Skinny hen - thought was broody, but now I think she's sick.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by songbird, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. songbird

    songbird Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 16, 2009
    New England
    Hello, everyone,
    I posted a few days ago on a different board about my silkie hen, Pansy. She is about 8 months old, and has been just staying in the nest boxes most of the time. She seemed to be in whichever box had eggs. She would come out to eat and drink, but didn't go out in the yard to free range with her 7 "sisters." She felt moderately thin, but otherwise seemed physically normal. Her stool was no different than the others' stool. Only recent change is that we rehomed our 2 roosters about 3-4 weeks ago.

    Today, she seems more lethargic, and is in a nest box that does NOT have eggs. (there were 3 eggs in the box next to the one she was in.) After I picked her up and put her on the floor to eat, she ate, then went outside for awhile with the other hens. After that, she returned to that same nest box - the empty one.
    She feels really thin today - her keel has lost muscling just since last week when this started.

    I think all of my hens are a bit on the thin side. They eat a layer crumble, lots of "people food", and they free range about half the day, every day.

    I was told many months ago that their stool seemed normal, but to me, it doesn't seem normal. Maybe you can help me on this. Sometimes it is formed, green, puffy stuff. Other times, it is FOUL smelling (pun intended!), reddish brown, and gooey.

    Does anyone know might be causing chronic weight loss and this type of poop? Is this coccidia? Mold? They have never been medicated for anything...yet.

    Thanks so much! Please help me save little Pansy!
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    I would deworm them and also check them for mites/lice. Parasites can cause otherwise healthy chickens to lose weight.
  3. songbird

    songbird Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 16, 2009
    New England
    Deworm with ivermectin? And as for mites/lice, what do they look like, and is it hard to see them? We handle the hens all the time - my kids play with them/pick them up every day, and I haven't noticed anything, but maybe I don't know what to look for?
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    The occasional smelly brown poop is likely just cecal poop. One out of every 10 or so poops should be like that. See, for example:

    One thing I'd wonder about is whether your hens are filling up too much on "people food" and not getting the right mix of nutrients. Something to consider.

    And as far as Pansy goes, can you tell where she is on the pecking order? Is she maybe getting bullied by one or more of the others? Sometimes that can be why a bird hangs back and stays away from the flock.
  5. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2008
    You need to check her diet: a layer food with a minimum of 16% protein should be available to her at all times. People food or treats should never be more than 5 to 10% of a birds diet.

    Next as already mentioned here: check for parasites, around the vent area, under the wings and all over the bird. Good time to do this is in the evenings with a flashlight, when they are on their roosts.

    Worming is an excellent idea as well. I can highly recommend to bring some fresh feces samples to your vet for a fecal egg count, just to know what you are dealing with. However, not all worm species and their eggs/larva will be seen. Out of my own experience I would never start to worm with ivermectin again, always start with something milder like "Wazine" first, to get the roundworms and than about 2 weeks later you can do the "Ivermectin pour-on" as instructed on BYC here many times by threehorses, Glenda, Diana and others. The Ivermectin will take care of eggs and larvae, plus everything else the "Wazine" did not get. Again, do not start with "Ivermectin" as I experienced it to be very hard on my birds if you have never used anything else before (I actually used DE, but apparently it did not work 100%....).

    If you still think that she might be broody or at least thinks of getting broody, break the broodiness by putting her in a bottomless cage with food and water.

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