Something wrong??

snkjohnson

Songster
7 Years
Jul 10, 2013
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I'm worried about one of my hens. Frankly, she looks terrible!! I know it's molting season but she looks about 10 times worse than my other hens, and she normally doesn't look so back while molting. She also seems to be limping; she moves very slowly and won't run. I've attached a picture to show what I mean. She's skinny, large patches of feathers are missing, and she just looks sick to me. I don't know if the other hens are pecking her or what is going on. We don't have a rooster (4 hens). Also, we've been using supplemental lighting and egg production has still completely stopped, with all of the hens. Any advice or suggestions as to what might be going on would be appreciated...I'm worried about her!

Oh, and all four hens are about 2.5 years old.
 
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Hholly

Songster
Jul 3, 2015
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Amo, IN
You may want to increase their protein during the molt. Are the poos normal? Have you checked her for mites? Does she have a scab on the foot she is limping on?
 

Pyxis

Hatchi Wan Kenobi
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Mar 27, 2012
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Looks like it's probably just a hard molt. It's not unusual for that to happen - three of my own hens had really bad molts this year and looked like walking pincushions. They're starting to look better now. You can up her protein intake if you want to help her with regrowing all her feathers.

As for the limp, that's not a usual molt thing. I'd check her out and make sure she doesn't have a foot or leg injury or bumblefoot.
 

KayTee

Songster
8 Years
Sep 21, 2012
941
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South West France
I can't see the picture you posted, but I have some ideas that may help you understand what is going on. Firstly, supplemental lighting during the winter encourages hens to lay at a time when they would naturally slow down or stop. Therefore they don't have the natural rest period that they should have. (Imagine trying to force a plant to flower all year round, without a winter break - it simply doesn't have the energy to keep going). Since hens only have a finite number of eggs in their system they will therefore produce them more quickly if forced to lay all year round, and therefore stop laying at a younger age.
2.5 to 3 years is the average age for production hens to slow down or stop laying, and if you have been using lighting to keep egg production up all year round then I wouldn't be surprised if your girl is just 'worn out' from the continuous drain of egg production.
I would be inclined to stop using supplemental lighting and give a high protein feed for a few weeks to try and get your girl back into condition. You may or may not get more eggs from her, but you will certainly be helping her to remain healthier.
 

snkjohnson

Songster
7 Years
Jul 10, 2013
44
32
109
Just thought I'd post an update on my hen. She is looking SO much better now! I think it was just an extra hard molt this year?? Also her limp seems to have disappeared..I'm wondering if she maybe just tweaked her leg jumping down from somewhere or something. Anyway, thank you all so much for all of your suggestions!!
 

Hholly

Songster
Jul 3, 2015
1,332
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Amo, IN
Happy she's doing better!
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KayTee

Songster
8 Years
Sep 21, 2012
941
262
211
South West France
Good news, and thanks for the update. It's good to know that everything is ok with your girl.

Limping chooks are more common than we tend to think - an awkward jump from a perch is all it takes. And hard moults are really scary - one of my girls has just done the same thing - she looked malnourished and horrible! A few weeks later and she is more beautiful than she has ever been!

All the best for you and your flock
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