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Hi ya, Hoping someone can help me. One of my hens who is currently moulting and not laying has been behaving rather weirdly. I don't know if this is normal during a moult or not. She keeps putting her head down and reversing, not all the time but very frequently. Apart from this she is eating, drinking etc. Just wondered if chickens sometimes do strange things when they moult, it is really strange, and because apart from this she seems fine, not sure whether I need to do anything or not. I have tried to give them a tonic in their water and some poultry tonic in their food but cannot think of anything else to do. Any advice would be greatly received.

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mmm, sounds a bit odd :think: I haven't seen that in my chickens to be honest but it could be just a quirk! My lot just seem to mope around during their moult.


I would keep an eye on her as you're already doing, give her the once over for any lice or beasties and if there is any further cause for alarm/worry then pop her to the vet. :wink:

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there do seem to be a very few of us had similar experiences.

My girl was also very ill.AND moult or asa result of being ill.

She had 2 full, (long) courses of 2 dif antibiotics,

She was almost bald, cheeping like a chick, walked like a crab, one way only, looked through left eye only with head low down and held out in front, her body nearly to the floor :(

good luck

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Wonder if she has discomfort in neck, head and is walking backwards to get away from it. :? I think their immunity is a bit lower in the moult so I would just listen to her breathing by putting you ear to her back to check she hasn't breathing problems. Funny thing.

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1 of my girls has been doing this funny head down reversing thing for a while. she doesnt seem to be ill but has been moulting, she is eating and maybe laying, its hard to tell which one is laying as some days i only get one egg.


It does seem to be weird though like you say.


It would be good if anyone could shed some light on this behaviour


Thanks Ruth

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The only sign I had to begin with was watery splatty poo, for quite a wee while from someone :?

Having identified which girl was doing it, it was just a case of getting one on a surface suitable for collection. I sent it to LIbby at Retfords.

I think she got it on a Friday.

My girl was fine at that point, eating drinking, laying, scratching etc etc.

However by the Monday as luck(or not)would have it it wasclear I had a poorly girl.

By the time I got the result and the meds, I was really worried abour her.

Sitting hunched etc. all usual poo;y chook things.

The splatts cleared up fairly rapidly on the Eruthromycin maybe day 3 but it was a 10 day course.

She did perk up a bit, but was clearly not feeling well, and due to owner cock up, got 13 days threatment. I was thinking perhaps she was feeling crook as side effect as some(of us all) do :(

On the 3rd day I caled my vet, who felt a 10 day course of baytril was the way forward, as clearly we looked like loosing her.

On morning 3 she was much perkier, and happily made a full rapid recovery.

Oh she was a Feb 2008 release that was in a state and kept back not coming for homing until Easter and still looking like her name Scraggles.

She recovered fully feathers a beautiful.

Whether they moult as natural moult or moult due to illness is not always clear.

Not saying that yours are ill, necessarily

Just "sharing" our personal experience with the weird walk cheeping. etc.

good luck

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Watch her carefully then, and her poos, All..... not just a few as her Caecal poo might ne different.

It certainly not normal, whatever the reason, could even be an ear infection, affecting her balance and I think someone suggested on another post that the hen might be trying to back away from what hurts(the ear)?

Only suggestions :)

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Hi just wanted to check to see replies, since I started this thread and am interested in what everyone thought. Was rather worried by the last suggestion that these chickens with this wierd behaviour might have coxoid coccidiosis! which is fatal if left untreated.

Just been reading up about the condition, and correct me if I am wrong but cannot see anything about wierd behaviour, ie head down walking backwards! Only sickly, runny bloody poo's. It also said that this was a pretty heavy duty medication and not to use lightly. So now not sure what to do? Have I got this wrong. Any advice please welcome. :?:

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Well hopefully someone more knowing will come in with the definative answer for you, but it is my understanding that you will have a VERY VERY sick chicken if it is cocci, also by now dead, I think they talk about treatment in terms of hours not days. Apparently it is really serious and needs immediate attention, and the blood in the droppings is a serios indicator.

But thankfully nothing I have come up against.

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:? Reading through the whole topic I'm not sure why cocci. is the focus?


Is the only symptom, other than perhaps run down with a moult, the head down backwards walking?

Forgive me if I've mis read something, but looking at the original post it souinds more like a vitamin or nutrient deficiency causing a neurological problem. Not your fault, sometimes one chicken just doesn't thrive the same as the rest of the flock & gets off to a poor start which shows later.


Anyway, although I've not experienced it, only heard about it, if it were mine I would step up some supplements & some extra, separate feeding for this hen & expect some improvement in a few days. (I know you'd given tonic, but maybe a specific look at vitamins & minerals & individual feed to make sure she gets it? :) )


She can only benefit from that, so it's worth a try, obviously taking it further if there are other symptoms that I've missed.


Good luck, and do report back, all those with weird behaviour hens! :D

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