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Chicken help with pics

 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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My hens are almost laying age...I was told they would lay in about a week from now. I have had them for 2 weeks. They have been acting normal, except today one of my RIR is walking slower, kinda awkward, hunched/puffed up, and her color seems to be lighter. She is the larger of the 2 RIR that I have. She squatted once when I went up to her and petted her, and she let me pick her up which none of them are doing yet. I have attached some pics to show the difference in her color, mainly in her face and legs. I also show how she is puffed up. I pulled her tail feathers back to see if I could see anything odd, but I don't know what Im looking for. Is she sick or getting ready to lay? When I throw feed in, she goes crazy and runs up to me like the others do, so shes not hurt that I can tell. Thank you.
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Rob Sigg
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more pics
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Rob Sigg
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one last pic. I forgot to mention that she appears to be eating/drinking normally as well.
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T. Pierce
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Location: Virginia
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besides the crooked beak, id say she has a bad case of worms.  worm her really good and see if she doesnt perk up in a few days.
 
Rob Sigg
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Are there any natural ways to worm them? I don't want to give them chemicals. Some people say DE, but I don't think that is too effective....looking for someone with experience to tell me otherwise.

Also, does anyone with experience keeping chickens know how to prevent this? My coop isn't terribly big, neither is the run...but they free range outside most of the day except when its really hot. Thanks for the help.

PS, can the crooked beak cause long term issues?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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If it were me I would quarantine her immediately.  Then move the pen so that the other hens are on fresh ground and away from the area where that hen has been.   
Personally, I don’t like to use chemicals but that doesn’t mean I won’t if an animals is sick.  In much the same way as I avoid prescription drugs, I will take them if I am truly ill.

If the bird is infested with worms I believe that giving her chemicals to kill the worms will not only make her more comfortable but help keep from contaminating the other birds as well.

Parasites of all types are ever present in the soil.  By constant rotation, allowing an area to dry out completely, and or keeping fresh clean bedding for penned birds, you can keep infestations to a minimum.  Good healthy food and environment will help the body fight off infestations – but once infested they are going to need some help.

Some people believe in routing de-worming and some don’t.  I just posed the question to someone going to hear Salatin speak to ask him what he thinks about routine de-worming.

 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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ive only seen a beak like this one other time.  it didnt affect that hen.  she wasnt mine............

im guessing at the worms.  but i had a couple do this while back and when picked up there was no body on them.  all the nutrients they ate went right to the worms.  after worming they did much better.  it may take a couple of wormings  to knock them all out.  i agree with Carolina.  i dont want to use chemicals on them too much but i will when there is a necessity. 

as for a routine worming.  IMO there is no need if you practice good animal husbandry.  you should rarely ever have to worm if the fowl are kept on clean ground  and took care of.  worms are when fowl are packed on a small area and it becomes contaminated and polluted.  flock worming should never be necessary if raised correctly.  only on a rare individual basis.

yrs ago i used to worm regularly but eventually i went against what all the "books" say and the status quo,  and ive found that if done right,  you should only have to worm individuals and only a few times a yr.  if that much.
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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as for DE. ive never used it, and ive only been told both ways about it.  so more than likely its good for preventative (which i dont believe is necessary now)  but when there is a severe case of worms it aint quite got the kick to dislodge them.  but this is mere speculation on my part.

another thought..............some chick on Homestead,  swore by copper sulfate as a preventative measure for worms.  i use CS  on occasion.  mainly as a algea preventative in waters,  plus it helps your layers.  but im not sold on the idea as a wormer.  i believe its as i described the DE above. 
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Here are pics of the run and coop for 4 hens. The coop and run are both of 3 feet wide by about 5 feet long. Coop is 40 inches tall, the coop inside has a laying box and a waterer area built in. Right now I am using straw as bedding for the run and coop/laying box. I designed both of them to move down 5 feet so I can rotate the coop and run floor which are both dirt. Id like some feedback on my setup and if its going to cause more illness type issues. Ill post the free range yard they stay in most of the day.
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Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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free range yard pic..I plan to move this every few weeks.
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T. Pierce
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Location: Virginia
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id say you will be alright. 
 
