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2 Hens have been sick for months... help?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Floc Quebecois, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Floc Quebecois

    Floc Quebecois Chirping

    Aug 3, 2011

    What follows is a bit of an epic post. Sorry for the length. We've just been dealing with these 2 sick hens for a long time and are at a loss for solutions. So we thought we'd lay it all out here and see if anyone can offer some advice. Both birds got sick around the same time, although they exhibit pretty different symptoms. All 10 of our other birds seem fine.

    The First is our Easter Egger:

    -She's 7 months old, never laid, and she's been showing these symptoms for about 2 months now.
    -She coughs... fairly often... usually just a single, bark-like cough with a shake of the head. Usually between 5-20 times an hour. But she usually sleeps through the night without coughing.
    -occasionally does open-beak breathing
    -She also has a crop that, once full, takes about 2 days to clear... we've been giving her mostly soft foods (baby food, apple sauce with supplements) to avoid this problem. We should also note that her breath never smells bad... so she probably doesn't have sour-crop
    -She had lice, so we sprayed her with warm coconut oil and then gave her a bath with some dish detergent. She went into shock after that, gasping for air every few seconds all night... we fed her sugar water and electrolytes to help her out of it, but we didn't expect her to last the night. She did though, and has pretty much recovered from that. But she's still coughing regularly and still has that crop problem.

    Treatments we've tried:
    -Tylan 50, 1/2 cc per day, injected into her breast, for four days.
    -Ivermectin pour-on 5%
    -Oxine, with cool-mist humidifier in her cage, covered in towels, half-hour at a time, three times per day for 10 days.
    -Duramycin 10, in her drinking water, fresh mix every day, for 10 days
    -We feed her a mixture of beef baby food and apple sauce (and yoghurt, until we started giving her anti-biotics) with a little grower feed sprinkled on top to get her to eat it. In it, we mix: Vitamin E, Selinium (which we just started a few days ago when we learned it's required to absorb the vitamin E), Vitamin B Complex, probiotic, brewer's yeast, and we recently started the rickets diet (oats, cat food, cod liver oil, etc)

    So with all that there seems to be no improvement at all. There's also been no decline; she's just as active as she's always been, eating and drinking regularly. We've scoured the forum here for clues but have no idea at this point what her deal is.

    Does anyone have any idea? Advice?

    The Second is our Anwerp Belgian:

    -She's also about 7 months old, and has never laid.
    -About 2 months ago, we found her in the run acting somewhat sluggish, and we noticed she had lice. We sprayed her with coconut oil and gave her a bath. After which she also went into shock(for just an hour or so). We kept her in the house that night.
    -The next morning, we put her back in the coop, where she was chased around by the other hens. We found her just 10 minutes later on her back in the coop. She couldn't get up, so we helped her up but left her in the coop and kept a close eye on her for that day.
    -That night, we noticed that she stayed on the floor of the coop rather than roosting.
    -The next morning we noticed a slight limp, which seemed to indicate that her left leg was weak.
    -We brought her back inside and started her on supplements because we thought it might have been a vitamin deficiency that was causing her limp, which at that point, was still moderate; she was still walking around and pretty active, drinking and eating normally.
    -At one point, two days later, she seemed to recover and had no limp. The day after that, however, she started limping on her right leg.
    -Since then, she's declined. Now, for about a week or so, she doesn't move much, and when she does it's with extreme difficulty. She quickly loses balance. We often find her on her back, unable to right herself. She still eats a little, but we have to put the food right in front of her, and we force feed her (with a dropper, on her beak) with water. She seems to be sleeping more than usual these days, too. She also shakes her head from time to time. And her right leg always sticks out in front of her when she sits.

