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My first sick chicken!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello!!

 

I am not new to this site, but just became a member and so I haven't explored all the forums. I will do so once I fix my ailing chicken!  

 

I have a 2.5 yr old buff orpington.  I adopted her and 3 of her sisters as well as 4 youth chickens this summer.  So far, they have been very healthy.  Sugar Bear was laying before she came to us, as far as I know, but it seems the stress of moving here and then moving into a new coop once I had it built made her stop laying.  So, as far as I know, she has not laid an egg since at least July.  just as an FYI to set the stage...two of her sisters stopped laying around the same time, but 3 of the youngsters are now laying daily.

 

Anyway, I noticed yesterday that Sugar Bear seemed a little slower than normal.  Her comb was also sagging a bit. She was still eating. I noticed that around her vent the feathers were wet and she had white poop on her bottom and she was very red back there.  This morning, her comb is even more saggy and is not red, but a bit purplish in color and she is definitely feeling poorly. 

 

I have ZERO knowledge about sick chickens and I want to help!  Every other chicken seems ok. All very healthy.

 

Any ideas would be very much appreciated.  I was thinking of bringing her inside in my big tub.  We are in Maine and the nights are getting a little chilly!

 

Thanks so much...

Nellie

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

Here is some updated information...

 

So, her crop is HUGE (at least softball sized) and very soft. It doesn't feel totally like liquid, but definitely not solid.  Per some reading, I added ACV to her water. I also dissolved a pedialyte frozen pop in her water.  She is drinking quite a bit. I also tried to get her to vomit. I was successful a few times, but only about 1/4 cup came out over a few sessions. Mostly liquid, but some white and green chunks in there too.  I just gave her some plain greek yogurt with a probiotic capsule mixed in as well.

 

 I would really like to help her.  She is my kids favorite!  

post #3 of 9
I would definitely bring her inside. A pale, floppy comb is an indication of sickness, as well as hypothermia - stick your hand under her wing, up against the skin. It should feel very hot - birds run about 106F. Check her legs as well. The scales should feel a very even temperature, a little warm, but if they're cool like tile that's another sign she has a low temperature.

You need to do a physical exam, first off. Be extremely thourough. Check every part of her body - run your hand through the feathers, under the wings, the neck, inside the mouth, the oil gland, the bottoms of the feet, and most importantly around the vent and fluff area. Palpate the area and check for swelling to see if she may be egg bound. Clean away any and all poop; it can result in fly strike if left long enough.

Is she molting? Has she been molting? I would put her on a higher protein feed such as an 18% grower and add Sav-A-Chick probiotics and electrolytes to her water. Definitely keep her indoors and warm.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #4 of 9

At her age internal laying or egg yolk peritonitis can show up. The hens usually don't lay well, may have runny stools, feel poorly, lose weight, and don't like to walk much. There can be crop problems such as a slow crop in hens who are sick. Now if her crop contents smell sour or bad, then she may have sour crop, but having a soft distended crop, may not always be sour crop. Other common illnesses which would affect laying would be fatty liver hemorrhagic disease, common in overweight hens. 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Sadly, Sugar Bear is fading quickly.  She has stopped eating/drinking and is just lying on shavings on the bottom of my tub with her eyes closed. She is pretty weak on her feet.  When I massage her crop the gas/smell that comes out does not smell great, but then again I don't know what the "normal" smell is.  Her breathing is fine and abdomen palpates normally. 

post #6 of 9

Can you give her some electrolyte water, pedialyte, or gatorade with a dropper to get some fluids into her? Sorry that she is going downhill so fast.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

I put some pedialyte in her waterer that she was drinking from earlier, but she isn't drinking any more. I have a syringe and can try syringing her some water and electrolytes.  What could cause her to go downhill so fast?! Two days ago she was totally fine and I don't even know if she will make it through the night now.  :(

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I just thought I would give you an update, for educational purposes.  Sugar Bear died about two hours after my last post. She went very peacefully.  I have not been through a chicken death like that and I was very concerned about what happened.  I hope this doesn't creep anybody out, but I did an autopsy on her because I wanted to learn more so I could maybe know what to do if it happened again.  Turns out Sugar Bears crop was full of food, not fluid. It was not sour crop. It was also not hard. Very soft. All normal stuff you would find, but the size of a softball, maybe bigger. There didn't appear to be an obstruction.  I then looked in her gizzard. Again, normal stuff.... except I found two very small screws!  They were only about 1.5 cm long and they weren't blocking anything.  They weren't sharp either. I really don't think they caused an obstruction, however, one of them didn't have any threads on it and I wonder if maybe some of it dissolved and caused any heavy metal toxicity? I don't even know if that happens with screws.  The rest of her looked fine. No tumors. No other blockages. I'm sad for her, but glad that she went so quickly. 

 

Thanks for all your help. I guess there is not much I could have done.  But will certainly be looking closely for any other nails/screws that might be around the property!!

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by triplechick View Post

I just thought I would give you an update, for educational purposes.  Sugar Bear died about two hours after my last post. She went very peacefully.  I have not been through a chicken death like that and I was very concerned about what happened.  I hope this doesn't creep anybody out, but I did an autopsy on her because I wanted to learn more so I could maybe know what to do if it happened again.  Turns out Sugar Bears crop was full of food, not fluid. It was not sour crop. It was also not hard. Very soft. All normal stuff you would find, but the size of a softball, maybe bigger. There didn't appear to be an obstruction.  I then looked in her gizzard. Again, normal stuff.... except I found two very small screws!  They were only about 1.5 cm long and they weren't blocking anything.  They weren't sharp either. I really don't think they caused an obstruction, however, one of them didn't have any threads on it and I wonder if maybe some of it dissolved and caused any heavy metal toxicity? I don't even know if that happens with screws.  The rest of her looked fine. No tumors. No other blockages. I'm sad for her, but glad that she went so quickly. 

Thanks for all your help. I guess there is not much I could have done.  But will certainly be looking closely for any other nails/screws that might be around the property!!

So sorry for your loss, but good on you for doing a necropsy. It's pretty much the most important thing you can do if you can't save the bird, and will help you understand their physiology so you can better help injured or sickly birds in the future.

Sounds a bit like pendulous crop, which is usually the result of impacted crop but can occur on its own. The screws may have contributed to the issue but I doubt it, you'd be amazed by the things I find in some bird's gizzards that had absolutely no effect on their digestion. As for heavy metal poisoning - it's possible, yes. I'm not as well studied as I should be on this particular subject and my copy of the Chicken Health Handbook seems to have gone missing, so I can't weigh in on that particular issue; maybe someone else can?

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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