9 1/2 months old white leghorn lost feathers, now not eat or drink

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Cheep, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. Cheep

    Cheep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2010
    Sebastopol, CA
    Sunny: Leghorn born March 9, 2010. Has 5 flock members.
    Weather: cold & rainy
    Habits: free-range all day in back yard; sleep in smallish coop at night. It does seem big enough, though. They are not crowded when they roost. Also, there is room for them to all fit on the floor, and move (but they just sleep in there, so they are off the floor.

    Sunny is the smallest, & the first thing I noticed was: she had lost more feathers than my other 5. I thought she was being picked on when they sleep in the coop (they free-range all day), but saw no sign of that when I got my flashlight & looked. She has been sleeping in a nest, where she used to roost. I put that down to being bullied away from the high-status sleeping spots.

    That has gone on about a week+. Her behavior has been normal, so I didn't do anything. She is impossible to catch (Leghorn).

    It has been rainy lately, & colder than we're used to here in California, but compared to midwest, etc, not bad (a few nights have gone down to freezing, & I put Xmas lights around the outside of the coop).

    Today, she was different. Not with the others, standing under a chair as if to stay dry (though I have a large covered area close to the coop). When I went to her, it was easy to pick her up, which confirmed that she was sick.

    First, I put her in a dog kennel with fresh shavings, her own food & water. I also put her in a small dry cardboard box to keep her body heat in. Her response has been to face towards the back of the box, so I can't give her drops of water.

    Now, I've brought her inside to a bedroom which is warm enough (I don't keep it real warm inside). I have been trying to give her warm water from a dropper, but sometimes I can't reach her beak (she's still facing the back of the box, & I don't want to manhandle her yet). Maybe I should, though.

    The other 5 are big fat & fluffy. They seem to get along well, just occasional squawking, minimal really.
    I just hope she makes it thru the night, then I will check her skin & stool (hopefully not on my rug [​IMG]

    I have gotten a lot of comfort reading about others' sick hens; it is very painful to think of losing one, or even to see one not feeling well.
  2. Annschooks

    Annschooks Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2010
    Nottinghamshire UK
    Have you checked for red mites and other parasites? Also have you wormed recently? Is her breathing noisy, sort of rattling particularly when stressed.

    I think there might be two problems going on, fleas, red mites being the first causing her to loose feathers, or she could just be moulting. With the sudden change in weather conditions to wet and miserable I would suspect either infectious Bronchitis or Mycoplasma. Have a good look at your hen, especially around the eyes are they heavy or sticky? Check her nostrils too are they crusty, sticky and blocked up?

    I think you are going to have to seek professional advice from a vet on this and you need to get a syringe to get fluids into her. The first sign of a poorly chook is not eating & drinking and without water she will go into multi organ failure and die very very quickly.

    Take hold of your hen and gently open her beak, syringe in slowly up to 20 mls of water. This will go into her crop and slowly be absorbed. She will need this at least a couple of times a day. If its I.B she may need steroids as well as antibiotics.

    Be aware though that if you treat her and it is myco she will be a carrier all her life and infect other birds around her with the illness even though she appears fit and well herself.

    Have a read up on the two infections http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/94/mycoplasma-gallisepticum-infection-mg-chronic-respiratory-disease-chickens
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Could be cocci or worms. Could be any of several other diseases. Could be that they know there is something wrong and that is causing them to pull her feathers.

    Why has the whole flock lost feathers? Are they all molting, do you think? Do you watch them to see if one is pulling others' feathers? They could be in a mini molt but should not be in a major one now. Have you changed feed or location or anything else lately? Notice any musty feed or feed that sticks together or looks old in any way? Do they have access to a compost pile?

    Maybe this will help: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
  4. Cheep

    Cheep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2010
    Sebastopol, CA
    Sunny is a bit perkier this morning. I can't get her to drink, but she at least walked around & clucked a tiny bit. She tried to peck the flecks in my Berber rug, so I put down a little scratch, & she ate 1 or 2 kernels.

    She had a tiny poop and I saw no worms.

    No symptoms that I notice except the feathers missing. I am wondering if it is the same microscopic animal that seemed to inhabit our backyard years ago, causing my dogs to have skin conditions. That has been 20 years though.

    Her coloring is OK, just a bit pale, & she is much less active still. I do think the cold & wet was stressing her, with her feather issue. I plan to keep her inside til I have a better idea. Maybe cook her some oatmeal (my all-purpose cure all [​IMG]

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