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Chicken won't eat, listless, droopy

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I don't know what's going on. I have three white silkie pullets(and five cockerels, but of course, the cockerels are healthy as cane be). I found one pullet about three days ago who was listless and droppy when I went out to feed in the evening. The feed had been gone for a couple of hours, I'm sure, since I haven't installed the new feeders and have to refill the ones I'm using twice daily. She didn't hurry over for water when I refilled that, or for food. She laid there obligingly with barely a complaint when one of the boys tried to mount her--usually my girls pitch a fit. (I know, I need to get all of the boys out until they start laying, at least, but time to build a new pen for them has been non-existent lately--it's high on my priority list).

I brought her in and put her in a dog carrier. She hasn't eaten anything since then. She's drinking some, not as much as I'd like, but she's staying relatively hydrated. Her first poop after I brought her in was totally normal, the second a bit watery, but still white and since then it's been nothing by liquid (understandable since that's all she's been eating.). I've tried tempting her with other foods like yogurt, but she's really not interested. The first day she didn't seem as bad so I thought maybe she was just feeling off and would get better. Yesterday when she was looking worse I ran tot he feed store for antibiotics. The only thing available to me for chickens is aureomycin! (I'm totally going to stock up on a couple of other things when I'm out of town next. I haven't needed anything before and don't like giving meds unless I have to, so i hadn't bothered to buy anything).

Her crop is empty, she's not laying yet, I don't see any signs of mites or worms, there's no blood in her stool, oh, and her vent is clear. the first day or so she would respond when I spoke to her, but now I have to tap on the side of the cat carrier to get any response at all, and that's just movement and maybe a slight shift of her head.

And now I have a second pullet who is also acting funny. I brought her inside last night and she hadn't eaten anything in over 14 hours, at least. If I can't get any other meds, I'm certainly not going to be able to get anything else intended to treat chickens in my remote area. Can I feed pedialyte or something since water is all they are interested in? Should I bother giving the second pullet the meds I gave the first one? they don't seem to be making any difference, and I'm really worried the rest of my flock is going to get whatever is bothering these two girls.

There is no vet withing forty minutes of where I live (and I don't think he sees chickens anyway), or anywhere else to buy meds for chickens and due to my work and class schedule I couldn't get to either before Monday--and that's if I get up before dawn to make the trip before I go to work that day.

Help!

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Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
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My Inspirational romance "The Ball's in Her Court" is now available! Check out my website to learn more!
http://www.heatherjustesen.com/

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
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post #2 of 11

Gosh I hope some silkie owners will come in soon, I know they are trickier than some other types of chickens.

Regardless of that, these chicks will need electrolytes, some of which are available with antibiotics in the solution, but it's generally wiser to know what's happening before giving antibiotics.

Without calories as well as hydration thes chicks will die, so you have to act fast.

What were they eating?
Is there any sign of discoloration like blood in droppings in the overall flock?

Does your feed have a coccidiostat?

Do your chicks have grit?

Until you know and if they will not swallow yogurt, you can offer a few drops of olive oil for the calorie value.  But I rather think you need an experienced silkie owner in here, fast, to evaluate your situation.

Also, check these threads:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/search-forum.php?cx=partner-pub-9473214521653913%3Abil3pz2p90m&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Silkie+chicks+ill&sa=Search

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Focussing on the black Australorp.  Facebook page under Linda Pattison.

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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I no longer have them on chick feed since they are six months old now, but I've seen no indications of cocci. And they have had access to the run, so they pick up all the grit they need off of the ground. I'll try getting a little olive oil into them along with some electrolytes. Thanks.

