Sick or molting?


Nov 24, 2019
I have a chicken that seem withdrawn and getting skinny. They stand about turtling their head into their chest like they do when ill. Can't really detect any other symptoms other than slight skinniness of the keel. Any ideas?

There is another one skinny for awhile, I notice 'cat food' breath sometimes. Since I got her she has been on and off wheezing (and clucks silently sometimes) as if there's something in throat, but this has been months now. I figured anything disease-wise would have passed, but maybe not?


Apr 6, 2014
Melrose Park Illinois
Chickens can be like all other living things. Not all will end up robust and athletic like most of the rest.
I agree if it was a certain disease, it would have passed, or chicken would have passed. :(
There are not many things to cure chicken diseases that are financially justifiable.
Yes, there are medications available to treat certain conditions, but what you describe seems not a regular disease, that I know of. Maybe someone else experienced something similar, and found a practical solution.:thumbsup
Of course it is important to keep an eye on chicken's health if the flock is large, and danger of loosing a livelihood is at stake.
Not sure what you mean by cat food breath?? If chicken is eating cat food, it is not a bad thing. View my Avatar. Cat food is quite high in protein. My chickens have been raiding my cat food bowls for the past 20 years+.. I keep cat food outside for my feral rescues. :hugs
Only side effect of too much cat food, would be runnier than usual stools, and somewhat slightly smellier.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,:highfive:


Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
Do you have any pictures of the chicken, or can you post a short video to YouTube with a link here of what they are doing? How does the crop feel—empty and flat, full and hard, dough-like, or puffy? Check it again in early morning. Is the chicken eating and drinking? Does the beak smell sour or rotten? Does the wheezing sound like she has crop contents coming back up into her throat? Lastly, what do you feed them?


Nov 24, 2019
If chicken is eating cat food, it is not a bad thing. View my Avatar. Cat food is quite high in protein.
(chicken 2) Yeah, but the issue is she hasn't been eating cat food to my knowledge 🤔 so I wondered if it was some kinda crop issue. She's always wheezing but I'm half-convinced it's some sorta growth at this point. It doesn't seem to really bother her or change her behaviour at all, still one of my most proficient layers. She did lay a weird 'very thin shell' egg a week ago, but it seems to have been just a blip. She was one of the chickens I picked up at a laying farm and I heard they're prone to health problems since they only expect them to last a year. Couple of the older ones died already from various random things despite trying to treat them, would be convinced that my chicken rearing skills are terrible if it wasn't for the fact that none of the chickens I've raised from eggs have been ill or died (yet >_>)

Does the wheezing sound like she has crop contents coming back up into her throat?
Kinda crackly. It gets louder if she has been running around, almost like 'chicken asthma' lol.

(chicken 1) The other chicken with trouble *is* one I hatched from an egg, the first one in fact. I saw her more interested in food today though on checking crop it seems 'squashy'. Going to have to check this layer since I didn't notice in the morning if it was empty. No smell though. She's still standing around in one spot looking sorry for herself. I don't know if she's even been laying for the last month because she picked up a habit of visiting the neighbours to lay. They put out food for birds so I'm wondering if she has been filling up on bread and other unhealthy things instead of eating the proper food.

Lastly, what do you feed them?
They get layer pellets, some cracked corn/wheat, occasionally cooked eggs, lately quite a bit of raspberries. They range in woodland-ish garden area so lots of random leafs and bugs to pick. (though what they get in the neighbour's garden... who knows :E )

chicken 1 (withdrawn skinny)


chicken 2 (mcwheezy throat)


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