- Oct 20, 2010
I have a rhode Island red chicken that is at least 3 years old. She is our only chicken. She was purchased by my inlaws as an adult from a local chicken guy but it seems as though all of the adult chickens we purchased from him are rather old (most not laying anymore). Our chicken, Gertrude, was looking sick about 6 months ago, she had little ballance and appeared very weak. My husband and I took her home so that she would not be picked to death by the other hens. After a short period, it appeared that she had poor eyesight. Her eyes are not cloudy, her pupils/iris are clearly defined (no diffusion of color) and appear normal (no bluish grey like with Marek's). After hand feeding her for a few days, she recovered and started to fully adjust to her "impairment". during the summer she lived outside in a small pen with an enclosure, but free ranged most days. She would not however ever perch and although we put a "floor" in her pen, she prefered the ground. As the weather got colder, we decided to move her into a childrens playhouse. Put in fresh straw, kept clean, etc. About 4 days ago, we noticed that she did not get up when we came in. instead, she hoisted herself over with beak and wings. Her right leg seems limp and with no control, her left, while she can move it, seems very weak, as do her wings. She now is in the sunroom in a box where it is warm. Her appetite has been decreasing. Her normal diet is organic life layer pellets with some crushed oysters plus chick feed and lots of tomatoes and cucumbers (which she loves). today, all she will eat is a little tomato. We have tried giving her a mixture of feed, oats yogurt honey, egg yolk and apple but she will only peck at it. We have also tried electrolytes/poultry vitamins in the water, but she will not drink much. She lays with her eyes closed much of the time, but occassionally tries to drag herself around to a new position. She looks uncomfortable and tired. Her feet show no sores, bumps, lesions or scaliness. Her crop is normal feeling, but again she doesn't eat much. Her feathers are in tightly, her food is dry and mold free, and she rarely pecks much from the ground since shes practically blind, so i don't suspect botulism. Her stool is somewhat too green, there are urates visible throughout and it seems rather chunky rather than smooth. There is however, no blood, or visible worms or eggs (although she has not been wormed). We also notice a gurgling from her stomach/intestines. It sounds like a hungry stomach gurgle but I can't tell and it isn't normal. It is not however, respitory. I am really at a loss for diagnosis. If anyone has anything that could help, it would be appreciated. If there is something we can do for her and recovery is possible that would be great to know, otherwise i think we may have to put her out of her discomfort. Either way, I would like to know soon. Thank you all, this site is an excellent resource and we have read a lot of posts.