Voice change and excessive fluffing of feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by plexiglass, May 23, 2018.

  1. plexiglass

    plexiglass In the Brooder

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    May 14, 2016
    North Carolina
    My 6-year-old sex link hen looks to be the same weight and she is not missing feathers. We have recently lost her flock mates so she is alone for the time being (I am working on getting her a friend ASAP). I recently noticed that she will occasionally let out what sounds like a scream in a voice that I have never heard her use before. She is also tending to stay on her nest (I haven't found broody feathers) but she has been eating and drinking (it is about 85 degrees F outside and quite humid). When she was in her run earlier today I noticed that she frequently shook out her feathers. I don't know if this is related but her eggshells have been thinner lately.
    She has been exhibiting these symptoms for about 4 days now. I did not find any signs of trauma. The only things I can think of that may have instigated these behaviors is the intense heat and humidity as well as her recent status as an only chicken (planning to change that). She has been eating her regular table scraps and standard chicken feed with some cracked corn every day and has been drinking water. Her feces are a bit runny but nothing unexpected for her. I have not administered any treatment but I am planning on putting some electrolytes in her water and giving her fresh bedding. Her current bedding is pine shavings and pine needles in her nest.
    I plan on treating her myself if at all possible.
    Thank you for any insight you can give me!
     
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Firstly, I am sorry that you and she have lost her flock mates. It is sad when there is just one left and I'm pleased that you are looking to find her a friend.
    Secondly, diet is very important for good quality egg shells particularly. Weak egg shells bring a risk of internal breakage and infection and death or possibly prolapse. Whilst you may not have had problems till now, (or their diet may have contributed to the demise of her flock mates) I can say that the cracked corn is doing her no favours at all and giving her that and table scraps as well on a daily basis is significantly diluting her calcium intake and probably her protein intake (depending on the table scraps in question..... ie if they are mostly meat/fish or if there is a lot of carbs like bread/rice/pasta etc). Have you significantly reduced the amounts of these treats now that you are only feeding one bird? Laying hens are a bit like top level athletes in that their bodies are working at maximum production and therefore their diet needs to be specially formulated and balanced to support that production. Adding so many extras/treats on a daily basis will really knock that balance out. I know they love cracked corn and other treats but if you care for your hen, cut the cracked corn altogether and only feed a few table scraps once or twice a week. Her layer ration should make up at least 90% of her daily intake. I know it seems mean to cut most of her treats especially when she has lost all her flock mates but if you want her to be healthy and live longer, it really is important.
     
    ronott1 likes this.
  3. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

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    6 years old and still laying eggs is great!

    She is likely sad but it is a good sign that she is laying eggs.

    Get her a couple of flock mates soon.

    Remember to quarantine the new ones for a couple of weeks
     

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