16 week old Barnevelder, listless, please help!

K7 Menagerie

11 Years
May 6, 2008
Bend, OR
This morning I went out to check on all my babies, and found one of my Barnevelder girls in the juvenile coop (approx. 16 week olds) listless and huddled by herself. The other 4 in there with her seem fine. Poop seems runny, normal color, checked her over thoroughly, her breathing is slightly labored, but no other symptoms. No swelling, no discharge, nothing. I have isolated her to a cage in the spare bedroom. I have electrolyte supplements, but I can't get her to drink, don't have an eyedropper but will get one in town as soon as I can leave. How far back in her mouth do I put the eyedropper to avoid getting liquid into the lungs?

What do you think? Should I try antibiotics too?

Stressing out here......
You should be able to drop water on the top of her beak and it is suppose to run done into the mouth, thats what I read somewhere anyway. I have a hen just a little younger then that doing the same thing and was looking for your answers, hope someone answers soon.
I would not use antibiotics unless you know that the chicken has a bacterial infection, since so many chicken illnesses are fungal and can get worse with antibiotics.

If you use a syringe or an eyedropper to give your hen liquid, make sure you get it past the tongue, since the air hole is under the tongue.

You can use a large plastic syringe with a three inch piece of flexible tubing on the end to get liquid directly into the crop, if necessary. I use the rubber tubing off of a cloth-covered clothes hanger hook, and it slips right on to a large syringe.

What are you feeding them? Were they on medicated chick starter? Did she get into something bad?

Good luck with your chicken.
I agree with renee. Don't use antibiotics because you don't yet know if this is even bacterial, or something else. Bird's digestive systems are heavily dependent on bacteria for digestion. Antibiotics do not distinguish between good and bad. So you could potentially make things worse.

I agree to keep her hydrated. However, I personally would not use a crop tube unless you know which hole to send the tube down.

As Renee asked, could you tell us more info? Also does she have access to pond or puddle water? Are you on city or well water?

For sure, I'd give her supportive nutrition: hydration (pedialyte or organic apple cider vinegar in the water at a rate of 1 teaspoon per half gallon). Her crumbles, a little egg yolk (freeze the rest for later use), a dollop of plain yogurt or another live-bacteria probiotic, and some water mixed to a wetness/dryness that she'll eat. I like to add a little non-sweetened applesauce - just enough to slightly wet the crumbles. This can help her generally and help solidify her poop if it's something very minor.
Thank you for your help, unfortunately, she went downhill very fast and passed away yesterday afternoon. Still unknown why. They don't free-range because there are a lot of coyotes in our area and I have a neurotic black lab who likes the taste of chicken. So I'm not sure. I did contact a few other folks, one suggested that maybe she had a heart issue that only presented itself now because she should have started laying anytime now. I did have a second hen, in a totally different coop, that I found dead this morning, but she appears to either have become egg bound or had a vent prolapse.
Awww I'm so sorry. What a bad week.

Do you have any other chickens? Are your girls eating laying pellets now incidentally? To get the calcium in their feed, they need vitamin D. For first-time layers, I like to use organic ACV (apple cider vinegar) in their water once a week when their combs fill out like they're about to lay. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorbtion. I'm concerned with this one being about laying age, and the other having prolapsed (often a sign of soft shelled eggs becoming stuck) that if you have others this age they might not be getting enough calcium?

Make sure they're eating laying pellets and not a lot of grains (which are high in phosphorus - needed for calcium absorbtion as well, but if there's too much grain it actually interferes with calcium absorbtion and can cause soft shelled eggs and skeletal deformities).

Anything else that we can help you with?

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