Post-molt chicken is skinny and antisocial

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ella&clara, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2010
    Hi
    My 3 year old Barred Rock molted back in October and has mostygrown back her feathers. She hid and was cranky while she was molting, which seems normal in my flock of chickens, but she's still behaving that way. I've told the rooster she's not in the mood, but he doesn't care. She's not one of his favorites, and when he mounts her he's gentle--no injury. I don't notice that the other hens pick on her ; she's been one of the dominant ones that attacked the rooster when he first came. She is extremely skinnny--protruding breast bone wifh no fat. She flies out of the coop and roams around. I would wonder if she's sick but she seems fine otherwise. I would allow her to continue roaming but 1 I'm afraid something will eat her and 2 I'm tired of having my flower beds destroyed,. They have plenty of room to move and this arrangement has served us well for a couple of years. Right now I'm letting her sleep in the other pen, alone, with special food. I'm wondering if I should move a "nice" hen in with her to encourage her to return.. But the rooster will probably be unhappy...I'm going to need them to tolerate close confinement over the holidays. Any ideas?
     
  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If she's not done molting, it probably still hurts when he mounts her, even though it doesn't seem like it should. You can try putting a hen saddle on her til she grows out. It does sound like she has some other problems....perhaps lice or mites could be one reason why she's slow to get all her feathers back, and she may have worms, have you dewormed her? Your giving her special food is a good thing. There is a reason she's not returning. We've had hens do that a few times, and it is always while they are in molt, so I know they are trying to stay away from the roosters. She may also be skinny partly because she's afraid to claim her share of food, in her efforts to stay away from the rooster, because they will frequently jump on a hen while she's eating or distracted. But definitely sounds like other factors to me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  3. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! How do you deworm?
     
  4. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    there are several broad spectrum dewormers on the market and that's what you want. don't get something just for roundworms. Many people use Safeguard paste for goats but I'm not sure what the dosage is there, that's hard for us to use here as you have to dose that individually. You can buy Safeguard for poultry on line, firststatevetsupply.com carries several broad spectrum dewormers, including Safeguard for poultry, and there are several other places to get stuff like that. If you want to buy locally, Rooster Booster sells a broad spectrum dewormer as a pelletized feed, available in most feed stores, and I saw another one recently that looks a little easier to use, called Strike, that TSC sells. It's also a pelletized feed that you mix with their regular feed. Not the most accurate on individual dosing, but it works ok, or they wouldn't sell it. Read the directions though as there is a withdrawal period on all dewormers, before you can eat the eggs or meat again. Deworm the whole flock, not just her. And then deworm every six months or so. You may have to more often if you need to get a bad worm infestation under control. Also you should make sure your birds have access to a dust bath. If you want to go natural, wood ashes or garden sulfur work well to control external parasites. We use Insectrin powder occasionally in their dust baths, too.
     
  5. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Also if you can catch your hen, I would, and put her in separate housing where she can still hear and see the others, but she can stay away from the rooster. That is, unless she will tolerate a saddle. We had a BR bantam hen that did what yours is doing, I had to catch her in a live trap, lol, cause she was spending the nights outside, and she was starving herself. She would not tolerate a saddle, it was too bad as it was a really cute one I bought on here...it didn't really fit her very well either, so if you go that route, make sure of the size. but she grew out totally, in her separate pen, and once she did then she was ok to go back with the flock. [​IMG]
     
  6. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the information. I guess this is as good a time as any to deworm if it comes to that since they aren't laying much. Before I do that, though, is there a way to determine for sure if they have worms? I watched her carefully today, and she looks great except for being skinny, and not having all her feathers in--they are in, but not long enough yet. All her skin is covered though. She looks very healthy, bright red comb and clear eyes. I remember seeing worms in dog poo before, but I know the vet also checks a sample of the poo every year so I suppose there are microscopic worms. Hmmm I have a microscope, is that something you can see? Or could I consider taking a sample to the vet's? I don't think worm tests are more than about $15 and if it's negative by the time I paid for unnecessary wormer, throwing away eggs, etc I'd be close to $15. I'll see what I can do about living arrangements. I'd like to get them back together by Christmas because then I'll have to put them in an enclosed pen while I'm out of town. I can give her a hiding place though.
     
  7. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Yes, you can get the vet to do a fecal test for you. You usually don't see worms, or at least I never have. Sometimes you can. There are many kinds that can infest chickens, and they are everywhere. Christmas is still a few weeks away, she should be fine by then if you can feed her up and get her feathers back in the meantime.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014
  8. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the information. I'm going to call the vet tomorrow and see what they say. If they say I am a crazy person, I'll just go get something from Tractor Supply. I'd really like to know what I'm dealing with so I can treat it correctly. I live in the South and have never done anything about worms for 3.5 years so I guess I got lucky so far. She has a very full crop every night, so there's nothing wrong with her appetite.
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    let us know what the results show, if you get the fecal. [​IMG]
     
  10. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So my chicken, named "Grampy" because she's gray and grumpy by one of my dd friends, now has an official vet's record: She's not spayed, not vaccinated, and 3,5 years old. I paid $26 for the test, and it had to be sent off so I'll wait to see what the results say.
     

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