Acting Lethargic & Weird Neck Motions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SKKreativ, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. SKKreativ

    SKKreativ In the Brooder

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    Hi BackYard Chicken Members,

    I am in need of help in identifying what is wrong with my 1-year-old black Silkie. I have noticed for the past month her behaviour has changed, first she stopped laying eggs so I thought she went broody, then she started to moult so I associated her behaviour with that, but now I have noticed her behaviour is strikingly different from the other chickens.

    She walks around quite slowly like she is depressed. She pecks at food and eats very slowly, its really weird, all the other chickens go crazy and there she is slowly pecking. Overall she has become shy and timid, she is second on the hierarchy of four chickens but now it doesn't seem like she has the energy to keep her spot.

    This behaviour has been going on for around a month but then this past two days I have noticed something quite worrisome, "see the attached video". It appears she begins to fall asleep then slightly wakes up doing a gulping motion, there is no sound or gargling. It looks like she is in pain because her eyes are closed when she does it. At first, I thought it was her trying to adjust her crop, so I felt to see if it is impacted or anything else, it all felt normal. None of my other chickens are doing it, it is just her. Since having my chickens the past year I have given them twice the all-wormer medication (that also kills gapeworm), should I do it again in case it could be gapeworm?

    Additional Information:
    • She has suffered from a prolapse twice when she first started laying eggs, now everything is normal when she lays.
    • Haven't noticed any sneezing, mites, nasal discharge.
    • I did find a green looking poo, but not sure if it was her's or the other chickens.
    • Her wattles feel a little hard, not sure if this is because it is winter here in Australia and the cold has done that?

    Thank you in advance for any help and information.

    Kind Regards,
    SKKreativ

     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    You'll need a vet for a diagnosis, but my educated guess is she could be suffering from a reproductive track infection.

    Two clues. One is the information that she's suffered from two prolapses. The other is that this hasn't killed her soon after you noticed her symptoms for the first time. When was the last time she laid an egg? Prior to that, have any of her eggs been shell-less or thin shelled?

    Another possibility is cancer that has spread to several organs making it painful and hard to get enough oxygen.
     
    Eggcessive likes this.
  3. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    Hmm... this is tough. I have great respect for @azygous, but I have a different take. Wondering about the neck movements... she could have been adjusting her crop. She appears to be in respiratory distress, which could be from a few different things. If azygous is right, it could be from ascites (fluid build up in her abdomen.) Can you feel her fluffy butt area and see if it feels bloated? If it’s crop related, it’s possible her crop over flowed and the nasty fluid got into her airway. Can you check for crop function? It should be full before bed and empty first thing in the morning. Then there’s a third possibility, that it’s both. A reproductive issue can cause a slow crop. And of course, there are other possibilities. Can you examine her and get back to us?
     
    azygous likes this.
  4. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    Well shoot. I just reread your post and you already checked for crop function? Or did you just feel it during the day?
     
    azygous likes this.
  5. SKKreativ

    SKKreativ In the Brooder

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    I will definitely try to get her in to a vet, although it is just hard to find one in my local area who deals with chickens. When she did have a prolapse, I kept her clean with a Betadine bath. Her prolapse was first degree and I helped her by pushing it back in every time it came out. After the prolapse incident she stopped laying for two weeks then started lay every single day for two weeks without any prolapse. It has now been a month that she has stop and I have noticed her lethargic behaviour.
     
    azygous likes this.
  6. SKKreativ

    SKKreativ In the Brooder

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    I felt her crop yesterday and today it feels the same, fairly empty with a sagging feel and at the bottom it feels like tiny pebbles most likely her pellets. I noticed when I pushed on it she did the same gaping movements. Which makes me think that she is just adjusting her crop, but then again it doesn’t explain why she is always in slow motion, she can choose to quickly run if startled a little bit but generally walks around and eats slowly. I felt around her bum it isn’t bloated or swollen . Her vent also looks normal. I did notice she feels a little skinny and is quite light, I have constant layer pellets available, greens and treats so I don’t believe I am under feeding or I am not giving her enough vitamins, alternatively i can give her liquid vitamins additives in her water.
     
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  7. SKKreativ

    SKKreativ In the Brooder

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    I checked her crop during the day, I will check it before she goes to bed and then in the morning as well.
     
