Thin, Wobbly Barred Rock Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by K-12 Chickens, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,178
    18
    171
    Oct 6, 2010
    Michigan
    I just noticed today that one of my five Barred Rock hens, who was outside free-ranging, appears wobbly, though not so wobbly that she can't stand. She is still walking around, eating and acting like her normal self. I went outside to examine her and upon picking her up, felt that she was quite thin compared to her sisters. I feed my chickens layer feed, with sunflower seeds and scratch as daily treats. However, I'm beginning to wonder if they are consuming too much grain and if this would contribute to my hen's problems (though if that were the case I would have expected her to be overweight, rather than thin). She grew back all of her feathers from her molt several weeks ago and is not laying currently.
     
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    547
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Weakness is a sign of anemia. Lack of nutrition (birds often eat less in moult), intestinal worms, coccidiosis, can all cause anemia, and possibly a secondary infection results. Supplement water with poultry vitamins-electrolytes, making a fresh solution each day. Helping the immune system by aiding the digestive system with Probios dispersible powder will also help. Add 1 tsp per gallon of water with vitamins-electrolytes. Do this for a day or two, and with such a skinny hen, I would worm with Valbazen ( .5 ml for a 6 lb hen, .25 for a 3 lb hen given orally with a 1 cc syringe minus the needle. Do it again 10 days later), give supplemented water the day following, then treat for Coccidiosis with Corid (Amprolium) in water. The 9.6 liquid is 2-3 tsp per gallon of water, and the 20% soluble powder is 1-1.5 tsp per gallon of water. Treat for 7 days, making a fresh drinking solution each day. Then follow up with vitamin-probiotics in water for 2 days.

    All during this time, observe the bird's actions and behavior. Make sure the bird is eating and drinking on it's own, and if not you will have to assist the bird. Keep us posted. If you take the bird in-house, you can get quick nutrients in the bird if it is a deficiency by using Poultry Nutri-Drench. Dosage is 1cc per 3 lbs of body weight. Be careful not to aspirate the bird when feeding liquids.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  3. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,178
    18
    171
    Oct 6, 2010
    Michigan
    Thank you very much for the advice! [​IMG] She is still eating and drinking; when I went to close my chickens up for the night (she was able to hop up on the roost by herself), her crop felt like it had a decent amount of food inside. I will start her on vitamins right away tomorrow.
     
  4. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,178
    18
    171
    Oct 6, 2010
    Michigan
    UPDATE: This morning I separated the hen in a small, fenced coop (with another hen for company) and started her on vitamins and electrolytes. She is still actively getting around despite her wobbling and is eating and drinking.
     
  5. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    547
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    That's good. I have a Barred Rock hen that always has a hard moult each year. She blows most of her feathers rapidly and walks off balance. This year was less stressful because I saw the early signs of moult and began supplementing feed and water earlier. I watch for signs of hiding out or eating less. If I think one needs it, I'll give it a 1 ml dose of Poultry Nutri-Drench.
     
  6. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,178
    18
    171
    Oct 6, 2010
    Michigan
    UPDATE: My hen's walking has improved and she is barely wobbling now. She is still thin, however; would protein-rich foods be of benefit?
     
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    547
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    That is good news. Protein levels around 18-20% are safe during moult. The problems with too much protein is digestion slows and birds become more susceptible to enteritis, which you want to avoid. Mixing 2-4 tsp of pure wheat germ oil for each 1 lb of feed once a week helps. Doling out conservative amounts of scratch grains in the late afternoon can help put on some weight. Making sure birds are staying hydrated and digestion is good by use of poultry vitamins-electrolytes soluble powder in waterers 2-3 times a week helps also. Probiotics help with digestibility, so I use a product like Probios once a week by adding 1 tsp per gallon of water.

    There are moult supplements that simplify additions to water or feed. Premolt-100 and Avio-Moult are two I have used and saw good results. I have noticed improvement with hard moulters supplemented beginning at the first sign of oncoming moult.

    Once moult is completed and new feathers are grown in, you might consider deworming if you have not done so in awhile, and you see underweight birds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by