Not sure if my hen is molting or sick?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by yogini67, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. yogini67

    yogini67 New Egg

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    Apr 14, 2012
    My hen Ella has been losing feathers for the last month...in the last couple of weeks she is losing many more feathers...her face looks pale/whiteish specks (?)..they are not pox or lesions...she is eating less/not excited about food and is skittish/hiding out...this is not how she usually is...of my two hen friends she is the gregarious, outgoing one, who always comes up to me...

    I don't think it is mites as I clean their coop weekly and see none...

    I know it could be cocci or worms too...just at a loss as what to do...should I take her to a vet? My resources are limited...
     
  2. HS Pye

    HS Pye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like lice (just a note: chicken lice cannot spread to humans). First check her rear and see if you see anything unusual like little sacks connected to the fluff or little black or white things on the skin. To treat for lice just get some quality cat flea, tick and pest shampoo (usually $10-$20 at the pet store) and bath her in it. I did this with my chickens who had lice (same symptoms) and they are now doing great!

    HS Pye
     
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Could you post a photo? How old is Ella? Chickens usually molt at 1-1 1/2 years of age, at which point they lose feathers and may become more lethargic, pale, and with shriveled combs/wattles. Once they are done molting, they will return to normal. To help speed up the molt, you can give high protein foods like wet cat food, mealworms, and other insects.

    Mites and/or lice are another possibility. In that case, you can treat her by dusting with 5% Sevin dust or poultry dust, spraying with another poultry mite/lice spray, bathing her with flea and tick shampoo, or by applying some Frontline Flea and Tick control (its made for dogs and cats) to the skin under her vent. You might want to consider doing this to your entire flock, as if one bird has mites/lice, almost every bird usually does. It would also be a good idea to clean out the coop, spray it down with vinegar or a mite/lice spray, and then put in fresh bedding.

    If not molting or external parasites, then worms are my next idea. I would purchase a good broad-spectrum wormer like Valbazen, SafeGuard, or the Worminator (it contains Flubenvet and is what I use). You can usually purchase those wormers from a livestock supply store, and the Worminator can be ordered online from here: http://www.twincitypoultrysupplies.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=584

    Other than that, I'm not exactly sure what could be wrong. If possible, I might consider isolating her so you can monitor her condition. Keep her warm and comfortable, and minimize stresses (loud noise, animals walking by, etc.). Perhaps offer some vitamins/electrolytes in her water, and encourage her to eat by feeding her favorite foods.
     
  4. yogini67

    yogini67 New Egg

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    Thanks SO much for responding!! I am worried not only bc of her feather loss and paleness but bc she seems more skittish of me, which is not her at all...
    I had heard diatomaceous earth is good for lice, etc..but can get Frontline, etc..have Revolution for my cat, but not sure if that is safe since it has heartworm med in it too...As far as vitamins and electrolytes what do you suggest...putting apple cider vinegar in her water...
    I can worm her too as if it will not hurt her to do so, I might as well..Her friend Sarah is completely fine...
    Ella is probably about 2-2 1/2 years...rescued her and her sister as an adult from a backyard farmer...
    I am about to leave the house, but will post a good pic of her/her condition when I get home in a couple hours...going to go pick her up and look under her wings for lice, etc..

    Thanks again...i have been worried sick and will take her to the vet if I need to...just want her to feel better...
     
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Diatamaceous earth is all right for preventing/controlling milder parasite infestations, but is not very effective on large infestations. Also, I forgot to mention this in the above post, but Frontline is not licensed for use on poultry. Therefore, eating the eggs of the treated bird is not recommended. Sevin, poultry dust, or some other lice/mite spray would be a better idea if you want to eat the eggs. Worming her will not hurt her as long as you don't overdose (or underdose--you don't want to think your birds are safe and then find out they're not).

    Lastly, do you know what breed of chicken Ella is? Production type birds, like sex-links, Rhode Island Reds, and leghorns often molt late in their life, but with difficulty. Molts with them are particularly hard on the bird's system.

    You are welcome! I hope that Ella becomes normal soon.
     
  6. yogini67

    yogini67 New Egg

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    Thanks for the note about the eggs...I am vegan, so either give the eggs to my mom or feed them back to Ella and Sarah...I won't use Frontline just to be safe, but look for Sevin, poultry dust, etc at the feed store as I want to treat her as soon as possible and will worm her on the low dose side just to be sure...

    I am not sure exactly what breed Ella is, but suspect a mix of Rhode Island Red and Wyandott (sp?) just by her color and patterns...I am attaching some pictures...I live by myself and was unable without help to "catch" her to pick up today...so couldn't check for mites, etc...but will try again tomorrow...I cleaned the coop and put down fresh hay and they just went to sleep.

    I can't tell you how much I appreciate you all taking the time to respond...it really is so kind and very helpful!
    [​IMG]

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  7. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    She's a very pretty bird! I'm not sure what type of mix she is, though Golden Laced Wyandotte is probably part of it. If you can't find Sevin at a feed store, you can usually order it online or find it at a plant and garden store.
     
  8. yogini67

    yogini67 New Egg

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    She is feeling better! Still pale, not laying, but has seemed to stop losing feathers, is eating better and more herself...scratching and dust bathing up a storm! I bought something to dust her for mites and lice and Wazine to worm her and Sarah, her sister as they have never been treated before and spend their days wandering my back yard.... Thanks for your help...will keep you posted!
     

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