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Help! Can't figure out symptoms.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hello. This is my first post as I am quite new to chicken keeping. I have a sick bird and I am having trouble figuring out what is wrong with her. I apologize for the length.

3 days ago when I let my 2 girls out to free range I noticed that one was sticking close to the coop and not doing her normal chicken things, like dust bathing, scratching under the pines, and eating all the seedlings in my vegetable garden like her sister was up to. At first I thought it was fear- we have hawks and after having to chase one off another bird the girls are only allowed out when I'm outside.

But the next day she was still acting off enough that even my husband noticed. I picked her up and she felt very light and bony. (She is not fond of handling so I had not held her in quite awhile but she had been observed eating happily just a few days earlier.) Some water came up from her beak when I lifted her which has never happened before. She also was doing the weird snake-neck thing. After feeling her up I thought she might have had an impacted crop (our grass had been long recently and the girls like to get into everything) since I felt a small lump and it was still early in the day. I dropped some water and olive oil on her beak and locked her up with lots of tempting foods to see if she would try to eat anything. She looked at everything a bit but didn't eat. Later I dropped water mixed with ACV on her beak and she took that.

She's not walking much but also not walking penguin-y or anything and not trying to sit funny, and I felt her up but only felt a small, soft lump, and her vent looks fine so I don't think she's egg bound. Her feathers are a dirty below the vent but the vent itself is clean, pink, and fine. I had noticed a shortage of eggs recently but couldn't be sure who was dropping production since the eggs all look the same and end up in the same nest but now I'm pretty sure it's this one. I'm hoping she didn't have an egg break or something.

Next morning she was still off, and her crop was empty but felt squishy so I tried vomiting her to see what I would get. Very thin brownish water, and it didn't really smell at all. Not sour crop?

She is not VERY lethargic, just stares into space and holds still a lot, tail down, and isn't eating. She is not closing her eyes a lot or anything. She is going outside and was even on one of the stumps I have in their run to stand on. She has been spotted in different parts of the run and even staring at bugs as if she was thinking about eating them. She has jumped up into the coop people door (to get away from me messing with her) which is probably two feet off the ground. But still no eating. I've been making sure she gets water but I haven't tried to force food yet. Tomorrow will be 4 days so I'm thinking I should try to get some food in her.

Any ideas on what I should do next?
post #2 of 5
How is your hen doing? Any other symptoms? I'm sorry I don't have much to offer you but noticed nobody had responded to you. Is she eating yet? Crop still feel the same?
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.
Dalai Lama
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Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.
Dalai Lama
Reply
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you for responding! I have no idea what I'm doing or if anything I'm doing is helping or making things worse...

Chicken update: this morning I vomited her again and got the same brown water, but much less of it. Not sure if this is a sign of improvement or just that she hadn't taken a nice big drink of water yet. Other than that she was basically the same. I had to work all day so I didn't really get to watch her.

This PM her crop was not very large and pretty soft, so maybe just water.

Just now I broke out the mortar and pestle and ground up layer pellets into a pretty fine powder with half a Tums (also powder) for calcium, mixed in some oil and watered it down until it would move through my (very large) syringe. To this I added a whole capsule of probiotics.

She fought me a lot more than the last few days. The combination of this and the thickness of the mixture, as well as my ineptitude at force feeding a chicken, basically just resulted in the two of us getting to be a big 'ol mess. I am going to pretend that she fought more because she is feeling better. I am also going to pretend that any of that food and probiotics actually made it into her mouth.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.
post #4 of 5
Did the liquid have a sour smell to it? Did the brown look like maybe chicken food watered down? I think if she broke an egg in her you would have seen signs of that on her vent. Have you tried providing her with just softened pellets? Soak them in warm water then just mash with a spoon. Or plain yogurt? I've never had a chicken so sick that they wouldn't take some of that. If you think it is sour crop or blocked crop I have had luck with an epsom salt flush before. 1/4 tsp epsom salt in 1/8 cup of water. It is a laxative and they will drink a TON of water after you administer so don't do it right before she will be in the dark and not able to drink. I wish I could help more. How old is your hen? Maybe someone else will have some ideas. You are doing great.i know how frustrating this can feel but all any of us can do is try our best😃
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.
Dalai Lama
Reply
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.
Dalai Lama
Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you for replying! I will try all of that next!

No, the brown liquid did not have any smell to it at all. Now I'm starting to think that getting less and less of it every day is a bad sign, like it's just water and she's drinking less and less.

She wouldn't take any food from me the last few days, but that wasn't really surprising since she's kind of a standoffish bird and likes her personal space. I wasn't pushing the food issue in case she was soured or impacted, but now it's been too long and food is my next agenda. I like the mashed/yogurt idea, I will try that next.
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