Adopted hen eating very little

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by loneone, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. loneone

    loneone New Egg

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    Sep 17, 2008
    East Texas
    I was recently (about 2 1/2 weeks ago) given a hen who was found wandering in a parking lot around Galveston, TX. She was kept in a cage for about a week before coming to me. I hope to eventually integrate her into my existing flock of three young hens.

    Sweet Petey seemed to be fine initially. She's quite friendly and easy to handle. I think she may be a Leghorn cross, just based on the floppy comb. She was molting, for whatever reason, and was not laying. The first thing she did here was take a dust bath. She appeared to be constantly at the food dish (organic layer crumble). She was unfamiliar with treats, but quickly learned to like grapes and pasta.

    She started laying within a few days, and laid large brown eggs for four days, then started having some problems, i.e., seemed to be a little egg-bound, but managed to expel without much intervention. She was now foraging in the yard a lot, and not spending nearly as much time at the dish.

    This past Sunday evening, I noticed she was not her perky self. She had not laid for several days by then. By this time she was no longer losing her feathers, and I don't know if it was just a partial molt, or what. Monday, she was still clearly under the weather. I didn't think she was egg-bound, but I'm new to this, and I found an avian vet who would take a look at her. He found mites, which I had somehow overlooked, but he could find nothing else in the way of parasites or infection. Definitely not egg-bound. She is very skinny, and in fact I am sure she has lost weight under my care.

    I dusted Petey with Sevin 5%, and am keeping her inside, in dim lighting, to avert egg-laying. She is eating very little, but is drinking quite a bit of water. I've given her scrambled egg, but she loses interest quickly. The one thing that she will show any enthusiasm for is grape pieces. I'm not giving her much - just trying to stimulate her appetite a little. Her poop is not abundant, but is pretty well formed. It looks unusually deep green to me. No diarrhea. Her feet feel cool to me. She moves around in her 10'X10' area, but she's not her usual active, verbal self.

    I'm going to let her outside for a while once the grass dries later this morning, but I don't expect to see any change. Does anyone have any ideas of what else I might do for this poor chicken? She's breaking my heart!

    Loneone


    p.s. She's been debeaked, so I assume she got the usual round of vaccinations early in life.
     
  2. vickig

    vickig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2008
    Texas
    I think sometimes that these hens go through periods of just being hormonal. My hens get grouchy sometimes and won't eat and then they are fine.

    My only suggestion would be to give her some pro biotics in her drinking water.

    It sounds like you are doing a good job otherwise.

    I think all animals go thru phases, male and female. I have seen the horses and cows do it, the dogs do it and the chickens as I stated. They seem down a few days and then they are right back to their old selves.

    I only say this from many years of taking care of animals.
     
  3. Fudgie

    Fudgie Hatching Queen - Got Fudge?

    I had a hen acting this way and showed signs of lice. I know it sounds crazy but give her a bath. you can find links on the web, here is a good one! http://www.wikihow.com/Wash-a-Chicken

    Honestly
    , no joke, once you give a chicken a bath(make sure you keep her warm and not chilled) they will start grooming themselves and feeling and acting much better. Don't you feel better after a nice bath? If it is cold outside put them inside in a rubbermaid tub with a heatlamp over the top until they fluff out nicely. Try to towel dry them as much as you can or use a blowdryer on the lowest warmest setting. They can stress out and die.

    Lice will make a chicken die quickly! Get the buggers of of the chicken as fast as you can and remember that after they have been treated, you need to treat for the eggs that have been laid from the adult lice.
     
  4. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    You may want to think about worming her also. Worms make a hen appear unthrifty and lose weight. Dont always blame molting.
     
  5. loneone

    loneone New Egg

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    Sep 17, 2008
    East Texas
    Thank you all for the quick responses. It's heartening to have a place like this to go to, particularly for a novice like me.

    Question on the probiotic: I do have acidophilus capsules, but would plain yogurt be better? As little as she's eating I'm unsure which delivery method would be most effective. If I use the 10 mg acidophilus, can you recommend a chicken dosage? Or is it the sort of thing I don't have to be overly specific with?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. vickig

    vickig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2008
    Texas
    I will pm you.
     
  7. vickig

    vickig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2008
    Texas
    How is Petey Fairing today?
     
  8. loneone

    loneone New Egg

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    Sep 17, 2008
    East Texas
    I'm not sure how to read the total situation, as in some ways she's better, but she's still not eating much. I still keep her inside to limit the light exposure, but let her out a few times a day to forage in the yard. Sometimes she does, but other times she picks a spot and settles in. Yesterday, she freaked me out a little when several times I found her lying on her side, not dust bathing. But she got up and seemed fine. Maybe just getting sun on a particular spot.

    My biggest concern right now is that she is continuing to lose weight. She was 3 lb 2 oz at the vet's on Monday, and 2 lb 14 oz on my scale yesterday. There could be some difference in the scales, of course. I've found very few things that she will eat. As for the layer crumble, I offer it plain, mixed with a little water, mixed with a little molasses, and stirred into yogurt, but she avoids it. She won't eat scrambled or hard boiled egg. She will eat plain yogurt, grapes, and watermelon, and I found yesterday she seems to enjoy pasta. (I tried scooping out some watermelon and putting crumble in the hollow, suggested in another thread, and she got some that way, but not much.) I'm giving her the Durvet vitamins and electrolytes. I'm not going to worry about spoiling her with the treats until she quits losing weight, but I do hope she manages to get enough nutrition from what she is eating.

    Any further suggestions would be appreciated.
     

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