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Author Topic: Staggering chicken during moult!  (Read 3742 times)

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hillfooter

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Staggering chicken during moult!
« on: November 08, 2009, 23:59 »
I noticed a week or so ago that one of my Buff Sussex, which was heavily into moult, seemed to be staggering and walking to one side with a diagonal gait.  Occasionally as she walked she seemed to half collapse as if one of her legs had suddenly gone weak.  It wasn't restricted to one particular leg so didn't seem to be due to an injury and after examining her I couldnít find any evidence of injury and she didnít feel particularly weak.  She was however being heavily feather pecked on her back so the back feathers were growing back very slowly.  I managed to identify the culprit and fit a beak bit to prevent further pecking.   However as I knew that loss of co-ordination and staggering are symptoms of Marekís Disease I feared that I was probably going to have to cull her.  However as she seemed to be eating and otherwise not depressed I decided to see how she was the next day.
Fearing the worst I went out the next morning but was pleased to see that the staggering was gone though there was still a slight sideways gait.  Anyway over the next few days her feathers really started to grow back well and the walking symptoms disappeared.  She now seems fine and perfectly normal.
Iím used to moulting causing loss of condition and slight depression but Iíve never come across moulting causing what I assume was a nervous system problem though I suppose that it can cause deficiency problems which might explain it.   Has anyone else come across anything similar?
Attached is a photo of the culprit with a slightly oversized bit fitted.  It's always useful to keep a few on hand in such cases.
Regards
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« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 00:35 by hillfooter »
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joyfull

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Re: Staggering chicken during moult!
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2009, 06:46 »
Hi Hillfooter - if you read my thread in the hen house section regarding Little Red you will see that he had similar symptoms, although his was also accompanied by very smelly liquid pooh. He ended up sleeping indoors being fed on chick crumbs, and having anti biotics, cod liver oil and vitamins. He is only young (22-24 weeks approx) not yet crowing and is going through the phase of growing his adult feathers. He originally looked like a beetle black but now has a lovely mass of red feathers around his neck and is getting more on his saddle area. Think I will have a problem every time he moults and at other times of stress, but he is so lovely natured he will just have to move indoors whenever it reoccurs.
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compostqueen

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Re: Staggering chicken during moult!
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2009, 10:00 »
very interested to read about that so thanks for the info.  It's good to know that they're in such good hands  :)

alisonwo

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Re: Staggering chicken during moult!
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2009, 13:15 »
Hi Hillfooter very interested in this bit that can be fitted to stop feather pecking, did you make it yourself or where can I buy a few?  thanks alison

hillfooter

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Re: Staggering chicken during moult!
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2009, 23:23 »
Anti peck bits/ beak rings / beak bits as they are variously described by various poultry suppliers are available from gamekeeper suppliers and most good poultry suppliers.

Try
http://www.domesticfowltrust.co.uk/products/info_apb.html  who sell them in pack of 8 for £1 or a gamekeepers supplier like http://www.gamekeepersupplies.co.uk/rearing.html who sell 3 sizes the top two B & C are Ok for chickens.   I got mine from Atlantic at the game fair several years back.  But they are such low value items they often aren't listed on the web so you may have to ring and ask.  I suspect many other poultry suppliers have them too.

They are fitted on the top mandible into the FRONT of the nostril so as not to hinder breathing.  They eventually wear through and fall off or you can remove them.

Some suppliers sell "Bumper bits" which are similar to rings but extend round the front of the beak and are totally effective for persistent peckers however be careful with these that your feeder and drinker is consistent with the bit so that they can still feed and drink.  Mash fed in troughs should be fine but I'm not sure about gravity fed hopper feeders and pellets with these bits.  Don't use these in the first instance or if you are unsure.

Regards
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 11:46 by hillfooter »

hillfooter

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Re: Staggering chicken during moult!
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2009, 11:34 »
Hi Hillfooter - if you read my thread in the hen house section regarding Little Red you will see that he had similar symptoms, although his was also accompanied by very smelly liquid pooh. He ended up sleeping indoors being fed on chick crumbs, and having anti biotics, cod liver oil and vitamins. He is only young (22-24 weeks approx) not yet crowing and is going through the phase of growing his adult feathers. He originally looked like a beetle black but now has a lovely mass of red feathers around his neck and is getting more on his saddle area. Think I will have a problem every time he moults and at other times of stress, but he is so lovely natured he will just have to move indoors whenever it reoccurs.

Hi Joyful,
Yes I read your post about your unsteady cockerel, Little Red, and it was this which decided me to post my experiences.  My hen other than the strange gait and sudden ocassional stumble didn't actually fall over,  She seem to be looking over her shoulder a lot and I couldn't decide whether this was due to a twisted neck or she was being bothered by the VW which was following her about a lot and every now and again nipping a growing feather.  This is what decided me to give her some protection untill the feathers really opened out.  once the bit was fitted the VW stopped harassing her and the seems perfectly normal.  Either the strain of constantly growing feathers which was being exacibated by the pecking was causing a deficiency which was affecting her balance or possibly she had a strain as a result of constantly having to twist round to protect her back.  My hen is 20 months old and doesn't have loose or smelly droppings as your Little Red so the two may not be connected other than the stress of moulting can cause latent diseases to breakout because of the loss of condition which also means their immune system isn't as effective as usual.

As Little Red is still young and maturing it may be some nervous problem that he will grow out of if it isn't caused by an infection.

I'm not very good at finding old posts and navigating generally to find posts I've previously read.  I'm sure there must be a way of book marking a thread but I've not found it yet and I find the search facility not particularly effective.  Otherwise the sites great.

Best wishes
Hillfooter
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 11:52 by hillfooter »



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