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Wyandotte very sick

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a golden laced Wyandotte, about two years old, that is very ill. She's been in the house for over a week. She eats, drinks, and has even laid two eggs. She's terribly skinny despite her food consumption. I had her feces checked and she doesn't have any parasites. She was having trouble walking, now she can't even stand or lift her head.
Very sad and slow ending. I don't know what to do. Should I feed her by hand to help her or will that just prolong her suffering. Please share your thoughts.
post #2 of 11

Have you added any new birds to the flock recently? Sometimes it is hard to treat a sick chicken without ruling out a whole list of things. Has she had any history of eggs breaking inside, or laying shell-less eggs? Internal laying and egg yolk peritonitis is a common cause of illness in hens that age. I would check her crop for impaction or not emptying by early morning. Look for any signs of lice or mites on her skin, especially in front of the vent. What color are her droppings, and are they runny or watery? Does she have any paralysis in either leg or wing? Things like lead poisoning from eating old lead shot or paint chips, mold in feed, eating a toxin in dead animals (botulism) can cause lameness. I would feed her as long as she is interested in eating and drinking. A vet might be of help, or you could try a powerful antibiotic such as Baytril (enrofloxacin) for a chance that she has an infection. I hope that she can recover.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
She does seem to have paralysis on her right side. The thing is she's been eating, laying eggs and her droppings are loose but they didn't indicate a parasite when I had them tested. Her comb is pretty bright.
If she had an impacted crop would she still be eating? I have been dusting her for mites and lice but that's surely still a possibility. Her breasts are all bones.
Today I propped her head so she could eat and drink. She didn't do much of either today.
Thanks though.
post #4 of 11

Do you know if she was vaccinated for Mareks disease? That usually affects chickens when they are younger, but chickens can be exposed by a carrier later in life to cause symptoms. That could explain paralysis in one leg and weakness of her neck. Could she have been injured? Sometimes the crop can be slow to empty during certain illnesses. Do you have any pictures of her that you could share?

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I don't know about the vaccination. She was very sick when she was about 6 months old. Brought her to a vet who tried a few things and didn't think she would make but she pulled through. I'm not even sure this is the same Wyandotte. She molted in late fall and regained her feathers.
She gets less active everyday. She's pretty much stopped eating on her own now. Just coos and drags herself around.
I can accept losing her I just wonder if I'm making her as comfortable as I can. The other 6 girls look fine. I'm thinking that her immune system was never as good as the others and that one of the things you suggested earlier is the case.
post #6 of 11

Mareks can occur with symptoms of sudden paralysis early on, and very quickly, the symptoms can disappear, only to come back later. Tumors are common anywhere in the body. Wasting or starving can be a symptom. Many other things can look like Mareks, so getting a necropsy done by a state vet or poultry vet may be the only way to find out the cause of death. I hope that you can nurse her back to health. I would probably bring her inside to a crate or box inside for warmth, and so that she can get to food  and water. Offer her some chopped egg, and try wetting her feed to make it soupy. Here is some info on Mareks and a link for the state vets:

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. She is inside and there's been some spoon feeding too. She's quiet these days but you never know. Very much appreciate your opinion.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
I read all of the Marek info. A little overwheming. I'm bringing her to the vet tomorrow morning.
She ate the soupy food.
I'll post the result.
post #9 of 11

Yes, Mareks info can be overwhelming, but many diseases can look like Mareks. Let us know what your vet has to say.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
The vet didn't think mareks but he did think she was too far gone to bring back. By the time we got there one leg was completely sticking out, paralyzed. Very sad. He said her crop was fine, not lice. Deducted that she always had a weak immune system, didn't metabolize things well. Probably super low in calcium and maybe picked on before I separated her out. He gave her a little gas and then euthanized her. I could have brought her home to die but honestly it was too much at this point.
I've learned a lot from this hen. Chickens are really tough to diagnose. I didn't want to spend the time and money to drive her to UNH for necropsy since the other six hens look really good.
Thanks so much for the time and effort you put into this. You certainly are knowledgable.
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