Sleeping on floor of coop

HeyHo

Songster
May 17, 2018
371
602
186
Massachusetts
I've got a 2.5 year old, red sex link that has taken to sleeping on the floor of the coop. Willow had been head hen, but is going through her first real molt (she completely skipped last year) and it has really impacted her in a negative way. Willow is eating OK, her poop seems good (albeit stuck to her since she won't roost at night) but her comb is very pale and crumpled (it used to stand straight up). She stands quietly, fluffed up for much of the day, but gets very vigorous when I come out with mealworms or other protein treats.

I have been blocking off the nesting boxes in the evening because I have a different hen that loves to sleep in them and I'm trying to break her of the habit. The others, including Willow, had started following suit. But since she's seemed so uncomfortable, tonight I left the nesting boxes open so Willow could sleep in one if she wanted. She's still on the floor of the coop.

Has anyone else encountered this? Could this just be a hard molt or is there something else going on?
 

lbgreenfield

Songster
Jul 19, 2019
431
744
126
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
I've got a 2.5 year old, red sex link that has taken to sleeping on the floor of the coop. Willow had been head hen, but is going through her first real molt (she completely skipped last year) and it has really impacted her in a negative way. Willow is eating OK, her poop seems good (albeit stuck to her since she won't roost at night) but her comb is very pale and crumpled (it used to stand straight up). She stands quietly, fluffed up for much of the day, but gets very vigorous when I come out with mealworms or other protein treats.

I have been blocking off the nesting boxes in the evening because I have a different hen that loves to sleep in them and I'm trying to break her of the habit. The others, including Willow, had started following suit. But since she's seemed so uncomfortable, tonight I left the nesting boxes open so Willow could sleep in one if she wanted. She's still on the floor of the coop.

Has anyone else encountered this? Could this just be a hard molt or is there something else going on?
Hm. It could be the hard molt or something else causing her to sleep away from the others. You say she had been the head hen, but has that changed now? Is she being bullied? Have you also checked her for mites/lice/parasites? I would make sure she keeps eating/drinking/pooping/laying OK and keep an eye on her.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
2,229
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David, Chiriquí, Panama
It's unlikely that she'll lay if she's in heavy molt. If this is just a truly rough molt, then load her up on that protein! It will greatly reduce the time needed for her to regrow her plumage. Mealworms (since you already have them), raw hamburger, canned sardines (with the oil if she's losing weight, packed in water if she's not losing weight), cat food (wet or dry) to name some of the easy to get your hands on high-protein treats.
If this isn't just a rough molt then you need to consider diseases; I will surmise that this is not a case of egg bound as you say she's having a hard molt and they rarely lay when they molt. Coccidiosis, could have taken advantage of her weakened state due to a molt or underlying 'other' condition. Amprolium in everybody's water is a safe precaution, costs little and cannot harm any of your birds in any way when used as directed. Check her poop or have a float test done at your local vet, even vets that don't see chickens may be willing to send in a float test to the lab for you to test for other internal parasites.
Rub a lightly-colored terry rag up and around her vent, under her wings, at the base of her neck. When you inspect the rag afterward, if the dirt is MOVING, then she's got external parasites. How does her abdomen feel?
Examine her legs and feet, especially the underside, you're looking for bumblefoot, a painful leg, swelling of any sort, are her feet and legs cold or warm (warm could be trouble).
How does her crop feel at bedtime (should be full to overfull)? How does her crop feel first thing in the morning before she's had access to food or water (should be flat as a pancake)? Does her crop feel hard or squishy? How does her breath smell? Are her eyes watery or bubbly? Does she shake her head frequently? You mentioned dirty feathers due to her choice of sleeping locations, is she also stinky from her back end?
I know this is a long grocery list of some possible issues, but your answers to each will help those with decades of experience help you help your girl.
I'll keep you and your feathered family in my prayers.
 

HeyHo

Songster
May 17, 2018
371
602
186
Massachusetts
You say she had been the head hen, but has that changed now? Is she being bullied? Have you also checked her for mites/lice/parasites?
She is not being bullied. It is more like she has removed herself from office because she doesn't feel well. No mites or lice that I can see, but I haven't checked her thoroughly since she's molting. But I have checked my other hens and they are fine.
 

HeyHo

Songster
May 17, 2018
371
602
186
Massachusetts
load her up on that protein
I will work on more protein to see if it makes a difference! I do lots of scrambled eggs and mealworms. Perhaps I'll switch to a high protein feed for a while.
All the other things you mention are fine -- no eye bubbles, no head shaking, her legs and feet are fine, no sign of parasites (see above comment), and her crop is flat in the morning and pretty full at night (although not like it usually is). I was thinking about treating with CORID just in case -- but do you really think it could be that since my hens are older and the rest are fine? I hate to treat unnecessarily but certainly will if warranted.
The other thing I'm worried about is worms. I treated them this spring but haven't done a fall treatment yet.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
2,229
5,048
451
David, Chiriquí, Panama
I'd do both CORID and worming then, at the same time. She's under the weather so all those opportunistic parasites hit her while she's feeling poorly. You were gonna worm them anyhow, and cocci is a killer for young birds, old birds, sick birds. Both the worming medicine and the CORID (amprolium) can be added to all of their water sources at the same time as they work in a different manner from each other and treat different parasites. I'd do that sooner rather than later. You don't always see worms in their poop, many varieties are microscopic (but still deadly if left untreated).
 

HeyHo

Songster
May 17, 2018
371
602
186
Massachusetts
[QUOTE="Tycine1, post: 23586777, member: 32489"
Both the worming medicine and the CORID (amprolium) can be added to all of their water sources at the same time as they work in a different manner from each other and treat different parasites.
[/QUOTE]
What water solvable wormer do you recommend? I’ve previously used pastes.
 

lbgreenfield

Songster
Jul 19, 2019
431
744
126
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
I use Valbazen to worm my flock. It’s a goat dewormer that you can use for chickens. It is a very safe, good overall dewormer to kill a wide variety of worms/larvae. It is not water soluble though, you have to dose with a syringe.
 

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