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Need help -have 3 different things going on with 5 of my hens!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jethalt, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. jethalt

    jethalt Hatching

    Oct 27, 2013
    We have 5 adult hens -all 9 months old.
    First and least serious -our Ameracauna is losing a ton of feathers. Whenever she shakes, a few feathers go flying. Could this be a mini molt? She seems too young!

    Second -4 of our 5 girls (not the Ameracauna) have black dots on their combs and wattles. We just noticed them today. I've been researching and they seem to be Avian Pox. And from what I've read, there really isn't anything we can do for them...is that correct?
    Here is a pic of our Red Sex Link [​IMG]

    Third -our sweet Buff Orpington (has a few of these black spots) has been sick for 2 days now. Super lethargic. She will eat a bit of food if we bring it to wherever she is laying down. We have chopped up grapes super teeny for her, scrambled eggs, added Nutridrench to the grape/egg mixture. she's also eaten some mealworms and some sunflower seeds. But not much. Could this be an affect of the possible Pox? or do we have something else going on with her?

    I'm just beside myself. We've tried so hard to give them an easy life...hard to see them not thriving!

    Thanks for any advice anyone may have.

  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Your Ameraucana is probably just molting. Some chickens wait until they are older before molting, but others molt as cold weather approaches and the daylight hours get shorter. In 3-8 weeks, your molting hen should have a beautiful set of feathers again.

    The black spots may indeed by dry Fowl Pox (Avian Pox). The disease is viral, so there is nothing you can do to treat it, other than give antibiotics to prevent secondary infections (which are often more deadly than the disease itself). Fowl Pox usually runs its course in 2-4 weeks. The dry form is not serious; however, there is a wet form which causes growths inside a bird's mouth, and that can be more harmful.

    If not Fowl Pox, the scabs look a lot like pecking wounds or other scratches. It is rather common for chickens to peck eachother on the comb, or accidentally rub against something and scratch themselves. Scabs from injuries usually heal within a week after forming, and their healing can be hastened by applying antibiotic ointment to the comb.

    As for your lethargic hen, I don't think the Fowl Pox (if that is what the scabs are) is the cause. Fowl Pox usually results in few symptoms, unless it is in its wet form, in which case the bird would have trouble breathing and you would notice scabs in her mouth. Unfortunately, many diseases cause the symptoms you are describing, and it is hard to make a diagnosis.

    To aid in diagnosing your hen's problem, I would do a thorough examination of her. Check for any abnormalities (parasites, swelling, discharge, etc.), and note any other strange behaviors.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
  3. jethalt

    jethalt Hatching

    Oct 27, 2013
    BantamLover21 -Thank you so much for your quick response. You have confirmed what we've been thinking. As for the Pox, we've had an unusually high mosquito problem in the last month AND we have quite a few pigeons and doves...all of which I think transmit Pox to chickens.

    Thankful that our Ameracauna might just be molting early...though it's not in a typical molt pattern from what I've read..she's just losing lots of random feathers..no real pattern. :)

    Oh -and our sweet Buff -We've got her inside now. We've checked her best we can. No discharge. Can't find evidence of mites. Her belly seems a bit swollen but not really sure as I rarely felt her belly before. She did open her mouth wide..maybe even a gaping....but she only did it 5-8 times and now seems fine -has even eaten a bit of scratch and mealworms. She laid an egg yesterday, in spite of laying around all day except to go into the nesting box. I feel at such a loss with trying to figure out what is wrong with her because her symptoms do occur in several illnesses!

    I started our Buff on antibiotics tonight..will start the other 4 on them tomorrow as a precaution for secondary infections from the Pox.

    If anyone else has other advice-please feel free to add. We'll take anything!
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Look inside the beak and throat of the Buff orpington for any yellow patches that should not be there, that could be wet pox. If she doesn't start eating better you could always try crop feeding her. Liquids are more important now, and a vitamin /electrolyte mix added to the water may help. Most sick chickens will eat scrambled egg if they have had it before. Not eating is common in pox, and so you will want to make sure everyone is taking food. Worming may be something you might want to do if they haven't been wormed lately. Valbazen is good, as well as SafeGuard Goat wormer. Probiotics would be good if you are planning to use an antibiotic.
  5. jethalt

    jethalt Hatching

    Oct 27, 2013
    Thank you Eggcessive. I tried to look inside her mouth but she is feisty and is having none of it.
    (She was stung by a scorpion a few months back and even in that traumatic state, it was next to impossible to get meds in her!).

    Any suggestions on how to get a good look inside her beak and mouth?

    She did take 2 cold grapes (each cut up in about 20 tiny pieces) a few minutes ago. I was thinking they'd at least help with hydration and might feel good on her throat.

    As far as additives to ALL of their diets:
    I've been giving them ProBios powder in their morning breakfast (layer feed, garlic powder, dried oregano, sea kelp, and Omega feed).
    Today I mixed vitamin/electrolyte powder into 4 of their 6 waterers.

    I will add antibiotics tomorrow to the whole flock.

    Worming -I tried feeding them fresh pumpkin this week. All 5 left it alone. :) I do have a wormer ~should I worm them while they're dealing with the Pox though?

    Anything else I should add?

    Thank you!!

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