    Treatments we've tried:
    -supplements in her food (the same, more-or-less, as our EE (baby food, apple sauce, yoghurt, Vitamin E, Selinium, Vitamin B Complex, brewer's yeast, rickets diet (oats, cat food, cod liver oil, etc))
    -We thought she might have had E Coli or Botulism, so we gave her a molasses flush. The first time, it seemed to have helped... the next day she was moving around pretty well, but then she got worse. We tried it again, and it didn't help.
    -Durvet (electrolytes and vitamins) mixed in her water every day.
    -Alpha-lipoic acid (one pill daily)
    -St John's Wort, half-a-pill daily, mixed with water and force-fed.(started a few days ago)

    So that's where we're at now.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! We feel bad for these birds... being stuck inside for so long... And we're also a little at the end of our ropes... it's been a stressful two months trying treatment after treatment with no results.

    thanks for reading such a long post!

  2. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    Wow.. the only thing I can think of (and I'm sure someone with more experience will have more ideas) - is to take both to a vet. Do you have a vet around that has a large animal practice - ie: farms???
  3. Floc Quebecois

    Floc Quebecois Chirping

    Aug 3, 2011
    thanks for the reply!

    It might be hard to find a vet in montreal who'd do chickens... although I'm sure we could find someone not too far out of town.

    The real issue is we decided before we got our birds that we wouldn't spend any money on vet care for them, having already spent a small fortune on vet bills for our 5 cats...

    So we're trying to figure these problems out ourselves...

    thanks for the suggestion, though.
  4. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    I understand...I've pretty much gone that route myself and in doing so have all the requisite medications, surgical equipment, etc! It's gotten crazy. I really wish I could share some wisdom but I don't have any when it comes to the issues you're talking about. If I were in your in your position - I'd probably make a last ditch effort with both chickens - double-whammy, Valbazen (look for any posts by dawg53) and 4 days of penicillin IM injections. That's a hard hit, but it seems you're kind of in a do-or-die situation. I wish you the best! Keep us posted.
  5. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Songster

    I've had a coughing hen too; she went from outwardly fine to a full-on crash and burn during a nasty winter storm. I found her coughing and gasping on the floor of her pen one night. Since the rest of her age group was on the tail end of a pox outbreak, I assumed that she had pox lesions in her windpipe and brought her inside to start her on antibiotics. On a whim, I also dewormed her with fenbendazole.

    Well, that bird was having so much trouble breathing that she nearly died that night. I was coming down with the flu myself, and we coughed and hacked back and forth at each other for hours. But the next day, she was breathing better. I repeated the antibiotics and dewormer. By the third day, she was breathing fine, and I was finally over my own fever and thinking clearly . . . at which point I realized that if this were pox, no way would she be this much better so soon. So I am pretty certain that she had gapeworm. She never did have a single pox lesion anywhere that I could see.

    So anyway, deworming your cougher with something that will get gapeworms is worth a go. I don't know if Valbazen gets them, but fenbendazole (Panacur) does. As for your second hen with the leg problems: do you have any of her sibs? There might be a congenital joint problem in her genes. Also, an infection can settle in a joint, which is never good. But it worries me that both legs have shown signs, because that could also mean that something is wrong with her back . . . or with her nervous system. I don't really know what to suggest on her--the supportive care you're giving her is probably the best that can be done. But I'd watch everyone else very closely in case it might be contagious.

    Regarding the coconut oil spray: eep! I'd recommend not spraying birds with anything, especially oil: they are really weird about inhaled substances. Parrots have been known to have severe reactions to things like scented candles and room fresheners. And they always told us that giving mineral oil by mouth was very risky because if the bird inhaled it instead, it would trigger a violent reaction in the lungs. So even though I love coconut oil on my own skin, I'd avoid using it on birds. For lice, you might try using something like chicken delousing powder, or even 5% Sevin Garden Dust. I think there's been discussion on here about using diatomaceous earth instead of insecticidal powder, but I haven't tried that yet.
  6. Floc Quebecois

    Floc Quebecois Chirping

    Aug 3, 2011
    thanks so much for your reply!

    we did try Ivermectin as a wormer... doesn't seem to have alleviated any symptoms... maybe we'll try to get our hands on some fenbendazole.

    yeah, I've read that oil can be bad if they inhale it... we'll probably stick to DE from now on. Too bad, because it was really effective as a delouser.

    thanks again!

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