Hi everyone--our chicken Ruby isn't doing so well.
She's my favorite chicken, so I'm worried. Since yesterday morning, she's been creeping around the cage as though her body hurts, stepping tentatively and slowly. She doesn't make her characteristic mad dash for the sunflower seeds when I sprinkle them in the coop in the evenings as a treat. Instead of greeting me with her husky croaks whenever I come in the cage or leave it, she's noiseless. She frequently tilts her head from side to side, as though she's not able to see very well.
And her neck is all puffed up.
Compare Ruby's neck to the slender, smooth neck of her breed-mate, Carmelita:
Ruby's neck looks swollen to me. Also, she's just started to pluck out her leg feathers--is this a expression of frustration?
Oh, and the last thing: Her vent is, how shall I say, dribbly. (The bald spot has been with her for ages--I don't think it's the cause of her current troubles.)
We sure would appreciate your advice--if you have any ideas about what's troubling Ruby and how to help her, please let us know.