The Chicken Who Forgot How To Eat

Tamworth, NH(Zone 4b)

We have a small flock of chickens (among other things) on our farm. I’ve seen a lot of things, but never a chicken that has apparently forgotten how to eat.

This one’s an easter egger (Americauna). I noticed her one day sort of hanging out around the edges of the feed pans but not eating. She’d even lower her head into the pan, then slowly raise it and walk away. I picked her up and she was quite thin, but not crop-bound as I was expecting. Her crop was totally empty.

So I brought her in and put her in a small dog crate, figuring she was probably at the bottom of the pecking order, although I feed enough for everyone and she wasn’t showing any signs of being picked on, and in fact no one was harassing her at all when she was at the feed pan.

I put a dish of layer pellets in the crate, and she carefully examined them, poked them with her beak, and ate a few. Took a drink of water. Examined the pellets again as if she was considering whether they met her quality standards, and ate a few more.

Since then (it’s been 3-4 days), she’s poked at her food more than eaten it, although she has eaten some. I put in half a small apple one day, and some chopped and cooked broccoli and peas, but she was into those even less than the pellets. She drinks water with no problem and I’ve started putting “Quik-Chik” electrolyte/vitamin powder in it that I usually use when starting hatched chicks. She is weak from being so thin, but is pooping fairly normal looking chicken poop, and is not huddled up in a corner looking like she’d like to just die and get it over with.

Anyone have experience with anorexic chickens?

Tamworth, NH(Zone 4b)

I just made her a scrambled egg, chopped it up fine, let it cool a bit, and gave it to her. She's eating that pretty well, so maybe she's on the mend.

Mint Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

Maybe try some uncooked oatmeal (or cooked if that doesn't work) chickens love it.

Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

Does she have access to grit in her diet? Maybe her crop isnt "grinding" the harder food to well.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

When she gets goin on the egg.. I'd start mixing her lay pellets into it... of course, it will make a mash.. but it will get the balanced nutrition in her.
Mine would starve themselves if I tried to give them pellets! She might be picky! Who knows?

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