Pale comb, no eggs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NinjaChicken617, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. NinjaChicken617

    NinjaChicken617 In the Brooder

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    Hello all! I have an Ancona hen (Florence) who is about 6 months old and has been laying for about a month now. Four days ago she laid a very soft-shelled egg, and hasn't laid since. She typically lays for 3-4 days in a row, takes a day off, then resumes, so this is not her norm. Other than the most recent egg, all of her eggs have nice firm shells and are perfectly formed. The day after the soft egg she spent all day inside the coop up on the roost. She has been outside with the rest of the girls (she is one of 8) and has seemed basically normal the past couple of days. No one else is behaving unusually, and the 4 other girls who are laying are laying normal eggs. Today I noticed that Florence's comb has turned very pale. I don't see any visible signs of parasites, and she is very flighty so it's impossible to catch and examine her closely. I can sneak up on her once she goes to roost in the coop if I have to, though. I'm just looking for either a little reassurance or some ideas about what to look or watch for.
     
    PrettyChickens15 likes this.
  2. PrettyChickens15

    PrettyChickens15 Songster

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    I can't help you with the pale comb.

    Are you providing oyster shells? She may have a calcium deficiency.
    Also I love her name!
     
  3. NinjaChicken617

    NinjaChicken617 In the Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2018
    Massachusetts
    Their feed is specially formulated for laying hens so I haven't supplemented them with extra calcium, but I guess it couldn't hurt, right?
    My wife is a nurse, so Florence is named after Florence Nightingale. Another is named after Clara Barton. I'm a lawyer, so the rest are named after famous lawyers and judges (Sandra, Ruth, Sonia, Elena, Elizabeth and Hillary).
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    It isn't uncommon for young layers to stop and start a bit. Laying soft shelled eggs is much harder work for them and really knocks them for six, so that would explain why she stayed on the roost for a day afterwards. If she is otherwise acting normally then I would not be overly concerned but keep an eye on her poop for anything unhealthy looking.
     
    micstrachan and NinjaChicken617 like this.
  5. NinjaChicken617

    NinjaChicken617 In the Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2018
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    Hi all... just an update to my original post. Florence has still not started laying again. Her last egg was on 10/22/18. She continues to act like her normal self, but her comb remains very pale and almost dusky in color. Does anyone have any ideas about what could be wrong with her? My other hens are all laying normal eggs and doing just fine, so whatever this is only affects Florence. Nothing I've been able to find online gives me any helpful information, and the nearest avian vet. won't talk to me unless I bring her in for a consult. Logistically and financially speaking, that's just not feasible. I'm worried that something is truly amiss with her and if there is something I should be doing or looking out for, I'd love to know about it.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Have you checked her abdomen for any swelling or bloat. This is easiest done by cu your hand between her legs from behind whilst she is roosting and it is best to compare to adjacent birds an idea of what is normal. It may just be that she is having a prolonged break. comb will only be bright red and plump when they are actively ovulating, so her comb being pale and dusky is normal for a bird not in lay. Have you seen her growing any pin feathers? Sometimes they will have a mini moult in their first autumn. It is not common but occurs times with the odd bird and that may be why she has stopped egg production. Have you noticed any feathers lying around in the coop or run?
     
    micstrachan likes this.
  7. NinjaChicken617

    NinjaChicken617 In the Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2018
    Massachusetts
    Hi there! I haven't seen any signs of molt, and I've been watching because I know it's the right time of year for it, even though she's young. She is incredibly flighty so it's hard to catch and handle her. I was able to sneak up on her while she was roosting last week but because she was fighting me I wasn't able to get more than a cursory look at her. I am going to try again today since I have some help. She's the only Ancona in the flock and her body is more lean than the other girls, but I will try to check her vent and abdomen and I'll report back if I find anything amiss.
     
    rebrascora likes this.
  8. My best guess right now is a mini molt. If you get a hold of her, part her feathers and see if there are any pin feathers anywhere. If it’s a slow molt, you might not see many feathers around the coop and run, especially if somebody’s eating them. Good luck!
     
  9. NinjaChicken617

    NinjaChicken617 In the Brooder

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    It was a process, but I was able to catch and examine her. There is absolutely nothing visibly or palpably amiss with her. No sign of mites, her eyes are clear, no discharge from her nostrils, etc. Her abdomen is soft and doesn't seem distended. Her vent is closed tight, but I was able to insert a gloved finger about an inch (I didn't want to go too far for fear of hurting her, as I neglected to bring Vaseline out for lube- duh) and all seems well. My sense is that she's just taking a break for some reason. I did put a light bulb on a timer in the coop and will set it to come on an hour or so before sunrise as a local friend suggested and see if anything changes in the next couple of weeks. Current day length here is around 9.5 hours, and even though it's not affecting the others, maybe she's just particularly sensitive to light.

    I welcome any other suggestions or reassurance. These little critters have no idea how I fret and fuss over them!
    :barnie
     
    rebrascora and micstrachan like this.
  10. Haha! It can really be all consuming if we let it, right?
     
    NinjaChicken617 likes this.

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