My Inspirational romance "The Ball's in Her Court" is now available! Check out my website to learn more!
http://www.heatherjustesen.com/

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
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My Inspirational romance "The Ball's in Her Court" is now available! Check out my website to learn more!
http://www.heatherjustesen.com/

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
Reply
post #4 of 11

It does not sound good for your silkie pullet. Do give her pedialite with her water, if that is what you have on hand. She needs nutrition of any sort, if she is to fight what is wrong with her. Continue to keep her in a safe warm place and try to force the pedialite on her. It is not easy to force feed a chicken. You can use an eyedropper to drop the liquid onto her beak. If you don't have an eyedropper, you can take a straw, cut it down to about three inches, and use it to drop the liquid onto her beak.
Your roosters are wearing down your pullets. To give your girls a rest, you are going to have to figure out a way to seperate them somehow. Silkies are small birds to begin with, if they have to keep fending of the roosters, they get too tired to do anything else including eating. It doesn't take that much for them to waste away.
I hope your birds recover.

Backyard chicken keeper since 1992.
"An' ye harm none, do what ye will. What ye send forth comes back to thee, so ever mind the law of three. Follow this with mind and heart, Merry ye meet, and merry ye part."
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Backyard chicken keeper since 1992.
"An' ye harm none, do what ye will. What ye send forth comes back to thee, so ever mind the law of three. Follow this with mind and heart, Merry ye meet, and merry ye part."
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

I put some sugar in her water earlier, then added some electrolytes a little later in the day. I've even force feeder her some here and there through the day and she seems to be perking up a bit. I know there's a way to go yet, but at least she is sitting up now and holding up her head, which she hadn't done for more than 24 hours. The second one is still not eating much, but I gave her pedialite too and she seems fairly active. I won't put either of them back out again until they are both eating well, though.

Thanks, and I'll be sure to post an update tomorrow!

My Inspirational romance "The Ball's in Her Court" is now available! Check out my website to learn more!
http://www.heatherjustesen.com/

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
Reply
My Inspirational romance "The Ball's in Her Court" is now available! Check out my website to learn more!
http://www.heatherjustesen.com/

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
Reply
post #6 of 11

Not much help but, one of my big Jersey Giant girls did the same thing. She showed no outward symptoms other than sitting still and stopped eating. I fed her with a large syringe. It didn't help though as she passed.

I hope someone here knows or can find out a cause as I've been looking myself for several days. Good luck with her though..I sincerely mean that.

post #7 of 11

I had another thought about your chickens. Have you checked their rears to see if they have bugs or something else wrong that you can see?
I'll check back here tomorrow, and I hope your chickens improve.

Backyard chicken keeper since 1992.
"An' ye harm none, do what ye will. What ye send forth comes back to thee, so ever mind the law of three. Follow this with mind and heart, Merry ye meet, and merry ye part."
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Backyard chicken keeper since 1992.
"An' ye harm none, do what ye will. What ye send forth comes back to thee, so ever mind the law of three. Follow this with mind and heart, Merry ye meet, and merry ye part."
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well, both girls are a lot more active today. I pulled the first one out for a minute and she puked water on the floor (thank goodness for vinyl flooring), but I realized late last night that she might just not like the ground up food I've been feeding my new chicks and quail (which is what I had in the house when I brought her in), so I topped her dish off with her normal crumbles and she went to town.

Obviously she's not totally back up to snuff, but eating is a very good sign. I don't know why I didn't do something about the electrolytes sooner, I'm an EMT, I KNOW what happens when people's blood sugar gets too low! *sigh*

Both pullets will stay inside a couple more days until i know they're both totally good again, but at least I'm not worried I'll wake up to a dead bird in the morning. Thanks everyone for you comments and suggestions!

My Inspirational romance "The Ball's in Her Court" is now available! Check out my website to learn more!
http://www.heatherjustesen.com/

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
Reply
My Inspirational romance "The Ball's in Her Court" is now available! Check out my website to learn more!
http://www.heatherjustesen.com/

Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas! I think I'm addicted to hatching.
Reply
post #9 of 11
What are electrolytes? I think my chock might need this! And where can. Buy it? Thanks.
post #10 of 11

That's exactly the same problem I have with my otherwise healthy chickens. Sarah became listless, refused to eat and then died. Katy is now doing exactly the same. Breathing is fine. Feather health is good. Her feet wont clutch at my fingers, and now she's just shut her eyes and is waiting for death. What the heck is it??

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