milk their cow and the time that they are allowed to sell the milk. (Or, in the state of Tennessee, there is a short time that they can charge you for the labor involved in milking and bottling the cows that you legally own a share of. Please don't ask me to explain this -- I'm NOT a lawyer.) If they cannot sell the milk (or charge for their services in bottling the milk from your cows) in that short period of time, then they are not allowed to collect money at all.

    But the law (at least in Tennessee) does not prohibit them from GIVING the old milk away IF IT WILL NOT BE USED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

    It might be possible to ask the raw milk provider if they would give you a bottle or two of OLD MILK -- raw milk that is too old for them to collect any money from. If you try this, make sure to mention that you want the old milk for your pet chicken, and not for human consumption. They might be willing to give you some, if they have old milk hanging around in their cooler.

    I drive out to my dairy producer's farm, even though they deliver to the Memphis area, because if I drive all the way out there, then she gives me free old milk for the chickens.

    It's worth a try...
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

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