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Dehydrated chicken not eating

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
We have white sex-link chickens and one other breed - black with green tinge to feathers: I forget the breed. We have 8 chickens currently. We are still in our first yr of chickens. Our runt of the white sex-links gets picked on a lot. Hen pecked enough that she has been afraid to get treats from our hands or one of the black ones go after her. She is smaller though her sisters are not. She is currently in our little heated garage it appears the only time she is drinking is when her beak is dipped in water. My husband made up milk for her to get substance down her as it appears she has not eaten in 3 days. He's been hand feeding her milk for that long. I missed it but he said she seemed like she could not see her food and she just lays where he left her. She can move around a little. Her comb is looking dehydrated. How many times a day should we be dipping her beak? Her crop feels fine- we had a rescue bird have an issue there. She was purchased as a pullet from a local small chicken farm last summer. They have been laying all winter. We have been surprised she has not died. We are not sure why she is not eating other then my husband feels she is to weak to eat now and she appears to have gone blind or have major vision issues. Our rescue chicken a 5 yr old Americana died a month ago and she had issues with seeing a night right before she died but this has not been the same. We share the care of the chickenes with our neighbors. Any thoughts?

Thank you, Heather
post #2 of 6

How old is she? There are many causes of blindness in chickens. Mareks disease is one cause. Do you know if she was vaccinated for Mareks? It also can cause paralysis in one or both feet or wings, wasting, and tumors. I would bring her inside to get her drinking and eating for a day or two, and then try her in a cage or pen inside the coop with others with her own food and water. Put some electrolytes and vitamins from your feed store in the water.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
She is not quite a yr old. She is not immunized that we know of unless the breeder did as we purchased the 4 at 4 months. She is inside the house on a bed of straw in a pen. We will add electrolytes & vitamins for her and look up that disease. Thank you so much for your thoughts to help.
Read on Maricks real quick and will look closer at her eyes, but there is no paralysis. There are vision issues but I've not noticed her eyes not looking clear or looking gray. Hopefully the vitamins and such tomorrow will help her to recover. Any other thoughts are also welcome. Thank you so much for your help.
Edited by Snoflower - 2/21/16 at 11:19pm
post #4 of 6

The eye form of Mareks can be one of four different types of Mareks. What do her eyes look like as far as the color and pupils? Do you see any cloudiness. She may not have Mareks since many chickens can suffer from blindness from many causes. I have one who was blinded by getting pecked in the eye. Placing her near her food and water in a small pen may help her get her food. Also try wetting some of her feed to make it soupy. Here are some links to read about eye disorders and Mareks:

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
She has none of the other signs of Mareks other then could not see well that is when she would open her eyes. She has stopped eating and drinking. We can't get her to open her eyes or taste the water. She just sleeps. Her feet kick a bit when we try to get her to drink so at this point we are just trying to make her comfortable and will try to see if she will open her eyes so we can get her to drink. She has pooed and peed and we moved her- she had moved herself to try to get to her water or food but did not make it to either. We think she is so dehydrated that she can't function. Her poor little comb is so dried out. She has had no water sence yesterday and has not eaten in days. I ordered the vitamins & electrolights so we will at least have them for the next need and I think we will give some to the others just for good measure in their water. But we don't think she is going to make it.
post #6 of 6

If a vet is possible, she could be given fluids under her skin (hypodermaclysis,) or she could be tube fed fluids. There is a good series of threads called "go team tube feeding" to learn how. A length of aquarium air tubing from Walmart can be used with a regular tipped 35 cc syringe to crop feed. One end that goes into the throat can be melted slightly on one end to make it less sharp. I'm so sorry that she may not make it, but still hold out hope for her.

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