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Slowly healing RIR mix

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello all, I have been scouring over the threads for a while now.  I have a mixed flock of 6 (became 5 this morning).  I am new and have had a flock of free to me's for about 4 months now.  I love these guys!!  I do know I have 1 RIR pure and what I think is a white (she is all white and plump).  The other 4 hens are I believe mixed.  And to top off, 1 bantam rooster, pretty little guy. 

 

My problem stems on my mixes.  The symptoms I noticed in Baldy (wife named her since she was missing some feathers when we got her) a couple weeks ago.  She was extremely active, first to the gate, first to treats we threw, first everywhere.  Then one day her right eye would close like she was having trouble staying awake yet it was only her right eye.  She still ate but hung back from the flock as they ran around.  Then she just moped around and that's when I picked her up and noticed her breast were very sunken in even though her feathers were puffed out.  I had no idea.  Her breast bone had no meat around it.  I went to Allies here and they recommended some antibiotics.  Once I had her quarantined I noticed she pooped almost clear.  I had her on antibiotics for about a week then electrolytes for a week and she started doing better but not great.  I then decided to worm the whole flock so did that. 

 

Baldy is slowly getting more active and although I have not been putting her on a scale (I plan on tracking weights beginning tomorrow) she feels like she is getting heavier.  She still has no meat around the ridge down her chest but she seems to be doing better.  Except that some of the other hens peck her and gang up on her.  I figure one day if she gets back to where she was she'll pay them back with interest but probably not, animals don't think like we do.....  lol  But in the meantime I let her run around the yard by herself a while before letting the rest out.  They do pick on her but normally I am around outside to break it up or I lock her in the run by herself while the others are in the yard.

 

My questions are:

How long will it take her to gain weight and recover fully? (we live on just under 2 acres in the forest, I let them range most of the day with laying food in their run. Plus plenty of treats!!  Food is not a problem!!)

Any guesses what could have done this?

How do you prevent stuff like this happening?

When Baldy is put back into the flock, how do I keep them from beating up on her?  Do I wait for her to fully recover her weight? 

 

I did lose one this morning, we called her Red.  Another mix.  I am certain it was botulism.  But, she also had the same skinny breast and yesterday started acting "tired".  I think botulism because I found out yesterday they were digging in the garden and getting to the fish carcasses I have buried in there and eating the maggots they dig up.  Fence is back up and they're prevented from getting in.  I had no idea.  Hard lesson for us, she was a very easy going hen.  But I am shocked that she seems to have been headed down Baldy's path to shriveling up and being near death.  I don't know why......

 

 

So any help or advice y'all can throw my way would be hugely appreciated. 

 

Thank you!!

 

Chris

post #2 of 8

Hi Chris!  :frow I hope an experienced expert will answer! i'm so sorry that I have no knowledge to help you with what you describe. 

If you'd like, please also drop by New Member Introductions and start a thread so folks can give you a proper welcomehttp://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=new+member+introductions

Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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post #3 of 8

Coccidiosis should be considered since it is in the soil, and chickens normally build up a resistance to it over time, but it can still be a problem in some chickens. Corid is the medicine for treatment of cocci, and all chickens should be treated at the same time. Coccidiosis is easily diagnosed with a fecal float done on some fresh droppings at the vet's office.  Mareks disease is another concern if they weren't vaccinated as day old chicks. It has a whole list of symptoms, but wasting and lack of immunity are some symptoms, and sudden death can be one. Usually it may present with weakness in one or both legs or wings. It can look like botulism. Chickens low in the pecking order may be thin and easily bullied from food. I would place her next to the others in a pen or fenced off with food and water, and slowly re-introduce her during free range sessions while you are there observing. Don't leave her separate long, since they will forget her, and treat her as an enemy. Good luck.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I weighed all my birds today and will begin tracking their weights weekly to see how they are doing.  One concern we have on all our hens is that I can feel the bone that runs down the middle of their chest.  It is very well defined.  Is this normal or should that be buried in meat/muscle?  They are eating, I'm not sure how visual inspections on the girls should look.  my 2 biggest are 5 pounds, the next one is 4 , my bantam rooster is 3 and my sick girl came in at 3 pounds 10 ounces.  She feels like she is getting heavier.  I think maybe next week I'll reintroduce her if she gets closer to the 4 pound mark. 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello all, an update on little Ms Baldy.  She continued having water to watery slightly colered poops.  She never gained weight although ate quite a bit.  We decided that instead of her moping around getting picked on by every other chicken we'd dispatch her today.  It sucked but it's done, I liked her a lot!!  I opened her up to see if what got her was internal, she was wormed, antibiotics, yet still sick.  Her gizzard was huge, hard, and nasty looking!  Everything else looked normal.  She had no breast muscle at all, just her ridge and then ribs.  I had no idea it was that bad until I got under the feathers.  I'm not a chicken doctor but the internals looked to be in good color and texture except the huge mass that was I have learned her gizzard. (all of it bigger than my fist) I am not sure what caused this but I did snap a few pictures. 

 

Once something like this sets in, is it reversible?  How can you find this before it gets this far?  I've read sine forums on here prior to posting about gizzard impaction.  Is this what it was?

 

These are our first girls and the learning curve right now is really steep! 

 

Anyone with more info or advice is dearly appreciated!!

 

Chris

post #6 of 8

I lost a chicken who was sick for only two days, of a gizzard impaction. I found sunflower shells blocking it, and I'm not sure why no other chickens were affected, but it killed her. I would cut the gizzard open and examine the contents.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the quick response.  I buried her in the back yard already.  I never thought of cutting it all open.  Two days is pretty quick!!  Baldy hung on for about a month.  It really has me head scratching..... ​

post #8 of 8

I'm so sorry. You tried really hard to heal Baldy. Thank you for posting your findings. :hugs

Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
Reply
Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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