Weight loss in chicken

by Louise Marriott
(Gravesend Kent)


Weight loss in chicken: My Hybrid chicken has lost weight she is 2 years old now, she used to be the biggest and heaviest out of our two chicken's now is isn’t. What is the reason for this?

Most likely she has parasites. She could have intestinal worms or mites, fleas or lice draining her health.

Your local vet or feed store should have a selection of products to help her.

If you find any internal or external parasites you should assume that the rest of your flock has been exposed and their environment contains eggs getting ready to hatch and cause more problems.

Pyrethrins are a good product for external parasites and for treating the environment. Being made from flowers it is a good natural product.

I like to Diatomacious Earth for internal and external parasites. It’s totally natural and doesn’t rely on any toxins.

The Hybrid hen may need more chemical help to quickly solve the problem and save her life. A good veterinarian, that knows chickens, would be a big help in discovering the cause for her failing health and recommending treatment.

Most feed stores carry a vitamin/electrolyte product to help maintain good health or restore deficiencies.

I would do a thorough cleaning and treat the whole flock to the vitamins.

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Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red: I want to know some internal parasites that affect chickens and what are the treatments for those?

Round worms would be the most common internal parasite. A chicken could have worms when you purchase them and spread the eggs through their droppings.

Hatchery chicks would not generally be infected due to living in brooders. Chickens have to ingest the eggs of the worms from the environment, usually scratching and eating near infected droppings.

Each type of worm has a different life cycle and responds better to different wormers. If a chicken is not treated, and possibly re-treated, the worms can grow large and make them weak and very sick.

Living in pens and coops with concentrated amounts of droppings can lead to a whole flock being infected.

Your local feed store will have chemical products recommended for your area. In order to get an accurate diagnosis of which type of worm, a stool sample would have to be examined by a vet.

I use an organic product, which has no withdrawal time after treatment. It’s called Diatomaceous Earth and there is much information about it on the internet.

Some worming products advise not to eat the meat or eggs from chickens treated for certain periods of time.

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Weak chicken

by Heather

Weak chicken: One of our chickens is acting very weak.She can walk but she squats to walk and gives to one side. What is wrong?

A number of things cause weakness. I would highly recommend separating her from the flock and providing a heat lamp. She may have a disease that’s causing this.

You would need to get her to the vet to know for sure what the problem is. At home, supporting her with a peaceful warm environment, her food and water close, may give her some rest, and ability to recover, if possible.

Parasites can cause weakness. I would check her over for any external mites, fleas or lice. Watch her droppings for any signs of worms or blood.

Treat any parasites with the appropriate products for chickens at the feed store. Check her for being thin.

The breast muscles are usually the first to go and that would cause the keel bone that runs up the middle of the breast, to poke against the skin and feel sharp.

If you can’t find anything you need a vet to diagnose. You can try to support her further with vitamins and electrolytes that can be purchased for poultry at the feed store.

Picking an antibiotic without knowing the problem is hit and miss. The wrong one won’t help. A vet may be able to diagnose her from a stool sample.

There are many chicken diseases and to know which one it would be best to familiarize yourself with as many as possible.

The internet has many articles that include the symptoms you would see for each. Not being able to see her or know more than you can communicate in an e-mail would just be guessing. I believe her life is in danger.

This may or may not be something she can recover from. There is a disease called Marek’s that can cause this difficulty in walking that you describe. There is a vaccine for it and it is common.

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Chicken moves in slow motion.

by Denise

Okay, have perplexing chicken problem...chicken moves in slow motion, has poopy butt and doesn't run over to the door when I come.

She's dropped some weight and is not crazy for food like the others...tried treating her for mites, impacted crop...she did eat a ton of worms from my raised bed today which was great for her...not sure what to do? Do you think she has worms?

She may have worms, of course not the kind she's been eating in the garden, but they can be a host for other worms.

Selecting a broad spectrum wormer for intestinal parasites would be good, but it would also be good to separate her from the flock on the chance she has some other kind of illness that is contagious.

I like to treat chickens that aren't doing well with a vitamin/electrolyte supplement to help boost their immune system and help over all health.

Once wormed, if she doesn't perk up, you might want to get a stool sample checked at the vet to see if you need an antibiotic and which one will work for what she has.

It's never easy to know the exact disease a chicken might have without veterinary testing.

It's always good for the flock to assume a sickness is contagious and keep any sick chickens separate until you know for sure.

There is a product called Diatomacious Earth that can help in a very natural way to prevent parasite infestation.

You need to find food grade DE. It can be mixed with feed, put in dust bath areas, and I like to sprinkle it in the nests and floor litter to help keep parasites in check.

You might want to try DE before using chemical means to treat parasites as it won't contaminate the eggs for human consumption.

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My hen died last week

by Kay

My hen died last week. She seemed healthy and then one day she was just sitting instead of scratching and eating with the others.

I picked her up and she seemed emaciated. Her breast had no meat on it. Now I have another hen with the same symptoms.

I picked her up and she is emaciated and just sitting. They came out of the pen but then just sat in the yard. Also, this one today seems like her feet are swollen and a bit red.

Possibly your chickens have worms. Worms live in the digestive tract and can rob chickens of nutrients. You could take a sample of droppings to your local vet for testing.

The vet can prescribe the right medication. If there are no worms, possibly your chickens haven’t had rich enough food to get them through the winter.

Cold temperatures make a demand for more calories, especially protein and fats. It takes more energy for a chicken’s body to stay warm during winter months.

I would suggest getting them on a conditioning feed and possibly supplementing with black oil sun flower seeds.

Rule out or treat them for worms. You will need to nurse them back to health with rich feed and a good vitamin and mineral supplement should help, too.

I don’t know for sure what has caused this, but better nutrition might reverse the condition. Offering fruit, like apples can give them extra energy and increase appetite while adding calories.

Fresh greens can help with digestion and nutrients and are part of a balanced chicken diet.

The large breast muscles have possibly been absorbed by these chickens, in order to stay alive. I hope this helps.

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