Why is my favorite chicken acting like this?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sclanimals, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. sclanimals

    sclanimals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2007
    Utah
    My Blue Orpington cockeral has always seemed kinda down. I never thought anything about it until yesterday. His tail is always hanging down and he's low energy. Is this a breed characteristic or is it just him? He is penned up with my Splash Orp pullet and Blue Orp pullet. All 3 Orps seem to be very mellow but he seems to be too mellow. He eats and drinks fine, roosts fine, clucks to his girls just fine, has never crowed. When I open his pen door he comes right to the door and just sits. Why is his tail down?????? Is he just a very mellow boy or is something wrong with him? He is 4 months old and has never been on any meds. His diet is worms, scratch, grass, corn and some layer mash that the pullets eat, pretty much what a free ranging bird would eat. Any ideas???
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    He looks like a pullet to me at 4 months old, but I think the biggest problem you have is nutrition. All the chicks should have been on a high protein vitamin filled grower formula for the first 5 months of their lives. It would have had the necessary nutrients for their bodies to grow and be healthy, including having energy. Scratch, worms, corn are just treats, and layer mash has too much calcium that can damage their internal organs at a young age.

    I'd get them on a grower asap and then have a fecal float done to see if they had picked up any parasites that could have taken advantage of a weakened body.
     
  3. Ellie_NY_chick

    Ellie_NY_chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2008
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Try a little VetRx in the water. Can't hurt, might help. He definitely looks off. Healthy birds are generally quite active. As silkiechicken said, too much calcium can cause damage, particularly liver damage. His diet seems pretty varied though.

    Good luck - I hope he's okay.
     
  4. Bammony

    Bammony Red-dress-less

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    Aug 15, 2008
    Salina, Utah
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Dont let this chick eat worms. Its a pullet, by the way. At least do not give her any worms OR scratch as the main food. They get worms from ingesting worms. No, that tail stance is not normal at all. And the growth looks stunted, too. Mine are much larger by that age. Is this a bantam? Looks like a case of malnutrition to me, truthfully. She should be on chick starter still at that age. The pic below is a 4 month old Blue Orp cockerel-doesn't look at all like yours.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  6. sclanimals

    sclanimals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2007
    Utah
    Thanks all for your help! [​IMG]
    Edited to add: I was told that this was a cockeral by the judge of the fair a month ago. I had it written in as a pullet and I pretty much was laughed out of the building. Every time I think I've done something right, turns out I was pretty wrong. I'm about to just give up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    SilkeChicken said: ...and layer mash has too much calcium that can damage their internal organs at a young age.

    SilkieChicken, I and others on here have been real interested in this warning we keep hearing. We haven't been able to find any facts on this theory on the net and was hoping one of you folks who give this warning could provide some facts or info on this.

    Is this just something people have surmised, or are there actual facts and studies to support this theory? Do these studies cite the actual safe dosage of calcium per chick and the side effects apparent when these maximum dosages are exceeded? Does it list the observed side effects discovered in a controlled experiment? Or is this a theory ventured because some people have had bad results and maladies related to hypercalcemia? If so, how many people have recorded these and are they certain these anomalies were caused directly by the amount of calcium in the laying mash?


    I've done searches on here and cannot locate the info we seek and thought maybe you could point the way for the answers to the above questions! [​IMG]
     
  8. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    I second or third that this is a pullet. She appears to be growing abnormally- very large head for the body, and as you noticed- she is standing with her tail down, kind of hunched posture. She looks ill, and with the diet described- it is probably diet related or parasitic, or both. Chick start/growth is what she should have been eating from day one to around now when she would transition to a flock maintenance/raiser type or layer ration. If you switch her now, she may improve somewhat- but she has already passed through the time of really rapid growth, and will likely be still stunted. Chicken worms do get transmitted via earthworms and beetles, and though they will find these on their own when older- try not to encourage these while they are young and growing. Deworming and change the diet, you will likely see a some improvement in energy in all of your pullets. Adding a vitamin supplement to the water can't hurt either for a couple of weeks.
    Feel her crop as well- in some of the photos it looks pretty large. She may have an enlarged crop (sour or impacted). It may correct itself as well once on a good diet- if she is deficient in diet- nothing grows or works very well.
    jess
     
  9. sclanimals

    sclanimals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2007
    Utah
    Thanks Jess. I'll try all of that tomorrow morning! I'm just sick that i caused this. I feel terrible about it.[​IMG]
     
  10. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    She will likely do ok long term, IF this is what is wrong- she will probably be smaller than the average puffy Orph, but she should have a normal life. Don't beat yourself up over it, no one gets everything right every time---when a problem is discovered, take care of it and move on. It is great that you can have a rooster (though this one is not...), so few of the roosters get to grow up and be a rooster at all.
    jess
     

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