Should I be concerned?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sarahsunshine, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. sarahsunshine

    sarahsunshine Songster

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    About 3 weeks ago I bought 7 layers (from the same flock) – 5 are white leghorns that are about 2 years old, and 2 are about 9 month old ISA Browns.

    The two browns are beautiful at all hours, have fluffy bums, and wonderfully curious and friendly.

    All of the leghorns seem somewhat ratty. Some have very bare primary feathers, and 2 of the Leghorns have constantly dirty bottoms. The other three leghorns have relatively fluffy, but slightly dirty bottoms (dry), but the two dirty ones are always slightly damp.

    Now, I’ve been feeding these guys fermented layer feed for about 2.5 weeks, so it should be chock-full of probiotics and protein. They also get 50sqft of fresh grass and bugs every other day. I’ve noticed that the egg shells have been thicker and harder in the past week (presumably from the change from dry to fermented feed). I’ve also made the coop bigger to make sure that they all have room to roost should they desire. Some prefer to sit on the floor (not sure which). Also, they are prolific layers. We tend to have 6-7 eggs every day, so I can’t imagine the chickens are too badly off if we are getting practically an egg from each every day.

    So, should I be concerned? I ask because it is quite difficult to actually catch these leghorns. They are very skittish and hide in very difficult places!
     
  2. newraiser

    newraiser In the Brooder

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    My main rooster , battlefield destroyer, has a bad limp when he walks that just recently come about and it seems to be getting worst day by day what should I do
     
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

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    Some birds just don't keep themselves as clean, or in as good conditions, as others. One of my birds is like that. And, if the birds were previously with another flock before you bought them, it is possible that they were being picked on. Also, birds that are in lay tend to be more raggedy than those who aren't laying. However, it is possible that this is not normal. One idea I have is that it could be external parasites.
    I know you said it was hard it catch them, but it might be a good idea if you did, as then you could examine them more closely. Check for mites or lice (they appear as moving black or yellow dots) near the vent, and see if there is any white discharge/sores around the vent. If they have mites, treat them by dusting with Sevin dust, Diatamaceous earth, or by using Frontline dog spray. If you see white discharge and sores near the vent, it is possible that those birds have vent gleet, which is a fungal infection. You can find information on vent gleet by searching the Internet, or by looking on BYC.

    Otherwise, I would worm your birds (yes, this will also require catching them). Even if you don't worm all of them, at least worm the ones with dirty bottoms. I use a wormer known as the Worminator. It kills all worms except tapeworms (which aren't that common), has a withdrawal period of only 24-48 hours, and is not too harsh on a bird's system. Dosage is one drop for bantam, two drops for large fowl, administered orally. You can get the Worminator from here: http://www.twincitypoultrysupplies.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=584 You can also use other wormers, such as Valbazen, Safeguard, or Ivermectin.

    You say (and I mostly agree) that your birds are getting good probiotics from their fermented feed. However, I think that putting additional probiotics in the water might help. I use probiotics called Probios. If you could catch them, I would possibly isolate the dirty leghorns to observe more closely, even if it was just for a few hours. I'm pretty sure that your birds are fine, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
     
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

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    newraiser, check your rooster's legs for injury, scabs, swelling, overly-raised scales, fractures, or apparent dislocation. It is difficult to diagnose without more information. One possibility is bumblefoot, which is an infection in the foot pad of poultry. It shows up as a swollen, hot pad, often with a black center.

    Also, how old is he? And do you know if he was vaccinated for Marek's Disease? If less than a year of age, especially if he wasn't vaccinated, Marek's Disease could be another possibility.
     
  5. sarahsunshine

    sarahsunshine Songster

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    Thank you!

    I gave them a whole bunch of ash to 'bath' in last week, and they all loved it.

    I agree that it is probably best if I do catch them and give them a thorough examination (and possibliy a warm bath). I just worry about stressing them out too much if this dirtiness is caused by stress. That would tell me much more. Now when will I have time for that (LOL)?

    I believe that it is just two chickens with bad cleaning habits, that don't roost and thus are messier... But at least if I give them a thorough bath I will know for sure! I wish I could tell them apart! Maybe I will give them leg bands!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  6. sarahsunshine

    sarahsunshine Songster

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    Gave the two worst culprits a bath last night (never tried that before, 1 got away and we had to catch her with a sheet over her head!). No bugs, vents looked healthy, but obviously molting.
     
  7. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

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    Molting can tend to make a chicken less healthy in appearance, and less willing to clean herself. That could be the only thing that is making you hens look rough.
     
  8. sarahsunshine

    sarahsunshine Songster

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    I forgot to add that two of the white chickens had really nice fluffy butts this morning - and I attribute it to roosting rather than sitting in their poop on sawdust. Now, how to convince the other 2 to actually roost?
     

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