                                    
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I've heard hens and other breeds of bird fluff there feathers up when the comfortable, appearing larger,and the opposite for when there not.
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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unless they are a breed where a pale face is a characteristic of that strain,,which RIR is not....a pale face is a sign of poor health.

a healthy chicken will have a bright shining face,  bright eyes, and very alert and active, most all the time,  but esp. when the feed bucket comes within view.
 
Rob Sigg
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Does anyone recommend a brand of wormer? I will probably get some just in case the rest of them get sick.
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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if you decide to go the wormer route, you should get one that kills all types of worms.  ENDZUM is what i use.  and have for yrs.  it kills everything plus tapeworms.  VALBAZEN is another good one. but very expensive.  ive read where some use a IVERMECTIN  product. ive never used it myself.  but all these will kill tapeworms also. 

most wormers will only kill 3 types of worms but not tapeworms.  so read label carefully.

after a heavy dosage its good to put good bacteria back into their gut. the wormer kills everything, good and bad........ i prefer yogart.  this is not necessary but where health is of the utmost importance, it sure helps.
 
Rob Sigg
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It looks like the Endzum is the super expensive one. $15 for an ounce, is that right? Also, Ive read that Valbazen is not intended for poultry but livestock. This is getting complicated! I dont like that these kill everything, and now we feed them yogurt? What on earth do these things do in the wild or is it an issue that they are so domesticated/bred to death that now they rely on us for inputs? This is starting not to sound like permaculture anymore, do you agree?
 
T. Pierce
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Location: Virginia
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Rob S. aka Blitz wrote:
It looks like the Endzum is the super expensive one. $15 for an ounce, is that right? Also, Ive read that Valbazen is not intended for poultry but livestock. This is getting complicated! I dont like that these kill everything, and now we feed them yogurt? What on earth do these things do in the wild or is it an issue that they are so domesticated/bred to death that now they rely on us for inputs? This is starting not to sound like permaculture anymore, do you agree?


i believe i paid almost $20 for the endzum and that was couple yrs ago.  valbazen can be used for poultry,  most of the medications that is used for poultry is intended for swine or cattle.  truth be told,  alot of the antibiotic used on animals would work on humans too....and its much cheaper than what we go the doctors for.

worming them is just a suggestion.  it may be something worse than her being wormy, but thats what she looks and sounds like to me.  an easy fix.  in the wild they just die. eat, eat, eat, but slowly die of malnutruition.  just like humans can and do.  i dont believe in "bred to death" for reasons causing worms.  worms attack every living thing,,,,and i dont beleive permaculture is the answer to every problem in the world.  its probably the more correct the more natural way, the way GOD intended things to be done.  but in an imperfect world,  there is no totally natural answer to every problem.

if you want a more natural wormer,  then there is a wormer thats made outa tobacco.  you  force feed it.  an old time recipe but i dont know what it is,  and i have no interest in it. cause i  have no problem with the rare occasional worming.
 
Rob Sigg
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Yeah I agree
 
James Stark
Posts: 79
Location: Manitoba Canada
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I suspect I may have a rather unpopular opinion in this thread, but try to go easy on me.

First, if the chicken run you have is a permanent location, it is far to small in my opinion. That size would suit those chickens only if it was rotated onto new ground weekly, and the old location was given a minimum of three months to recover. The concentration of chicken poop will build and cause problems with worms.

Second, the beak on the bird shown may very well cause problems with foraging. Some foods, including the feed you provide will be easy for her to eat, but foraging for bugs and nipping greens may proove difficult, resulting in a mostly-feed diet. To me that is a recipe for a hen that will have a weaker immune system, poor laying, and a shorter life.

Lastly, I never worm chickens. Given enough space to forage without feces buildup will interrupt the parasite lifecycle enough to keep the wormload manageable. (Meaning the hens own defenses will manage the worms) If a chicken does have issues with worms, it means either your husbandry is off, or there is an underlying problem allowing the worms to get out of control. I have no idea if your chickens have a worm issue, but if they do, either worm them and fix the husbandry that is causing the problem, or replace your flock and fix the husbandry that is causing the problem. It may sound harsh to suggest putting down a hen because of something as seemingly small as worms, but I really do think that if worms are an issue, there are bigger fish to fry just below the surface.

At the end of the day, chickens get worms. Happens more than we probably realize. The reason we don't realize it is that it's normal, and a healthy chicken will be unaffected. It's when a chicken becomes over loaded that it becomes an issue, and if a chicken is over loaded, there's likely a reason for it.

