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Hen is lethargic and hobbling

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My olive-egger hen (about 5 years old) is very lethargic and wouldn't get off the roost this morning. I picked her up and she just felt very limp. She is usually the head of the flock and very fiesty. Her head was alert and eyes clear. No raspy breathing or build up in nostrils, etc. Her vent is clear but I did notice there were some green goopy drops of poop on tips of feathers & down where the poop usually drops while they are on the roost at night.

 

She just started laying again for the season and we got about 4 eggs from her then skipped yesterday and this morning. She usually skips a day, sometimes two, during the week and is my best layer. I thought maybe she might have an egg stuck but I don't feel anything unusual near the vent area. I do feel a larger-than-usual puffiness, like a water balloon, a little further back from the vent (area under her legs). I do not feel anything hard like an egg stuck in there, but I am not sure what I am looking for since none of my chickens ever had an egg stuck before. When I put her back down. She slouched over to the corner and put her head down. Her tail would slowly and slightly pump up and down the way a human's chest would move with breathing. I am not sure what else to do.

 

Can this be a sickness like a virus/bacteria she caught or is there some other function of her body gone wrong? She seemed fine yesterday. I have 3 other hens (for a total of 4 birds) in my flock who are all acting normally. What's the next step?


Edited by Chickety Charcoal - 3/5/16 at 6:23am

Owner of a flock of eight chicken hens: 1 Buff Orphington & a Welsummer who thinks she's a rooster- hatched in March 2010. and a fluffy yellow mutt of unknown lineage- hatched 1/19/12. 6 pullets hatched March 30, 2016 (1 Ameraucana*, 1 Dominique, 2 RIR, 2 Barred Rocks)

 

Also, 7 JMF Coturnix quail hatched on 05/20/14 = 6 A&M and 1 Jumbo brown.

 

R.I.P. gray Olive-egger (5 years old. March...

Reply

Owner of a flock of eight chicken hens: 1 Buff Orphington & a Welsummer who thinks she's a rooster- hatched in March 2010. and a fluffy yellow mutt of unknown lineage- hatched 1/19/12. 6 pullets hatched March 30, 2016 (1 Ameraucana*, 1 Dominique, 2 RIR, 2 Barred Rocks)

 

Also, 7 JMF Coturnix quail hatched on 05/20/14 = 6 A&M and 1 Jumbo brown.

 

R.I.P. gray Olive-egger (5 years old. March...

Reply
post #2 of 4

It's so hard to diagnose chickens unless you're an avian vet and you know what you're looking for.

 

I can tell you, though, the symptoms you describe sound very serious.

 

You might do what I do, just start her on antibiotics on the off chance that she has an infection. I use fish amoxicillin, 200 mg. one capsule daily for 7-10 days.

 

However, I've had chickens with the symptoms you describe. Lymphotic leucosis is a virus similar to Marek's that causes tumors to grow on the organs. It sounds like your hen could have liver issues and from the green feces, she's stopped eating.

 

If you're hen doesn't survive, I highly recommend sending her body to a lab for a necropsy so you will know how this could affect the rest of your flock.

 

I recently lost a seven-month old pullet to a very fast acting infection, and just managed to catch the same thing in her sister a few days later, but I was in time to save the second one. So act quickly, you just might be able to save her.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

She died. I went to check on her awhile ago and found her in the coop. I have never had a necropsy done before so I will have to look into that. Not sure how my wife will feel about keeping a dead bird in the refrigerator, though.

 

Anyone have any ideas about what this was? The swelling under her legs to the vent is really what made me wonder. 

Owner of a flock of eight chicken hens: 1 Buff Orphington & a Welsummer who thinks she's a rooster- hatched in March 2010. and a fluffy yellow mutt of unknown lineage- hatched 1/19/12. 6 pullets hatched March 30, 2016 (1 Ameraucana*, 1 Dominique, 2 RIR, 2 Barred Rocks)

 

Also, 7 JMF Coturnix quail hatched on 05/20/14 = 6 A&M and 1 Jumbo brown.

 

R.I.P. gray Olive-egger (5 years old. March...

Reply

Owner of a flock of eight chicken hens: 1 Buff Orphington & a Welsummer who thinks she's a rooster- hatched in March 2010. and a fluffy yellow mutt of unknown lineage- hatched 1/19/12. 6 pullets hatched March 30, 2016 (1 Ameraucana*, 1 Dominique, 2 RIR, 2 Barred Rocks)

 

Also, 7 JMF Coturnix quail hatched on 05/20/14 = 6 A&M and 1 Jumbo brown.

 

R.I.P. gray Olive-egger (5 years old. March...

Reply
post #4 of 4

Call your local university and ask for the agricultural department. Or if you have a university extension office, call them. Or call the health department and ask for a number of a lab that does necropsies on farm animals. Refrigerate or place the body in ice in a cooler until you can deliver it to the lab.

 

I'd guess your hen had liver problems and acites had set in. Acites is merely a symptom of organ failure. The cause of death and illness could be anything. It does sound a lot like she might have died from the LL I described to you as having killed some in my flock. You need to know if what killed your hen is going to infect the rest of the flock.

 

Not to get the necropsy is to invite more grief ahead and the worst is not knowing what's killing your birds.

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