nurturing distressed birds

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by danielejock, May 16, 2011.

  1. danielejock

    danielejock New Egg

    May 16, 2011
    I recently got 8 laying leghorns from a guy who just wanted to be rid of them. Good deal right?!? Well the problem is that they are distresed and laying only 3 eggs a day among the 8 of them; very uncommon for the famed egg machines. They were raised for a year in a good sized coup and a 8' by 16' run. When I picked them up, the conditions were very unsanitary and they only ate the grain pellets; nothing green ever. His backyard was pretty much forest and he said that hawks would sit on top of the cage and drive the chickens crazy all day. 4 or 5 of them are molting and are bare all around their bottom. Some seem to even be bleeding with poop and dirt all stuck on them that the others are pecking at. My coup and run are not much bigger than his was, but there is a lot of greenery and I let them free range for 1-4 hours a day. I'm trying to nurse them back to health by just giving them a better living situation with pretty much no stress except the neighborhood cat which is more a nuisance than a threat. They seem to be getting along perfectly with my 3 existing chickens. Is there anything that I can be doing to help them get back to normal more quickly?
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    First of all, you shouldve put those Leghorns in quarantine for about 30 days, possibly longer. You dont know if they are carrying diseases, internal or external parasites that your chickens can easily pick up, especially coming out of unsanitary conditions. Likewise, your hens could infect the Leghorns as well. Think biosecurity. What is done, is done.
    I recommend you clean the "poopy butt" from them, use scissors to trim the feathers if warm water soaks dont dislodge the stuck poop from their feathers. Visually inspect all of them for lice/mites. If you see any, use sevin dust on them and redust them in 10 days. Their living quarters will need to be dusted in the same manner. Your 3 hens will need to be dusted as well.
    I recommend you worm all of the chickens with valbazen, dosage is 1/2cc given orally to all of the chickens. Repeat worming again in 10 days. Throw the eggs away for a total of 24 days.
    Three days after worming, feed them scrambled eggs mixed with buttermilk in their feed to make a mash. Do this for 3 or 4 days. Repeat again after their second reworming. Ensure when they go to roost at night that they all have plenty of room inside the chicken house...this will prevent picking/pecking...less stress. You can purchase gamebird feed which is higher in protein to help aid in feather regrowth. Supervised free ranging is best. You can hang a head of cabbage or two in the chicken pen while you're not there to keep them occupied. Provide fresh feed and change water daily. Immediately seperate any chickens that act or sound like they have a cold ie...sneezing, wheezing, coughing, gurgling etc...
    I've had Leghorns before and they are normally high strung and can stress easily, interrupting their egg laying. If you follow my recommendations, you'll get them back in shape as the egg laying machines that they are in no time. Good luck.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Dawg has given you excellent information, as he usually does.

    I just wanted to welcome you to BYC.

    Thank you for giving those poor birds a good home. They may be leghorns, but they deserve a decent life just as much as the next creature. I will keep my fingers crossed that it all goes well for you and them. [​IMG]
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    [​IMG] from California!

    I'd also give them (and the rest of your flock, too) some BOSS (black oil sunflower seed) as a treat a couple times a week, if not daily. It's higher in protein than "scratch" (usually) and it helps promote feather growth.
  5. danielejock

    danielejock New Egg

    May 16, 2011
    Thanks for the info. I'll do the valbazen. I've had them 5 days now and they look and act normal in every other respect besides the bald bottoms and dirty feathers. Only about 4 or 5 of the 8 are molting. They are together with my other hens only in free range so they keep their distance usually and when they're close they don't bug eachother any more than they usually do amongst themselves. They sleep in different areas. It doesn't look they have any mites but I'll look closer when I do the valbazen and clean their bums. I'll need some help to hold them. Thanks again.

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