Weaving, looks drunk, off balance = molting!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Biologrady, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. Biologrady

    Biologrady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    I'm not super-experienced with chickens, having had them on grandma's farm as a kid and I have had my current flock for about 4 years now. A few weeks back they went through a really dramatic molt (one lost pretty much every feather at once) and two hens started acting really squirrelly. One seemed to act like she had an ear or crop problem: when she would put head down to eat she would suddenly scoot backwards, dragging her chin along the ground. The other was worse, walking like a drunken sailor most of the time, crouching and weaving instead of walking straight. I thought maybe a balance, vision or muscle problem, but did notice she would make a beeline for the food pan or if being chased. Research and advice was mostly doom and gloom, ranging from horrible diseases to vitamin deficiencies. However a few hopeful items, mostly from old-school farmers, just said wait it out, it goes away when molting stops... And it absolutely did!
    I found it hard to believe, but I guess the pain/discomfort of the pincushion phase was behind the odd gait. I guess being vitamin deficient as all that energy is going into feather making is possible too, but our chickens are fed better than us, get a higher protein diet while molting, and free range most days. Anyway, I was very glad that I didn't do anything drastic; the behaviors lasted about 7 to 10 days, in case anyone else that might also have chickens looking drunk or crazy finds this post.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Yeah, molt is crazy hard on chickens. I always cross my fingers after a molt until they come back into lay because every single time I have a reproductive issue pop up it is always after a hard molt.

    Glad to hear your girls have returned to normalcy. I bet they look great in their new coats.
  3. ChickTex

    ChickTex New Egg

    Apr 27, 2015
    Thank you so much for posting this information! This happened to one of our chickens today and it was very alarming. You have eased my mind.

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