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  8. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    @micstrachan everyone's observations are important. We old fuddies aren't always right, either.

    It's normal for an older crop to retain a bit of grit. If you massage it and it breaks up and moves, it's okay.

    When a chicken has cancer, it can produce the symptoms we're seeing in this hen. Very often, crop disorders accompany it as the immune system becomes compromised. This is from experience, sad to say.
     
  9. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    I’ll keep watching the thread.

    She might benefit from a nutridrench or poultry cell for some nutrients and energy. If you are open to more natural/alternative treatments, you might reach out to @Hen Pen Jem. She is pretty knowledgeable in supplements and at-home therapies.

    At some point, I suspect your sweet girl will let you know when she is done, but it doesn’t seem she is there yet.
     
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  10. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

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    Greetings SKKreativ,

    You have provided many good clues as to what may be ailing your hen.

    azygous is right, we don't know everything, but we'll do our best, to give suggestions.

    The experience of other keepers is so valuable, when a vet is not an option. I think azygous and micstrachan have made good points. And, sometimes, we do get it right. :old

    Because the hen's skin is black, it will not be possible to tell if she is anemic. But, it is my guess that she may be. This may account for low energy, difficulty getting oxygen/breathing, and slow walk.

    I am inclined to suspect a tumor(s) of the reproductive system, which may have contributed to the hen's prolapses. Anemia is common when a hen has tumors. Many times a keeper will notice the hen gasping for air, due to low oxygen from anemia. I have seen a hen hard breathing like your silkie. I also, observed my hen's face go pale, then, back to normal, during these gasping episodes. She had weight loss, stopped eating, drank very little, was lethargic, low energy, stopped laying, and had diarrhea.

    Low appetite, pecking at food but not really eating is another symptom of cancer. Weight loss is evident by the protruding keel bone. Edema of the wattles and comb, can cause them to feel hard. Edema (excess fluid) can happen when the vital organs are being affected by infection, cancer or other disease. Edema can also affect the lungs making it hard for the chicken to breath. It would be good for a vet to listen to the lungs with a stethoscope. Fluid in the lungs would be confirmed. Ascites (fluid in the abdomen) can also develop, so as micstrachan suggested, do check your hen's belly, below the vent, and between the legs, for swelling.

    You weren't able to show a photo of her poop. This is a really important piece of information. If you can isolate her till she poops, then, you can take a photo and upload it for us to see.

    What can it be?
    Gapeworm

    I don't think your hen has gapeworm, especially if you have already wormed her. But, a quick swabbing of her throat, will reveal the "Y" shaped worms. These parasites can also present some of the symptoms that your hen is exhibiting.
    Heart Failure
    Heart failure will also present with many of these symptoms, too. However, the hen will usually continue to eat, drink, and lay normally, till a day or two before dying. They will also usually start to cough, and or sneeze, but have no mucus discharge in the nostrils or eyes. Because your hen has been ill for over a month, I don't think it is her heart. However, it may be affected.
    Tumors/cancer
    Your hen is very young, and you wouldn't think cancer would be something that would affect them at that young stage in life. But, it happens. I had a hen die at 1 a year and a half old. Death was caused by a ruptured egg follicle in the coelomic cavity. And that mishap happened, due to numerous tumors that were developing in the reproductive system. This was revealed in the necropsy done by the UC Davis lab, here in town.

    However, I must say that accurate diagnosis will require testing, by a vet.

    What are your hen's chances for recovery? Gapeworm is deadly, once the airway is compacted by these parasites. If it is a bad heart, she can die any moment. If she has tumors, it depends how early in the disease she is, and where the tumor is located. Cancers do go into remission, mostly with treatment, but sometimes without.

    My hens are pets, they are like my children. I always nurse my hens that have been diagnosed with tumors, because it is survivable. Sometimes they have several remissions, and live a few more months. My vet diagnosed them, but, he couldn't offer treatment. One of my hens that was diagnosed with a tumor last year, is still here. She has made an almost full recovery. I consider it a full remission, and take her life as a blessing, everyday. She is my miracle hen!

    These are my thoughts on your hen's health issue. I hope I have been helpful.

    God Bless and peace to you. :)
     
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