Pullets losing too much weight HELP!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ibarbidahl, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 pullets they are aprox. 28 weeks. I got them about 5-6 weeks ago. They were thin when I got them and since then I moved them into a much larger enclosure (from 7'x36" to 35' pen) less than a month ago they are now thin as rails. I know part of it could be that they now are getting exercise, but they are truly scary skinny suddenly.

    It was my intentions to worm this weekend but I'm afraid to now as they are starting to get weak. (As of last night one is showing signs, not as balanced and face is beginning to pale, egg is a bit thin) They are still alert and active but not eating much of their layers pellets (free choice in feeder) any more. I think they are now waiting for me to get home in the evening to free-range. They are stuffing their faces and going to bed with full crops of weeds, seed heads and bugs and such but still losing weight.

    I may have inadvertently created my own nightmare spoiling them to the point they have made themselves sick. :-(

    I need them to put on weight and FAST!

    Do I worm them this weekend knowing it could kill them? My kids would be devastated.
    Should I put the weight on them first?
    What can I use to do that? I have cracked corn - can or should I feed it free choice until they get some weight on and then worry about weaning them off it? Will it harm them besides perhaps not providing enough calcium and protein> I can give tuna or wet cat food (IF they will eat it) and mix in some crushed limestone.

    They used to go through a feeder of crumbles in 2 days. (small Little Giant feeder) Now a feeder of pellets lasts nearly a week. I think they are snubbing it, much to their own detriment. Whoever said they wouldn't starve themselves is wrong.

    I went to the feeding forum they said to try wetting the pellets, but I guess my girls are too picky for that, too.

    Can anyone help me?
     
  2. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a little concerned that your pullets were sick when you purchased them.

    That being said, let's see what we can do for them. You need high protein foods and vitamins. I would purchase poultry vitamins and keep that in their waterer. Feed scrambled eggs, mealworms, hotdogs, chicken livers, hamburger...anything with a lot of protein in it. Game bird food...I'm trying to think of many things.

    When you wet their food, mix it with yogurt and some apple sauce. This should get them to eat it. I'm not surprised if they are free ranging that their feeder lasts longer. That's not a problem. If their crops are full, they are fine. However, the weight loss is not. Since they are so skinny, I would take a fecal sample to the vet for diagnosis. Grab a bit of quite a few droppings and take it in. That way, you will be able to treat for the exact problem not just a hit or miss. The vet will be able to give you the appropriate medication. Even if your vet doesn't see/treat chickens they should still be able to do a fecal flotation...ova are ova no matter the species.

    Good luck with your pullets! I hope they come around soon.
     
  3. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is the game bird food more palatable to them? A crumble or pellet? Or is it like layers ration and available both ways?
     
  4. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have only been able to find it in crumbles. It is much higher in protein then their regular layer feed. There is a poultry conditioner that is pellets.

    I feed my sick chickens the game bird food and will mix it in with the yogurt mash also. I've found both kinds at Tractor Supply.
     
  5. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Couldn't find the game bird feed at my tractor supply so I got chick feed 20% and have been feeding whatever handful of meat we have at dinner as well as some yogurt. I wormed on Sunday after a few days of the higher protein diet. The pullet whos face was pale - is back to being red again but her comb is a bit smaller now. (red is good though!) She is better balanced, too. So I'm a little less worried now and I think I'm on the right track.

    I will worm again in another 10 days and when this bag of feed runs out I'll switch back to layer (16%) crumble.

    I do have one question though. The stupid bag of feed had corn bugs (weevils) Should I not feed it any more? I did feed it this weeked because I really needed to get them something, but the more I think about their week immune systems.... *sigh* if it isn't one thing, it's another!

    More protein in the weevils or possible problems?
     
  6. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    On sick birds I worm them with liquid Safeguard for goats. You can put 3cc per gallon of drinking water to worm all of them..do for 5 days..repeat in fourteen. If she is not drinking well then give 1/2 cc directly dribbled in beak every.other day for 5 treatments.
     
  7. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wanted to bring this to the top for an update. I did worm them and I finally found some game bird. Purina was the only brand I could find. Expensive, but my gals are worth it.

    They just started to put on some weight again and I decided to throw in some nice fresh paper shreds this weekend and realized on Sunday night that they are EATING the paper shreds. I will needless to say NOT be using paper in the run any more. Apparently this is why they were losing weight, not for any other real reason.

    I just wanted to update in case anyone else manages to come by with the same seeming healthy birds, eating less but still eating, still drinking acting mostly normal... check for a change in bedding. Had I not watched a new dumping of shreds right before their bed time I would have never seen them slurping them up. I'd imagine it takes a good day or more to work through their system and there is no caloric uptake.

    :-( They are still underweight and I'm still not done cleaning out the run of the paper yet. Guess I'm on the search for something economical and less uh- hmm...food looking?

    [​IMG]

    I updated in another forum, too. I don't mean to duplicate but because my little flock lost weight so quickly to this I worry that someone else may not catch it before it's too late!
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you did well switching to crumbles. Some birds just do not like pellets. I mix crumbles and pellets so everyone gets what they want. Glad to hear your birds are doing better.
     
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    My chickens hate pellets. They eat shavings on occasion, esp. when younger like yours. I see them eat feathers too. And they get a good diet.

    If I want to add weight, once a day I make them mush out of their food, and they think it's the greatest thing!
     

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