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RIR lethargic, won't eat or drink - need advise

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have an 18 month old RIR who has been very healthy and active.  She stays in a pen most of the time with her 5 sisters.  I do allow them out to roam freely in my large yard on my days off.  After I was gone for three days I came home to find her sisters roosting (it was after dark) and her lying on her side in the bottom of the coop on the ground.  I checked with the family and they said she was fine that morning and had been pecking at a large cabbage I had left hanging during my absence.  This was 7 days ago.  Her sisters all seem fine at this point.


Once I found her I immediately took her inside to my master bathroom and put her in a crate, she was cold and I warmed the room and kept the lights off for the next 24 hours.  She can stand and walk around, her eyes are closed much of the time,  I started giving her combo probiotics and electrolyte fluids as my work schedule permitted.  I genuinely did not expect her to make it through the first night.  I have checked her for mites (coop is treated with DE routinely), her head is drawn back into her body making her crop (?) appear to protrude.  Her comb is listing to the left dramatically.  She will not drink on her own, but I can get her to take fluids with a syringe.  About day five (still stunned she was alive) I added some corn syrup to the fluids she was being given.  She is taking between 20 and 50ml of water by mouth daily and nothing else.  Her recent eggs had been very thin shelled and misshapen somewhat but she had laid on the day I found her.  For the first 72 hours her poops were very thin with green and white.  Since that time they are more formed and brown and white.  I have checked her vent and it is clear even her fluffy butt has very little poop on it.  No sign of worms in her poops but the smell of the poops is wretched.  Today I thinned some yogurt with the fluid solution and gave her 5ml which she took without a problem.  I do not have access to a vet that treats chickens but have a medical background and want to do whatever is necessary to give her the best care.  She was vaccinated for Mareks disease and obtained from a very reputable breeder as were her "sisters".  Today I did notice that while I am feeding her she opens her eyes and looks at me which she has not done up until now.


Normally her diet consists of layer pellets, layer crumbles and scratch grains along with vegetable scraps and my recently the peppers in my garden.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated

post #2 of 10

Might be a sour crop.......


Turn upside down and rub throat backwards towards beak, see if she vomits up some nasty stuff. Also try spoon feeding her hard boiled eggs chopped up and mixed with yogurt.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I did as you suggested, she fought me a little bit.  nothing came up but she swallowed over and over again while i did it.  her neck is very bony not squishy as I would expect.  She seems very weak now and unable to stand.  thank you for the suggestion.  I am including a pic of my Myrtle - note how her head is drawn into her body.


post #4 of 10

Was she interested in the egg/yogurt mixture? You could also mis in a tiny bit of electrolyte powder.


If she wont eat from the spoon take a tiny bit about the size of a small pea and roll it into the inside of her beak. See if you can get her to eat a bit.

Edited by IdahoPrepper - 10/12/15 at 7:13pm
post #5 of 10

The crop does not feel swollen or mushy ? it should be empty by now if you are only feeding her liquids. I would get her some antibiotics and try  tube feeding her the antibiotic and more food and/or mineral oil if she is not eating on her own still  . I am thinking she may have eaten something she shouldn't have and it may be stuck in her crop or gizzard. i have had a few that had an impacted gizzard one just recently had a bunch of  some type of seeds from the yard /woods in the gizzard that did not pass and another ate large rocks and glass. PS be careful if you try to make her vomit again as she can aspirate the vomit. but if her crop isnt hard or mushy she probablly hasn't got a sour crop

Edited by dough13 - 10/12/15 at 8:06pm
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
She got very very quiet after I did this and fell asleep in my arms. When I tried to put her back in the crate she woke up and her head was jerking around back and forth. Her head seems to be a little more undrawn from her body cavity. She would not eat anything. I can still get her to eat yogurt with a syringe but I only have yogurt with honey in it and have heard that sugar is bad possibly - I'll pick up some plain yogurt today. Her eyes are open a little more and she actually made a chicken sounds last night. I just wish she would eat something. She's lost so much weight.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm a newbie, what type of antibiotics? And what dose?
post #8 of 10

Its sad that no one is chiming in here. There are tons of people that know what to do (im not one of them) and they are not responding to your post.


They are not responding to mine either on my coop issue.


Make sure you mix in chopped up hard boiled egg to the yogurt mix. It helped one of my birds. I mixed yogurt, egg and electrolytes into a mush and beak fed her. Mine had a sour crop.


If you go to a tractor supply or farm tac store someone there should know what type of fowl antibiotics. You might also try a coccidiostat for stomach bugs.


Maybe try searching here or google for common chicken diseases and treatments.


She is also going to need some water and thats hard to feed without hurting her. It can get into the lungs. If you feed water do it slowly drop by drop.

Edited by IdahoPrepper - 10/13/15 at 8:25am
post #9 of 10

Head jerking may be a sign of an impacted/sour crop you did not let us know if her crop feels mushy or hard.


I use super booster antibiotic it has vitamins in it  and the mixture is on the package  but you may need an injectable antibiotic unless you  learn to tube feed .There are plenty of instructions on here about tube feeding if you use the search function .You can feel the tube in the crop if you do it right , you need to be careful not to put the tube in the wind pipe but you will know if you do because the chicken wont like it much  .  You can get this stuff at farm supply stores or farms. If it were me i would tube feed the  antibiotic , mineral oil and mushed up cooked eggs 2 or 3 times a day and hope for the best.


 You could  start with the antibiotic water then on the next feeding try some cooked eggs/water yogurt if she seems a bit better if she doesnt seem better id try some mineral oil and then the cooked egg mixture I try to use enough liquid to almost fill the crop but if you over fill the hen may vomit and choke on it since she is weak . I believe the tube feeding articles tell you approx how much liquid to use.  I suspect if  she hasn't got a viral/parasite problem that she has an impacted gizzard . I read somewhere that you could try tube feeding some grit mixed with her tube feeding food in hopes of clearing the gizzard blockage.

Edited by dough13 - 10/13/15 at 9:16am
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Given her unusual posture with her head so drawn into the body it is difficult to tell where her crop is.  If it is where I think it is it is not mushy at all.  she has a bony protrusion to the left of where she is holding her head.  I tried to attach a pic to my post but it was removed. I am able to get water into her with electrolytes and probiotics one drop at a time.  she is very patient with me.  she does not want to eat at all, however, I was able to open her beak and get hard boiled egg bits into her which she readily swallowed.  she is dropping a lot of feathers as of today.  I don't believe sour crop, possibly impacted but can not imagine what she could have gotten into to cause a problem such as that.  She is still standing but for obvious reasons seems weaker today.  I will go to the farm store tomorrow and try to secure antibiotics.  She is still pooping six to eight times per day and the smell is much less offensive at this point.  However, she has not taken in much in the last week either.


I really appreciate all your help and advice.  I gave her care to God and am just doing what I can with your help.  I can't really believe she has held on this long with me.

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