A good problem- please advise


5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
Hi all, I am new here but have had my chickens for over a year. So I guess I am in that dangerous area of not freshly hatched but not an old broody hen either. I need some advice, please.

I have a 1 year old easter egger, named Book, who yesterday was in really bad shape. We had a lot of rain and my girls like to stay out in it. When I went out after dinner to bring scraps at 6pm and check on them, she was in the mud, tail and wings down, completely soaked to the bone, breathing was very labored. The others were not picking on her. She had not laid for about 3 days, but she does occasionally take a break, so I was not alarmed, and that morning she was up and out and just fine with everyone else. I saw her eat the day before (they got tuna for a snack, their favorite).

I immediately picked her up (first problem- she hates being held). Felt no bound egg, and her crop and stomach were soft and small- empty. She had apparently not eaten at all that day. Her body was limp and hot, and her feet were curled up. She could not stand and was on her side. She was breathing extremely heavily and her tiny comb was very bright red, magenta colored, as well as the skin around her beak and eyes. No bubbles or audible fluid in her lungs/airs acks. No discharge from her nares or beak. We are having a new fence installed, and so they have been locked in the run, and as a result someone has plucked all the beards from my bearded hens, so I could clearly see her throat was wide open, and no worms or lice or obstructions.

Every time one of my hens gets sick, she dies in short order (8 hours or less). So I decided to bring her inside where it was warm and dry, and so the other girls would not bother her or catch it was the best option. I put her in a dog kennel with some warm towels from the dryer in a dark room so she could be at peace in the end. When my husband came home from work at 2:30 am, he woke me and said she was still alive! I flew out of bed like a child christmas morning, and went to look at her. Her breathing was normal and she was sitting up. she was dry (but still a stinky dirty mess). he put in some ramikins of food/scratch and water. There was some normal colored, worm-free, very loose poop, more or less diarrhea.

When I went in this morning (6:30am) she was standing, a little wobbly, but not too bad (I've been worse after a night out), and the water was totally empty and she was poking at the scratch. Her comb was back to a normal pink, and her face was no longer flushed. I immediately refilled the water and put a couple drops of vitamins I give my dove (for when she is moulting or nesting) in the water. She drank heavily for at least 10 minutes, about 3/4 of a cup of water. She was "chatting" at me and even gave an alarm call when she saw the dog. She was breathing just fine. She had a nearly normal, somewhat soft, poop. She was definitely bright eyed and breathing normally, standing and walking (maybe wobbly because she is not used to walking on towels).

Sorry for the long story, but here is my question: I have never had a chicken get better before. I am incredibly happy that she is ok, even if she is a brat, but I don't know what to do now. When do I know that it is safe to put her back out? She has been away from the flock for 14 hours as of right now, will they take her back when she is ready to go (she is about midway down the pecking order)? Should I give her a real bath because she is in really bad shape dirty-wise? (and with all the rain their dust bath area is now a lake.)

Thank you for your help, and if any of you know what got her so sick to begin with, and how to stop it from happening again, I would really appreciate it. Book and I say thank you.
I love it when they perk up on their own and surprise us. I would check her over looking for any lice/ mites. They like to be around the vent, under wings and I have found them on the head by the comb. Does she stink really bad from her hinney? Is there any discharge from the vent? May be whitish, yellow or a strange green color. Can be stuck to the edges of the vent and possibly some internally.

I would also watch them to make sure she isn't being chased away from the feed station. If she is I would put up another feeder and/or waterer.

Monistat can be used to clear up vent gleet or other antifungals. Sevin dust or poultry dust for mites/ lice. If one has them they all do. Need to dust each bird, clean and dust coop & run. Can have worms with none visible in the poo. Valbazen or Safegard are good wormers, amounts to give can be found here in forums.

If you think all she did was get wet and chilled you could put her back out with the others after you get her cleaned up. It sometimes takes days for the pecking order to get messed up, with my flock anyway.
Thank you!

I put food grade DE in their food and in the dust bath area (when it is not a lake) I have 4 girls who are super friendly and let me look at them daily, so those 4 do not have mites. Her vent is clean and normal, she has a little poop stuck to the feathers but was quite upset when i tried to clean it, so i let it be. No green, white, or red discharge, and the vent is not swollen or inflamed. It is her diarrhea that is stinky, and to some extent the mud she is now covered in. Could she have just gotten so cold and wet that she had a panic attack? can that happen to chickens? could she have eaten something bad and had bad diarrhea and is now over her infection/poisoning? I just changed their waterers and cleaned them on Saturday. She eats scratch from my hand in the afternoon, and i put treats and regular feed all around the run to try to keep them busy while the fence is down. I have not observed any food aggression around the feeder- everyone feeds throughout the day. I forgot to mention before she was vaccinated for mercks as a chick. I just dont want to put her back too soon and have the others see weakness where i missed it, or too late and have her have to fight her way back to her place (4ish of 8). I am blown away that she is alive. I thought she would be done for in hours, if not minutes, when i brought her in. Besides the vitamins in the water, should i give her something else to supplement her? Her weight is near normal, she may be a little bit light (again, i never get to hold her), but she is not especially bony and is in good muscle tone. I swear last night at 2:30 i could not believe she was the same chicken. This hit really hard and fast, but seemed to clear equally so.

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