Please Help!!! Hen off balance and swaying while molting!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rajadito, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Rajadito

    Rajadito New Egg

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    Hi, I hope someone can give me some feedback on this issue. She's the first chicken I've had the pleasure of owning and want her heathy and happy!

    1) What type of bird , age and weight.

    RIR hen 2 years old, unsure of weight.

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.

    Raji began molting 2 weeks ago. Her molt looks ok as all lost feathers are replaced with pins. Within the past few days she began swaying and walking off balance. She still holds her head up. She isn't as active as usual but still talks and bosses her flockmates around. I attributed her inactivity to molt but now she's a staggering mess. She has no problem finding food so I don't believe it is vision related. I felt her keel and it is slightly exposed, her belly and crop feels fine, and poop looks normal. I haven't noticed any changes in skin or comb color.
    She hasn't layed since she began molting.

    3) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    No sign of trauma or injury. She's the top hen so I don't think her behavior is due to a peck on the head.

    4) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.

    My concern is botulism. We've had some rain resulting in earthworms in the water dish and food sprinkled on the ground got soggy. The girls are free ranging in the garden space and will eat fallen green tomatos which may be rotting.

    5) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

    She's been eating her normal diet of 16% protein layer crumbles and hen scratch as well as foraged tomatos, brussell sprout leaves and insects.
    I regularly add apple cider vinegar to the water and oyster shell is provided.

    6) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    poop looks normal

    7) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    This am I added several teaspoons epsom salts to water in an attempt to flush her system. I also fed her a large amount of plain yogurt and cooked oatmeal sprinkled with reptile multivitamins.

    8 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?


    no vet if needed.


    10) Describe the housing/bedding in use

    medium sized double walled (for insulation) coop with pine shavings. I am planning on adding more ventilation to the coop this week as I moved the coop to a corner of the yard and airflow may be restricted by a wooden fence. Could a lack of ventilation lead to the symptoms I'm seeing?

    Thanks in advance for anyones help![​IMG] (I am not worthy)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  2. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

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    I hope someone comes along that knows how to help you but to give her an extra boost growing in her new feathers you can give her some cat food for extra protein....Good luck.
     
  3. nikolc

    nikolc New Egg

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    Oct 26, 2009
    I just signed up on this board to type the EXACT post that you have. I will be watching to see what feedback you get.

    My top 2 year old barred rock hen is a daily egg layer. She stoped laying 2 weeks ago when she started molting (a lot of bare skin showing on belly and rear but there are new feathers present) and in the past few days I started to notice her swaying to one side when she walks.

    She also holds one of her legs up some times and it shakes....

    As I am typing this I think I am answering my own questions. She must have an injured leg right? What can I do to help her?
     
  4. Rajadito

    Rajadito New Egg

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    Yeah Raji sometimes holds a leg up and shivers however I think these are thermoregulatory mechanisms. I'm not sure why she waited until it got cold to molt!
     
  5. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

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    BTW Welcome to both of you!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Rajadito

    Rajadito New Egg

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    I brought her inside this am to keep her warm. She is still wobbly and is now walking lower to the ground. I fed her more cooked oatmeal and yogurt and some dog food. What else should I do??
     
  7. grammaschicks

    grammaschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2009
    Hi - Looking thru forum for answers to the same questions you have. My 2 yr old (supposed to be California White) always good layer, and head of the henhouse, started molting 2 weeks ago and chicken coop looks like there has been a chicken murdered out there - there are so many feathers, She has no tail feathers and even wings are pretty much gone. Neck is bare. She eats well but hasn't laid in days. Normal poop. This AM when I went to let them out, she walks like she is drunk. Have 3 other hens and no one else is acting this way. It has rained pretty much all month and colder than normal. Brought her in and put her in cage in basement so she could stay warm and dry. Hope someone can give me some suggestions.
     
  8. Damummis

    Damummis Chickenista

    Apr 29, 2009
    Mid-Coast
    Have same problem with a 18 month old EE. Looking really sad. Hope we all get some answers soon.
     
  9. Rajadito

    Rajadito New Egg

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    I kept Raji inside last night in a small dog kennel. When I took her out this morning and evening she pooped right on the kitchen floor.[​IMG] Her poop was pretty watery from the epsom salt flush but VERY smelly (more so than any animal poop I've ever smelled). What could cause their poop to smell so terrible?
    I then fed her a hard boiled egg, wet crumbles, plain yogurt and a smashed up tomato which she ate ravenously. I also gave her some vit E and fresh water with acv. She is still off balance when she walks and I noticed today that her legs and the skin between her toes are looking slightly red. can molt be so stressful that it leads to these crazy symptoms? I'm keeping her inside tonight as it is cold outside and hoping I see some changes soon! I feel kinda bad keeping her so confined!!
     
  10. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know. If it's just molting and you don't have something else going on at the same time you could try canned cat food. One of my RIR's is having a really hard time with her molt and the extra protien in the cat food seems to be helping her. She's not as bad as what you're descibing, just kinda lethargic and off, but it might be worth a try for you too. Good luck!
     

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