8 year old hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by vanlash, Apr 13, 2019.

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  1. vanlash

    vanlash Chirping

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    I have an older hen who has become very lethargic (she has always been top hen, and now shows no interest in eating). I checked her yesterday and she had a little diarrhea on her feather, but nothing else. She was drinking last night. She is still walking around and last night go back up top in the coop, but slowly. Today, I notice more runny stool on her back feathers. I tried to palpate her to see if there was an egg stuck, but don't know. It does seem larger or more swollen than my other hens, I think.

    I am bringing her in now, giving her water with apple cider vinegar.

    Can anyone suggest what else I can do for her?? Or check? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    You can put on a disposable glove and insert one finger an inch or two inside to check for an egg. Has she been laying eggs up to now? Is she drinking? I would offer some water with electrolytes or SaveAChick or similar. Tepid Gatorade is acceptible.

    My flock is 6-8 years old and I am losing one every now and then to a reproductive disorder—internal laying, egg yolk peritonitis, salpingits, and sometimes ascites or water belly. If yours has an enlarged lower belly, she may be suffering from one of those. They don’t always have any enlargement. Some can suffer from crop disorders. You can feel of her crop to see if anything is in it. If it is full and puffy or hard, she may have a problem.

    If she refuses to eat after offering some cooked egg or wet chicken feed, she may be dying. At some point you may want to end her suffering. So sorry about your hen.
     
  3. vanlash

    vanlash Chirping

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    Hello, thank you for your reply. I soaked her in warm epson salts for 45 min and massaged her body and she got very relaxed (so much I had to hold her up in the water. It does feel like she has enlarged lower belly but I couldn't tell if it was an egg stuck, some areas felt hard, but not sure what it was. It wasn't directly in her vent as I couldn't feel it from inside there. The hard part felt a lot lower, almost under her legs. She wasn't straining or holding her wings low. Her crop is fine. I will try the cooked egg as she is showing interest in drinking. I am keeping her in tonight and will check her again in the morning.

    Wow, I had a hen live to 12 years old and she clearly died from old age. Just got slow and I would take her out of the coop and give her food and water (which she ate readily), but didn't get up and scratch. She seemed happy to watch everybody else, till one day, she fell asleep and didn't wake.

    So, I thought they lived to that age. I have had a hard time with my hens living to a ripe old age, due to wildlife, raccoons, possums and in the last 5 years a coyote that learned to jump the fence. This girl and 2 other girls are the same age. The other two are fine. Maybe it is one of those things you mentioned as her belly feels swollen somehow. I tried to check the other girls her age, but will have to wait until night to see if she feel different from them.

    Thank you for the info. I don't want her to suffer.
     
  4. vanlash

    vanlash Chirping

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    My husband wants to put her in ice cold water to see if it will shock her into pushing out whatever is in there, if there is. Is this anything anyone has heard of?
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    No, dont put her in ice cold water! It could shock her already strained system to the point of death.
    Compare the size of her underbelly with a couple other hens to see if their sizes are the same or not.
    Check her for external parasites, especially around the vent area. Have you wormed her? That could be an issue if she has worms.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    Yes, please don’t put her in ice water. You said you felt for an egg, and there wasn’t one. So there is nothing to come out. Sometimes when hens are very weak, even a warm bath can put them over the edge. We have had more than one report of a hen dying during a bath. But I am glad your hen seemed to relax and enjoy her warm soak.

    Check her lice or mites and think about worming, as @dawg53 recommended. Then I would try to tempt her to eat and drink. But check her crop to see if it is full, hard or puffy.
     
  7. vanlash

    vanlash Chirping

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    Thank you. I felt this too, that an ice bath would not be good for her. No, she has no worms. no visible parasites. I haven't wormed her with dewormer. Her belly is swollen and feels full (bigger than the other hens her age), but I can't feel an egg. her crop is not full, or hard or puffy. She pecked a little at the food, but not much. I tried the scrambled egg, but now she is just standing with her eyes closed, her chest high and and her tail low, which seems very uncomfortable. Thank you all for your input. I will keep you updated tomorrow with how she is doing tomorrow.
     
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  8. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    It sounds like she has waterbelly, aka ascites. If that's the case, her abdomen would require draining fluid on a routine basis. I'm sorry but the end result would be the same, death.
    If you could post a photo of her, it would help us determine if in fact it's waterbelly.
     
  9. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I empathize. I have a hen here atm who is 9 years old, maybe older. She was/is the leader of her family, she has produced many chicks and eggs over her life and is now ill and probably dying.
    At the moment she is with her family free ranging. She has some of the complaints you mention, slow, withdrawn, not eating very much and no longer laying. There are no obvious health problems. She isn't egg bound, her crop functions, she's parasite free (mites, lice and worms)
    I've been tube feeding her each night while she finishes a course of antibiotics. If she doesn't improve after the antibiotics are finished then I'll be left with deciding when her quality of life is so poor she would be better off dead. Not an easy decision to make given I've watched her hatch every chick and lead her family for the past eight years.
     
  10. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I thought I would show this picture. Some will suggest you isolate your hen from her flock. I've never been an advocate for this unless for some reason the flock is picking on a sick or injured member.
    The sick hen is the blond hen. Her name is Blue Spot. While she may be dying, she is surrounded by her family, sons daughters and grand daughter. Her family has kept close to her throughout her illness.
    None of the above helps you with your hen but maybe knowing that others who keep their flock into old age have to go through what you are going through now may help. P4141481.JPG
     
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