Shrunken off color comb .. sick hen?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by REL, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. REL

    REL New Egg

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    Jan 18, 2008
    York Springs PA
    First I want to say this is a great site…I’m new to the chicken mania and this is probably the best source if information I have found.

    In mid July of this year my wife, on her way home from work, found 2 chicks in the middle of the road. We assume they were escapees from a delivery to one of the local broiler farms. Well here it is 7 months later and we have 2 very large white hybrid hens (Patty and Selma). They started laying the day after Christmas and we have gotten 18 eggs so far! The last 2 were enormous.

    Within the last 2 weeks Selma’s comb began shrinking and loosing it’s bright red color. Also she is loosing tail and neck feathers. The feather shafts are still in her neck but that is it., Tail feathers, when they come out, are coming out completely. All feathers have a dull ruffled appearance. She is eating and drinking and getting around fine. They have a diet of Layena occasional scratch and oyster shell. Could this just be an early molt? She is only about 7 months old. The comb has me concerned because it is about 1/3 the size it was and has kind of a white chalky look almost like there is a little talcum powder on it. No signs of mites. She does not seem to be loosing weight. Patty seems fine. Big, fat and sassy with a large blood red comb. Could this be a vitamin deficiency? Or signs of something else. I have been doing a lot of research and I’m not sure if it is a problem or not.

    Any advice would be appreciated
    Thanks
    Bob
     
  2. BJ

    BJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2007
    Is she still laying eggs? I'm thinking it is not a good sign for her to be losing feathers right now. It is usually a sign of stress or illness...but it is extremely difficult to diagnose exactly "what". Perhaps you should beef up her diet with extra protein since she needs to be growing her feathers back in. There are vitamins you can put in her water, too. I'm not an expert at illness so hopefully you will get more replies and comments. I do know that losing feathers in winter is probably not a good thing. The comb will shrink also when health is not good, but it will also perk back up. You said you are giving them plenty of oyster shell, correct? My birds lost feathers last winter and they did get sick and I lost some. Hopefully someone else here on the forum can help you out better than I.
    Best wishes for good health to your girls.
     
  3. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    You may want to look into the problems associated with meat birds as well as the generic chicken issues. Meat birds are known for having health problems due to their size & breeding. If they were from a batch headed to a broiler farm, they've already lived several months longer than they were genetically programmed for.

    Good luck! It would be a shame for a loved and well cared for pullet not to thrive in such an environment. [​IMG]
     
  4. Pine Grove

    Pine Grove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2007
    Lakeland, Ga
    Eating and drinking, not losing weight, everything seems fine, just going through a moult I'd say, The dry comb is typical of birds moulting.
     
  5. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Quote:Molting at 6-7 months? Wouldn't that be a cause for concern in itself? I'm just curious cuz I've got a lot to learn.
     
  6. Pine Grove

    Pine Grove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep chickens, especially pullets will go through a partial moult losing neck and tail feathers at around 6-7 months of age, some have a full moult if they started laying at 41/2-5 months. How else would a cockerel hatched in April have the adult looking hackle and sickle feathers at a year old?
     
  7. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Sounds like molting to me.
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If those "feather shafts" you are talking about are big and fat, they may be pin feathers, if so she's moulting.
     
  9. REL

    REL New Egg

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    Jan 18, 2008
    York Springs PA
    Thanks fot the responses...I'll keep an eye on her. She just started laying on 12/26 and we have gotten about 15 eggs since. She did lay a soft shelled egg yesterday. last good egg was on tuesday the 8th. Anything i should do special as far as diet or care while she is molting...it's supposed to get pretty cold here the next few days...the coop is heated and insulated...
    thanks
    bob
     
  10. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    I would get her on a good nutritional/vitamin supplement while she is molting (AviaCharge 200 is a good complete supplement >you can order online from McMurray or Strombergs) ...plus give her freechoice live culture yogurt daily and some sunflowerseed hearts.
     

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