 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Well first of all, all opinions are welcome to me  So thanks for chiming in!

Your thought process is what I had when I went into this new challenge. That is why I got the fencing for the rotating paddock system and why I designed the coop and run to move down so the poop wouldn’t accumulate. I actually only had the birds for 2 weeks and when I moved the coop/run after 2 weeks there was very little evidence of poop build up so Im confident it was nothing that I did and I believe the farmer believes that as well since he replaced it with no issue.

He raises them from chicks and they are in a closed building and fed all feed mix. They didn’t even have a roost, mostly because the guy deals in large quantities and sells them before they are 5 months old. But after seeing their first home I could see where they might pick up worms from there. I suspect that it wasn’t getting enough food because my chickens are 99% foragers, and I give them a little treat of rolled oats, flax seeds etc. If the beak was the issue then I could see how that would damage her quickly.

I plan on worming them as a precaution since I don’t know if the others got infected, then from there I personally believe that I will be able to keep parasites in check with good husbandry. Thanks again for your input, I value it greatly!

Edit* We did put her down and got a new one.

 
                                
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Location: Western Pennsylvania
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So sorry you had to put one down so early in your chicken experience!!  It is never easy.  Any time people have asked me about chickens I always start with "have a plan for euthanizing them" and plan before you need to.  Many people look at me with horror on their faces, but it is reality with chickens.  At some time you will have to face an injured or sick hen/rooster that needs to be put down.  However it isn't easy.

Anyway, I love the little coop and for just a few hens that is really a good idea for winter.  I have a large coop designed for 40 maximum and two winters ago I lost most of my flock to heat stroke.  With only the peeps (in the house basement and not in the coop yet) there weren't many in the big coop that winter.  They had cold problems with their waddles and combs.  Now that my coop is full again this past winter we had no cold problems, with similar temperatures.  I really think it was just the extra space and fewer bodies the first winter that gave me the problems.  This year, with more bodies they were able to keep the temp. in the coop higher so no one had freezing issues with their combs, even the roosters that have very tall combs!

The movable paddock is great and you may not have problems with them flying over the top if no one knows they can.  I have hens that figured out how to fly over the 4-foot fence and they naturally taught this talent to others.  Everyone has clipped wings, but I have a few that have figured it out and they walk up the fence, flapping their wings and pop over. 

deep sigh.....

So now I am taking the light weight bird netting and raising my fences.  It is fun to see the cheeky ones try to walk up the fence, get to the new bird netting and get confused before dropping back to the ground.  Then they do the "one eye stare" to get a good look at the fence.  So then they pace the fence and have made a few pop-under the fence places, so I have to secure the base of the fence as well. 

The hens that don't know this don't care, but the few that care are very trying to your patience.  It's best to never let them learn that they can pop over/under the fence in the first place!! 

Welcome to the wonderful world of poultry!!

Tami
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Thanks Tami!

I really haven’t had too many issues with them flying over, they scope it out at first but don’t do anything anymore. I suspect that its only when they are really motivated to cross the line that they do. At first when they did it, I think they saw lush vegetation and went there for the bugs. So I included that area in the paddock and no more problems.

I asked the farmer to put her down, because I don’t have the heart to kill anything…except for small bugs LOL.

Since they have the option of foraging from 7:45am to 9pm it seems to work well with keeping poop levels down in the run/coop, but do you think I will have any sanitation issues with my setup? If so Id like to address it now.
 
                                
Posts: 62
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Since you mentioned moving the coop I don't think you will have sanitation problems.  Chicken poo breaks down VERY quickly as soon as it is wet, so when you move the coop sprinkle the poo with some yard clippings/trimmings or even straw etc and it will compost nicely.

Foraging is the best for them, it keeps their minds active.  Be sure you have fresh water in the area during the day, even just a basin they can have access to is fine.  And shade of some kind.  I keep my commercial waterers up by my coop, but I have a large tub (actually a tub for mixing concrete by hand) that I keep fresh water in for the dogs and chickens.  I have a few girls that make the trek down to the rain water in the tub over the well water in the waterers.  Go figure, maybe it's a bit tinny. 

Tami 
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Cool, Ive been putting down straw.
 
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