13 mo old layer sick, listless, diarrhea, barely eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SteveM, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. SteveM

    SteveM Hatching

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    One of my layers has been on the nest for a couple of days and didn't want to leave the coop to go outside. I thought just broody or starting to molt, because a lot of feathers are missing on her underside. Then, yesterday, she came off the nest inside the coop, and the others started attacking her, as if to kill her. So, I got her separated - no apparent physical injuries.

    I set up a pen in the garage where it's cooler to better observe her. While I was setting it up, she had a big poop (all diarrhea with a small patch of blood, and some hard white porous bits, about raisin-size, that wouldn't dissolve under the hose). After that, she pooped a couple more times and they became progressively more watery. The first poop was really foul smelling.

    Concerned that she could have necrotic enteritis, I started her on tetracyline, which is the only antibiotic I could get locally and quick. Also gave vitamin/electrolyte mix. Both are in her water. She seems to have drank about a cup of water in about 20 hours. She's bedded down, and not moving much. I did get her to eat a few layer pellets, and some cracked corn, but not much.

    I only have four birds, others are fine. I have had problems with thin shells, but started adding oyster shell to their food, and that got better lately. Prior to that, we occasionally got broken eggs, which they quickly cannabalized, but I wasn't sure which chickens were laying the thin shells. Also had some shells which were very rough textured, but none lately.

    I would be grateful for any advice.

    Thanks.
     
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    look at the quality of your oyster shell... on the (cage) bird forums it regularly comes up > what do I mean by this > oyster shell with too high a salt content (excess salt will cause the excess watery droppings and can kill your bird in the long run).
    You are giving a layer feed? offering a live culture (non-flavored) yogurt free choice?
    Lets just hope she is going broody (instead of disease)
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  3. SteveM

    SteveM Hatching

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    Thanks for your reply. The oyster shell I've been feeding is NutriSource brand sold by TractorSupply. It only gives calcium level on bad (36-41%), but nothing about salt. The hens get layer pellets, and graze outdoors usually 2 hours/day. If I don't stay near them, the hawks will get them.

    I just checked her, and she does not have a full crop, so I offered some cracked corn, and she ate an entire handful. Guess that's a good sign. I think I'll take her outside for a short while, and see if she poops again. She hasn't since this time yesterday.

    Any advice on continuing the antibiotic, since I already started it? A lot of people on the forum seem to be giving their birds yogurt, so I guess I could try that too.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Steve- have you examined her to see if she might be eggbound? If so she will benefit from a shallow belly bath- Search the site under eggbound for instructions.

    Also, I find that sometimes the ground limestone has bits that are too big for layers, so I strain mine through a coffee can perforated with nail holes, and toss the leftover big bits in the veggie patch.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    The tetracycline and yogurt are a problem. Milk and milk products (and antacids) must not be ingested for one hour before taking tetracycline or two hours afterwards, as they inhibit absorption of the tetracycline. Since you are putting it in the water, that would mean no milk or milk products.

    After people or chickens stop an antibiotic, yogurt for a week or so is an excellent idea, to restore normal intestinal flora.

    Has your flock been wormed?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2009
  6. SteveM

    SteveM Hatching

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    Thanks for all the tips. I'm new to chickens, and haven't had any problems until now (except predators). I guess I will have to consider routine preventative medicine, although I had hoped to keep the birds and eggs free of medicine.

    Helen is eating some food today, and drinking OK. I thought I'd see if she would poop if I took her out of the pen. She did immediately, and no blood this time. It was greenish brown, and not as runny as yesterday. While she was out, I thought I'd see if the other birds would behave around her. They didn't, and ran to attack her as soon as they noticed her. So, I'll have to keep her separate.

    Unless someone knows better, I'll keep her on the tetracycline and vitamins for a few days, and try to get her food intake back up, and intestines working normally. After the antibiotic, the yogurt sounds like it might help.

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    Quote:If you're referring to worming, some say they can manage worm loads without medications. Some say that DE and/or cayenne in the feed will do it. Some say pumpkin seeds will work, but a study was done to disprove this. (Relax, birds don't taste the hot in cayenne.)

    Here are some threads on worming that I have bookmarked:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=103771&p=1
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=174004
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=188574

    To get food and fluid in her, you might try scrambled egg, cooked oatmeal, or fruits. Fruit is a good fluid source. Many say chickens love melons and cut seedless grapes. Mine love chopped tomato and bread. They also love any cooked meat; maybe save her a bite of your pork chop....

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2009
  8. SteveM

    SteveM Hatching

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    Its been about a week now, and my hen is still having diarrhea and acting very grumpy. I've kept up the tetracycline (not wanting to stop in the middle of treatment) and vitamins. Also got her to eat a mix of mashed egg yolk, medicated chick starter, and yogurt, although she only ate that the first few times I offered it. Now she seems to be content eating the chick starter dry, and wheat bread as a treat. The good news is she is drinking much more than she did initially, and she's walking a bit more and taking dustbaths when I let her out. But she complains bitterly when I handle her, just to get in and out of the rabbit hutch she's in.

    Just wondering if anybody has an idea to clear up the diarrhea. At this point, I'll probably discontinue the antibiotic, and see if she'll take plain yogurt for several days, and see if she gets back to normal.

    On an unrelated question - does anybody know about curled claws? This is my only remaining Cochin. Her sisters were killed by predators. Her toes seem normal, but the toenails are long and curled. My other chickens never have that problem. Can they be trimmed?
     
  9. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

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    Once you stop the anitibiotics this is what I use to get rid of the diarrhea and restore her natural gut flora. Any drug store has probiotic tablets now. Scramble and egg and crush 1/2 probiotic tablet and sprinkle it on top of the cooked and cooled egg. DO this every morning for a week. Give her only chicken feed for that week. I would sprinkle a little chick grit on her feed in case she has anything fibrous in her crop. Plenty of water and rest segregated from the others so she can recover. Let us know hat happens. Best of luck.
     

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