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My molting hen keeps TIPPING OVER! What's wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants

    FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants Out Of The Brooder

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    May 14, 2009
    The Jersey Shore
    My bantam Brahma is going through a horrid molt! Now she can't keep her balance toddling around. Is it because she has no flight or wing feathers left? She's stumbling like she's dead drunk! What to do?
     
  2. tulie13

    tulie13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2009
    NW Florida
    Have you checked for any other problems? Is everything else normal? (eating, poo, etc.) How's her crop? Is it hard/impacted or big/soft/squishy? Does she smell unusually bad (breath or otherwise)?

    Read the list of questions in the stickie at the top of the page - any other changes in her environment?

    My first inclination is to check the crop, but I've had crop issues with my birds, so that's "my thing". That may not be it at all. But it's something to check. Let us know more info - answer the questions in the stickie post at the top of the page.
     
  3. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
  4. FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants

    FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants Out Of The Brooder

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    May 14, 2009
    The Jersey Shore
    OK, I checked her crop and it doesn't seem impacted. It's protruding a bit, but she has almost no feathers on her entire body (she's a mass of 1/2 inch quills), I'm probably noticing it because it's not covered at all by feathers. Also, she's been moved into a cat carrier in my laundry because she was shivering so much. It's dropped into the thirties at night a few times this week. I'm serious, she's totally naked except for a few feathers on her bum and the top of her head. Her molt was so fast! Within three days she dropped almost all her feathers. She's a one and a half year old Light Brahma bantam. She's been eating some of her normal food along with some hard boiled egg. This morning she ate some cherry tomatoes. The wobbling seemed to start when she dropped all her wing feathers. She looks like she's got "buffalo wings"!

    She's pooping fairly normally, although less than normal, because she's not eating quite as much. She also goes bananas when I try to touch her. Do the quills hurt, i wonder?

    I can't seem to find the sticky at the top of the page with the symptoms that you were referring to. Where do I find that?
     
  5. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    One way to diagnose botulism was to pull on the feathers. If they came out easily, botulism. You sound like this may be what is happening.
     
  6. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    If you click on
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=219553

    you'll see the hen in the first photo with the drooping wings.
    Have you read that thread yet?

    Pay attention to post #11, and post #17.
    If you need more than this, pm threehorses directly and ask her if she thinks it's botulism, or something else.

    I fear your girl needs a flush and she needs it quickly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
  7. FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants

    FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants Out Of The Brooder

    52
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    39
    May 14, 2009
    The Jersey Shore
    My hen doesn't have drooping wings or a drooping head. Her feathers are regrowing, but they're still in the quill stage. Also, she's not lethargic and has good color. She doesn't have diarrhea. I don't know what else to check.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
  8. threehorses

    threehorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston
    First things first - I find that birds when they have a really dreadful molt like that get anemic way faster than normal, and they get flat out sick. their immune systems are most definitely lowered, leaving them more susceptible to other things.

    If this were my hen, this is what I'd do.

    First, I always eliminate the possibility of nearly microscopic parasites - lice and mites. Lice you can check for during the day, mites take more effort as you have to check at night. It might be that they've been on her and left, leaving her in an anemic state.

    Second, evaluate her diet. Where she is now, she needs daily vitamins, a completely fortified supplement age appropriate that has additional protein. For molting hens, I really like gamebird feed which isn't surprising as I like gamebird (not gamecock) breeder/layer for my laying hens. She needs all the calcium she would for laying because calcium is required for feather building. SO is protein and also fiber. So a complete feed is in order. She could also benefit from a week's worth of daily vitamin supplementation as she's not taking this in stride. Her immune system will need the boost of an oil-based (not water based) vitamin supplement that has a range of vitamins. I like NutriDrench for this, or polyvisol baby vitamins (without added iron, see the vitamin section, oddly not the baby section, of your local drug stores).

    I would also make sure that she gets probiotics of some sort daily to help her system deal with the stress. Yogurt, acidophilis capsules, Probios powder, just some live bacteria.

    As for the quills, YES they hurt. Imagine wooden pencils poking through your skin, without the benefit of the slick paint, and there you have it. That and hormonal changes, and the body needing more than it usually does. So think pencils through skin while PMSing while fighting a cold. YAY!

    I'd keep her in a warmer place because of her feathering. I'd avoid feeding her grains, just a high protein feed. Give her oyster shell as usual, and clean water, the vitamins for a week, and maybe even a little egg twice a week to help those feathers coming in.

    I think that if you give her that starting tomorrow, she'll perk up for you. Botulism, she wouldn't be alive right now, and she would be excreting feces that were very runny and unbearably smelly. She wouldn't be able to hold up her head. So that's good news. I think we can get your hen through this.
     
  9. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    Thank you threehorses! Once again, zooming in to save the day!
     
  10. FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants

    FlyingByTheSeatOfMyPants Out Of The Brooder

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    May 14, 2009
    The Jersey Shore
    Thank you so much for the encouraging advice! I will try my best to follow your prescription, and I will post an update when I have something to report.

    How much polyvisol do I give her? I think I can find the drops which I used to give to my kids.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009

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