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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27352
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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We just moved to a new home and Have adopted the 4 hens that

Customer Question

We just moved to a new home and Have adopted the 4 hens that were living here. They have all been doing great. They are caged in a coup & have a hen house they all go into at night.
One started molting about 1-2 weeks ago. She has seemed okay, but today I noticed she was eating but not as much as the other hens, and tonight when I got home she did not go into the hen house with the other hens. And when I picked her up she was more docile then normal. I placed her in the hen house because it gets cold at night. She's in there now. What could possibly be going on?
Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. I might incriminate her molting for her malaise if her diet has been insufficient. Can you tell me, please, what her diet has consisted of? Here's an interesting approach to diet in molting birds:

Molting is a stressful time for chickens and can predispose to secondary infections. Birds who are carriers of infectious agents but haven't been symptomatic of them can become so. Red's symptoms are much too nonspecific at this time to be making a list of differential diagnoses but she does bear watching. Chicken ailments can be difficult to clarify until more symptoms arise and in many cases diagnostic testing by an avian vet (please see here: will be necessary.

Please respond with additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She gets pellets , water & ground oyster shells in self feeders, and she gets corn feed Some scrap food ( not much) and bugs from the coup. This morning she stayed in the hen house by herself , I put some food & water inside for her, I saw her only take one little peck at the feed. Now she is curled up with her little head in the corner.
I am new to chickens and am only now learning their mannerisms , habits etc.. so forgive my ovservations & terminology,
I do not know if I am imagining this or not but her little crown is lop sided which I never noticed before( it may have always been) and her eyes look tired.
All my other hens seem fine .
Thank you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. It sounds as if she's receiving proper nutrition. The pellet should contain 16-18% protein.

She's not well. You've been nicely observant. If her comb is lopsided, she has become dehydrated. Ideally, an avian vet should take a look at her. For now, here's a good synopsis of how a sick bird is managed at home: The "chicken chick" is a good resource for you.

Keep me posted, please.

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