I'm new to raising chickens. I have a backyard flock of six 5 month old pullets and four 10 week old chicks. Sunny is the sweetest chicken in my flock. She's a bit of a loner with the other chickens, but loves to be held. She makes a gentle clucking sound and waits by the door so we'll pick her up when we go out to the coop. It's been raining like crazy so I hadn't been picking her up for a few days. 11 days ago I notice she seem droopy. I picked her up and was horrified at how much weight she had lost. I went to my local feed store to get advice. The first thing they asked was had I wormed the flock. No I hadn't (dumb newbie mistake!) On top of that, we had just moved the coop and the flock had been going crazy eating worms. (I live in Louisiana and we've had lots of rain lately.
1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
Sunny is a 5 1/2 month old buff orpington. She was vaccinated for Marek's. I first noticed she was very underweight 11 days ago.
2) What is the behavior, exactly.
Day 1- morning- Only eating when fed by hand and stumbling.
Day 2-afternoon- I started tube feeding her fluids and crumble/pedialye mash.
Over the next 7 days she started to perk up (I wasn't weighing her then so I don't know if she was gaining weight.) Day 9- afternoon- I took her outside while the other chickens were free ranging. She was excited to see them and they all came running over to see her. It was so sweet. I was excited to see her walk and trot around the yard. She was still a little wobbly, but seemed so much better. I thought she was getting tired, so I brought her in and tube fed her. Before I put her back in her box I brought her back outside while the kids put the other chickens back in the coop. When she saw her buddies, she leapt out of my arms and landed awkwardly and started flapping her wings frantically while scooting around on her side. I thought she had broken her neck. Needless to say, everyone was freaking out and the kids were crying I wrapped her in a towel and brought her inside. Her comb had turned pale and her legs were sticking out straight and she was mouth breathing. She looked like she was in shock. We considered putting her down that night, but the kids begged us to wait until the morning to see if she'd improved.
Day 10- 6 am- actually looked much better, good color, only slightly mouth breathing, but still no appetite and legs still straight out, but I can gently fold them under her,
Day 12 - same
3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
Today is Day 12- 8pm
4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
I'm not sure if she hurt herself when she leapt out of my arms. She landed really hard. I was worried she'd broken her neck.
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
She could have been loaded with worms. She hadn't been wormed and I know she and the other chickens had been catching earthworms in the yard. She also took that bad fall. She's had the Marek's vaccine, but of course I'm worried about that possibly.
7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
Day 1 only hand feeding, scrambled eggs, yogurt and bread soaked in pedialyte and small amounts of water.
Day 2- late afternoon- I got desperate and learned how to tube feed by looking at youtube videos. I started tube feeding her about 1/2 Corid water and 1/2 pedialyte and a crumble/pedialyte mash in small amount several times a day, but food mash seemed to go straight through her. Still eating a little bit of egg and wet bread.
Day 5 found a scale- 3.61 lb.
Day 7- only 3. 33 lb.
Day 9-morning- only 3.35 lb. Not eating or drinking on her won. Really worried, went all over town and finally found baby bird food in clearance section of 2nd Petsmart. Got home at noon and started her on a baby bird food/pedialye mash. Really seems to stay in her much better than the crumble mash, less diarrhea.
Day 12 evening- She still doesn't eat anything on her own but has gained about 3.5 ounces in the last 36 hours.
8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
I've never seen blood in her poop.
Day 1- It started out almost dry and grainy. I think she was already getting dehydrated. When I started giving her fluids, it turned watery, grainy brown and smelled horrendous. When I was giving her the crumble mash it looked most of the crumbles were going right through her.
Day 9- when I switched to baby bird mash, it seemed to stay in her much better. She has less diarrhea, but she is still having lots of clear watery poop with small amount of bluish green and white poop.
Day 12- found a dead round worm in her poop. Still less diarrhea, but still having lots of clear watery poop with small amount of bluish green and white poop.
9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
Day I- I purchased Safeguard for goats and was told to dose her with 1cc that day and then give her a second dose in 10 days. They also recommended that I give all the 5 month olds the same dose, but the younger ones, only 1/2 cc. I did that.
Day 2- I started sick pullet and the rest of the flock on a 7 day treatment of 1 1/2 Tbl of Corid per gallon of water.
Day 7 I didn't realize for the first week that I should probably doubling the amount I was giving her at a time. I had increased the food and stopped the Corid but she wasn't gain weight so I added pediatric probiotic powder 2/day and 3 Tri-Vi-Sol drops/day.
Day 9, I increased her food even more: 45 ml pedialyte every 6 hours. Then I wait one hour or so to let her crop empty, then I tube feed her 70 ml. of a thin pudding made of baby bird powder and pedialyte. Also learned I needed to add Complex B drops, vitamin E and selenium, so I add that to her fluids with the probiotic powder 2/day. Still concerned about worms, so began API General Cure -1/4 packet/day
Day 12 -Am I over medicating this poor creature? Should I be giving her Baytril instead of the metronidozle since she still has green in her poop?
10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need
help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
Sunny is a much loved pet. That said, we have 3 kids in college and 2 more at home. The only avian vet nearby is at LSU's vet school and I know it will cost a small fortune which we really can't afford.
11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
Pine shavings in the coop. Dirt floor in run with a light layer of pine shavings. I have the sick pullet in the garage in a box of pine shaving with a nest of towels covered with a clean puppy pad every time she poops.
I would appreciate any advice or suggestions.
Thank you so much!