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Sick Urban Farm Chicken

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

1. Buff Orpington, 3 to 4 years old

2. She walks slower than usual and her head is lower when she walks. Her feathers look weird to me. They don't look smooth. I don't know if it's all in my head but she looks like a stressed out lady with messy hair. She has a poopy bottom. Her comb is fallen to the side. Her back feathers appear moldy at the tips. She has black spots on her comb.

3. A few weeks

4. Some of the other chickens have black spots on their combs but that's the only symptom they share with this hen. There are 13 chickens in all.

5. No sign of bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma, as far as I can see.

6. A few weeks ago, it rained for a few days. When I would see her, she looked damp (right hand side of image) but the other chickens looked dry. No one is around in the evening to see how she's treated. In the morning, she doesn't appear to be picked on.

7. She eats Nutrena Country Feed Layer 16% Crumble and drinks water. I saw her eat and drink today. They all drink out of the same waterer.

8. He poop that I saw today and took a picture of, was mostly white.

9. No treatment so far

10. I'd like to treat her myself.

11. Pictures

(note the possible mold on tail feathers)



12. The chicken's space is made up of 3 areas: their coop (48 sqft) is attached to an enclosure (60 sqft) which has a door that leads to the run (324 sqft). Just last week, we started to leave the enclosure door open. What normally happened is that we would open the enclosure door in the morning and put the chickens back in the afternoon. We use straw bedding for the entire space. The only space that has a roof is the coop.


Hope someone can help me help her!

post #2 of 11

Welcome to BYC. The black spots look like dried blood from pecking. She has a messy bottom from having runny droppings. There are a lot of white urates in her dropping, and it looks like the small amount of solid stool is very green, which can indicate not eating enough. I would do the usual things with a sick chicken such as look at the skin under the vent, wings, and the neck for lice or mites. Feel of her crop to see if it is full and hard or squishy, and again in early morning to make sure it has mostly emptied. Feel of her breast area for any loss of weight, feel the lower belly for any tightness or fullness. Hens this age can have reproductive problems including egg yolk peritonitis and internal laying, and cancer. They may have trouble walking or walk like a penguin or more upright than usual. Have you wormed the flock recently? Valbazen and Safeguard liquid goat wormer are good ones, sometimes worming a chicken can perk them up. A vet could do a fecal test on several of her droppings to tell you if worms or coccidia could be a problem. Perhaps separating her in a crate for a day or two, you could watch how much she eats and drinks, if she lays eggs, and collect some droppings. Chopped egg, tuna, and wet feed might get her to eat. Vitamins and electrolytes in her water might be good for her.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Eggcessive, thanks for the welcome and for your reply. I will do what you suggest and update with my findings.


None of the chickens have been wormed.


Are there specific vitamins I should give her. Could I go to the feed store and just ask for chicken vitamins? Would adding ACV to her water harm or help her at all?

post #4 of 11

There are several good brands of poultry vitamins to give orally, in the water, or in the feed. These all contain multivitamins and electrolytes. I wouldn't use ACV in the water if using vitamins in the water. You can use it later if you want.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Been meaning to update this. She's not better yet but thankfully, she's not any worse. She was placed in her own pen last week. I added the vitamin/electrolyte powder to her water and dewormer to her food on the 4th. Last week, I saw her peck at her food but I haven't observed her eating or drinking since then. Her bedding doesn't looked like it has been pooped on much. I had to look very closely to find a dropping. It looked white and green.


Last week, I picked her up to check her for mites and couldn't find any. I felt her crop and breast area but wasn't sure if it normal or not. I picked up other chickens and I want to say that they all felt about the same. Her vent was just a big poopy mess and I wasn't able to see skin. Her vent was white on the outside but deeper in, it looked very green.


I still need to try feeding her tuna. Is there a way to make her drink?

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

I feel that she's eating more now but still not at a normal rate but she still looks hunched over and generally sick. Anyone out there have any advice on what to try next?

post #7 of 11
If she has a reproductive disorder such as egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying, she may not get better. They tend to starve themselves to death. Some develop ascites or water belly which causes a tight full lower belly, and can cause labored breathing. The fluid can be removed occasionally with an 18 gauge needle inserted just under the skin to help reduce the pressure.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

My sick chicken passed away this morning. I'm very bummed out about it. I don't want this to happen again. I need to learn more about chicken health. I have "Raising Chickens for Dummies" and I know there's a chicken health for dummies. If there's a better book out there that focuses on chicken health, I'll get it.

post #9 of 11

Sorry for your loss. You can pick up a lot of knowledge by reading this forum daily. There is so much information that comes from questions posted, pictures, and comments by other chicken owners. You sometimes need to filter some of the information, but you can always do searches at the top of the page for certain topics. The learning center also at the top of this page has numerous articles. A good basic book such as Story's Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow is a good source, and she also has a chicken health handbook, I believe. Many people do things differently, posting here to see how others treat their chickens and why can help.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Eggcessive, thanks for all your help!

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