Pale comb and molting - Im clueless

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Shannonwbl, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a wyandotte that appears to be molting. She stopped laying, is losing feathers and her comb is pale. She doesn't appear to be behaving abnormally though. Is that normal?

    I also have an amerucana that I think went through her molt - losing feathers etc - but after a couple of months she is still not laying.

    Is all this normal? I thought they would start laying sooner and from what I read it is late to molt.
  2. beautifulbirds

    beautifulbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi there,
    what are you feeding your birds? A pale comb usually means they are ailing? When did you last worm them?
  3. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    Actually, there are a LOT of people who have molting chickens right now. Seems like a really poor choice of timing, though. My mother had an EE finish a bit ago but it has easily been a couple of months since she laid an egg. She also has a GLW who recently started. Wow, I just realized it is the same type as you. [​IMG] As long as they are molting and not laying they will have a pale comb. I think I read that the comb color is related to hormones which is why? I THINK?
  4. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Chillin' With My Peeps

    So glad to get a response!

    My girls free range and have access to layer pellets or crumbles, and oyster shells. I have been putting food grade DE in their food and on their bedding, but because they free range all day they really don't eat much of the feed. I also give them black oiled sunflower seeds as a treat.

    My Amerucana looks much better (more filled out), but is still not laying. My GLW is beginning to fill in a bit, but she is not laying. Her comb is still pale but may be a bit better though it is hard to tell.

    We are still pretty new to this and I thought I understood that the DE should take care of the worms without concern about the eggs. Is that right?
  5. beautifulbirds

    beautifulbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, but there is no guarantee that they are going to eat enough of it, or often enough. I mean chooks do pretty much what they want; it's not like you are spoonfeeding them 'exactly' what they require to deal to the worms.
    Regularity is always best. Sunflower seeds for their plumage; pumpkin seeds for the worms - green, organic if possible, ground up (2cups to 25 birds) in their feed for a week.
    Not laying: due to age or feed usually. A lot of people feed pellets and mash and nothing else but I disagree and think that chooks need a whole LOT more. I feed the following and recommend it to others.
    Mine get a stew twice a week; fed hot if it's cold weather and cold if it's hot weather. I make a stew just like you would for yourself. I start off with onion and plenty of garlic, sautee the meat (do not add salt or pepper), throw in a range/mix of garden-fresh (not frozen) veges and boil until the meat is tender and falls apart when you press it with a fork. Do not thicken the stew. Throw in 2/3 cups rice and let the stew liquid 'cook' into the rice or be absorbed. This will thicken the stew naturally. When rice cooked through serve, or do it the day before and heat and serve the next morning; depending on the weather. Always stir the rice so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan.
    Twice a week make them a salad, lettuce, tomatoe, cheece, grated carrot, chopped raw garlic and onion and anything else they will eat. Do not add seasoning or oil.
    Twice a week do a mash; freshly ground wheat, corn and oats is best. I use a coffee grinder for mine.
    One day a week feed fresh raw meat and greens.
    Every day put 8 drops apple cider vinegar in their water.
    Every day make sure they have plenty of green food, raw.
    Every day make sure they have wheat/corn on offer in their pens.
    Doesn't matter that they free range, what are they free ranging on?
    Anyway, mine start laying before they have finished bringing up their babies and I put it down to their food.
    Hope this helps
  6. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    changing their diet is stressful on a bird ... it is not advisable to give onions!
    >If you have never wormed your birds then now would be a good time to do so as when a bird is weak (as it is during molt) then worms will soon take hold > I suggest a broadspectrum wormer like ivomec Eprinex. (do a search using this as keyword)
    >this is the time for a supplement as the birds will not eat nor drink sufficiently when they are feeling so poorly. An excellent complete supplement is AviaCharge 2000 (sold online from McMurry or Strombergs). You can also look for a supplement sold specifically for molting birds in the petstore (cage birds) ... be sure to dose according to weight (the dosage on the packaging is often for smaller weight birds).
    > add a scrambled egg through their feed and offer a live culture yogurt (no sugar or flavorings) free choice .
  7. beautifulbirds

    beautifulbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    I give onions.
    I have used the Ivomec and I am not sure that I am completely satisfied or comfortable with the fact that it is a drench meant for sheep! Hence the suggestion about the pumpkin seeds.
    You can change a birds diet provided you give MORE rather than less feed. Or you can do it 50/50. I think the main thing here is to decide if your birds need more nutrition and if they do then give it to them.
    Scrambled egg in my opinion is giving the birds themselves which is what led to that awful Foot and Mouth disease in Britain when the cows where eating themselves due to rendered cow products that were being added to their feed. I would NEVER give my birds egg in any form other than the shells which I cook up and then crumble and feed back to them because it makes their egg shells harder.
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Quote:Yes, all of that can be perfectly normal. Some chickens continue to lay eggs during a molt. Many do not, especially if they lost and have to regrow a lot of feathers all at once. During this period of not laying, it's normal to have a paler comb. Mine color back up when they are ready to start laying again.

    Are you providing supplemental light? If you aren't, then the shorter winter days may be why your Ameraucana hasn't started laying again. She may wait until the days start to lengthen again.

    It would be nice if chickens molted according to the temperature, but unfortunately, it's triggered by the length of daylight. They evolved closer to the equator, not in a place with our nasty old winters.

    Sunflower seeds are very good for them when they're molting. It seems to help mine grow their feathers in a little faster.
  9. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, I feel like I have missed a bunch. My poor birds!

    I will get some supplement, but will the eggs be safe? I am worried about giving ivermectin since we eat the eggs. I am very familiar with it with all my horses, but not sure about it with the eggs. If pumpkin seeds are effective I think I would be more comfortable with them. Can you use the ones you get at the store - packaged, or should I just get some pumpkins? If the ladder do they need to be dried or can I just crack it open like I do with watermelon (they love that in the summer).

    What is apple cider vinegar for?

    Just to clarify, they will on be 1 in March, so I doubt age is a problem.

    Thank you all so much!
  10. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    pumpkin seeds should be shelled (they are called "pepitas") however if your birds have an active case of worms they are not going to be effective as a treatment (used for management). If you are worried about the eggs then dont eat them for a few days (although I do not believe this to be a problem as ivomec Eprinex has no withdrawal period for the milk from cows this to me at any rate would indicate the same with eggs).
    Sunflower seeds, yogurt, eggyolk... it is the methionine content (aminoacid) which is helpful for molting.
    The avia charge 2000 is suitable for organic certified and I highly recommend it .

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by