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Sick Chicken - Vet has no idea

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

Our chicken issues started when my favorite barred rock started acting strange (comb got pale, not sleeping on roost, not eating/drinking as much).  My mom didn't want to treat the whole flock and just kept an eye on her.  But she never got better and eventually just wasted away, even with easy access to food/water.  She was an older chicken for us - but only really 3 yo so we weren't sure if it was natural death or not.  None of the other chickens showed any signs of illness.  A couple of weeks later, we noticed another hen whose comb was getting pale.  We decided to separate her and to take her in to the vet (1st time going in to vet recommended by local feed store).  Anyway - the vet took samples and said that she didn't have worms but couldn't seem to pinpoint what the problem was.  My mom was thoroughly unimpressed by the vet.  The closest thing the vet could say was that the hen wasn't completely digesting her food and was light in weight.  We didn't want a repeat of what happened before so we took the antibiotic that the vet recommended (for intestinal necrosis - can't think of the name right now - we had to have the vet order it in) and gave it only to the affected chicken.  I got her eating again by offering meal worms in with the feed - I hesitated b/c I wasn't sure she could digest them and it might make the problem worse - but I figured it was better to try them rather than nothing at all.  I probably should have tried the wet/fermented feed - and I might still to help her gain weight.  I also added kelp to help with the vitamins.  I hesitated to add vitamins to the water b/c the antibiotic was given that way.  Her comb still hasn't reddened up and she still hasn't laid an egg (over a week now).  Her antibiotic is over today (7 day dose)...we had to use a syringe to get it down her throat for the first few days.  She is now eating more and seems to be drinking but her comb is still pale and she isn't laying at all.  Vet says we have to throw away eggs for 2 weeks anyway, but I hope this isn't some other problem.  My plan is to use some vitamins in her water to make sure it is n't a deficiency of any sort, but I don't know what else to do.  Has anyone seen this or have any idea on treatment? 

post #2 of 7

Many of us have experienced similar symptoms with a chicken before, and unfortunately it is not an easy one illness to pinpoint. Fecal floats by vets are not always foolproof, so I would recommend worming her with Valbazen 1/2 ml orally, and repeat in 10 days. That will require a 14 day egg withdrawal from the last dose, total of 24 days. Capillary worms can cause anemia, and are hard to treat. Another good dewormer is fenbendazole (SafeGuard, Panacur) given 1 ml orally for 5 days in a row. It may be easier to find locally. 

Poultry Nutri-Drench is a good vitamin/mineral tonic to give 2 ml orally every day, and can help with anemia. Poultry Cell, another brand, is almost identical. Vitamin powders to put in the water are easy to use--Poultry Vitamins with Lactobacillus by Rooster Booster contains probiotics.

Check her skin all over for tiny bugs that could be lice or mites, which can cause anemia or weakness. Has she lost weight in her breast bone area, or does she have any swelling in the lower abdomen? Has she recently molted? Combs are usually pale during winter or molt when not laying eggs. A common problem with older hens can be internal laying or egg yolk peritonitis, which can make them very weak and sickly. Here is some infor to read about that:


Here is a link about Valbazen:

Edited by Eggcessive - 1/16/16 at 8:21am
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Vet said she was light in the breastbone area.  I am thinking of using wormer on the whole coop despite what the vet said b/c I think the vet is really inexperienced with chickens.  I am also thinking of dusting the birds and coop for mite to be on the safe side even though I've never seen them.  I was going to use Diatomateous earth but there seems to be some real disagreement on that.  There also seems to be real disagreement on the use of Sevin on birds or in coop.

As far as working goes, I have read on here that it might be wise to use an easier dose of the water based one (Wazine?) and then a stronger all purpose wormer that you put on their skin (pour-on ivermectin (Epinrex:))  I am thinking maybe of this so the chickens don'e die if the infestation is really bad or something.  I read a pretty good post by threehorses on this.  I'm guessing though that I'll have to withhold all the eggs for 14 days after final - which will be a lot almost a month of eggs.

Edited by Bespeckled - 1/16/16 at 8:41am
post #4 of 7

My option is not to worm her, she is weak and the wormers can make them sicker. Sometimes chickens just get sick and die. I have found around 2.5-3 years is when I begin to loss some of my hens to whatever disease...they stop eating and waste away.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I would agree with the no deworming for the older hen (the first one I lost), but this is a last spring chick hen  and she's not yet 1 yo.  I'm afraid if I don't do something the whole flock of 30 birds will be infected.  However, my mom really doesn't want to lose out on 20-25 eggs a day for up to 4 weeks.  That's a lot of eggs wasted.  But I told her that they all likely have worms and haven't been wormed yet - maybe this should be the time.  Right now she only seems to want to worm the one I have posted about and see what happens.  She has been separated for a little over a week from the rest of the chickens - and is eating and drinking fine.  I think she is strong enough to survive worming if I do the Wazine pre-worming detailed by ThreeHorses and then follow up with Ivemectrin drops on her 2 weeks later.  Since she isn't laying, there are no eggs to throw no issue there.  I am also planning on using a vitamin drench as recommended in a previous post.  I had planned on doing that earlier, but I wasn't sure I could put that in her water with the antibiotic the vet prescribed.  I do hate how most chicken meds aren't even labeled for egg withdrawal...but merely say don't use in egg layers.  I figure that the industry hasn't bothered to test it b/c big industry would just cull the bird.  But after extensive reading it seems like most flock owners do egg withdrawal for at least 2 weeks after final treatment of anything.

post #6 of 7
I would worm as Eggcessive suggested, with the one of the products she recommended. I would also weigh daily using a kitchen scale and tube feed if more weight is lost.

Can you post a poop picture?

post #7 of 7
Studies show that ivermectin is not an effective wormer, so don't waste you money on it or Wazine, just get the Valbazen of Safeguard.. big_smile.png

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