Advice on Sick/Lethargic Chicken (poop pictures included)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by eidle123, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. eidle123

    eidle123 In the Brooder

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    Hello,

    My wife and I are looking for some advice on our sick House Chicken. She is a Rhode Island Red and about 2.5 years old. She was attached by a red-tailed hawk last fall and has been living in the warm house ever since (my wife's idea... not mine). She lives in a dog crate (3' x 4') during the day with pine shavings as bedding, but has the top open to roost every night. Every morning and evening we clean out her poop. During the summer months, she has the run of the back yard during the day but House Chicken doesn't really interact with the rest of the flock (7 other chickens). Since she got attacked by the hawk she lost sight in 1 eye, and is seen as the weakest link (aka she gets picked on).

    She stopped laying eggs about 6 months ago, and has been fine/healthy/active ever since.

    Within the last 10 days, she has been acting very quiet, and has had some really bad diarrhea (see attached pictures), and seems very thin. As of Friday, she started to act very lethargic and my wife gave her some electrolytes (for poultry) by Durvet. She drank some water, but not much. We have been able to give her liquids via syringe.

    As of yesterday she stopped eating completely, and we have tried to give her soft food; bananas, yogurt, berries, apples, cooked cabbage, scrambled eggs.... but she still barely eats. My wife is currently trying to feed her yogurt and blueberries as I type this.

    I was thinking sour crop, but I am far from an expert. Her poop is very watery and the feathers below her butt are caked with poop. We have given her a bath to clean out her butt, but it gets messy within a day.

    Any tips or feedback is extremely appreciated. We love our house chicken. We saved her once and we don't want her to be suffering.

    Thank you,
    Eric & Jenn
     

    Attached Files:

  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    My first thought would be to treat for crop issues (oil, massaging), and my second would be to antibiotic/probiotic (depending what I have on hand), for a gut infection. However, I'd rather call on the disease experts:

    @casportpony
    @Wyorp Rock
    @azygous
    @Eggcessive.
    @rebrascora

    In the meantime, have you actually felt any crop problems? is her crop empty or full? Does it smell? If so, describe.

    Is there anything she could have gotten into? Have you medicated her for anything recently?

    Has her comb ever turned colours, has she ever been wormed, and what is her normal diet? has she had treats (House chicken, so I would guess that's a yes) If so, has she had access to grit?

    This is unlikely, but I'm going to ask anyway: How sure are you that the hawk wound is completely healed? (Dad once butchered a rabbit that had survived being beaten up by the other bucks a year previously. His whole back was a mass of white pus, but we never saw a sign of it before we cut him open.)

    I hope your chicken recovers.
     
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  3. eidle123

    eidle123 In the Brooder

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    Not sure about the crop problems. It seems full, but my wife said she hasn't eaten anything today. We gave her some oil via syringe (wife is a nurse) and massaged her crop. There is no discharge from her beak, and nothing smells.

    We haven't medicated her, and there is nothing new she could have gotten into.

    She has had quite a few meal worms recently. With relatives/friends coming over for Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years that is her favorite treat.

    Her comb seems to be a little darker on the top. Not frostbite, but just a little more purpleish.

    She has never been dewormed.

    She does have access to Grit and Calcium. We add it to her standard food so it is always present.

    We are certain the wound is completely healed. We originally took her to the vet and my wife and I gave her IM antibiotics.
     
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  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    I'm in agreement with @sylviethecochin that a crop issue would be the number one suspect. Other clues are the array of fresh produce your hen eats, and the other clue is that she's confined indoors. The last clue is her poop. It shows no food is likely being processed by her body.

    You say the hen has access to grit and calcium. Would that be oyster shell? Is that what you are providing as grit? Even if she has proper grit, it's still possible to get impacted crop after eating too much fiber. The way to verify a crop disorder is to check her crop in the morning again before she has anything to eat or drink. If, as I suspect, her crop is still full and firm, you will need to treat her for impacted crop. If her crop is full, but soft and spongy, you'll need to treat for sour crop. An anti-yeast medicine is necessary for this. (Miconazole or Nystatin)

    I like to use coconut oil since it's easy and safe to administer with very little danger of aspirating the oil. Very serious impacted crops can take an entire day to clear if this is her issue. I recommend a teaspoon of oil at a time with very gentle massage for five minutes. Wait an hour and repeat.

    Do this as many times during the day as necessary to break up the mass and you feel it go down. After three sessions of oil and massage, if the crop isn't budging, then I administer a capsule of a non-stimulant stool softener, one more teaspoon of oil, let it work for half an hour, then massage the crop.

    It's very, very important that after the crop clears, the hen is provided with granite grit for adult chickens. While oyster shell seems solid, it's water soluble and won't work as grit if that's all she's been getting. Granite grit is found at all feed stores and it has the properties necessary to grind up food in the gizzard. (Think sharp garbage disposal blades.)

    Along with granite grit, offer yogurt and/or boiled egg and plenty of fresh water until she gets her appetite back.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    Is she or has she been molting recently? I would check her crop early in the morning after withholding food overnight to make sure the crop has emptied. If not, describe if it is full, hard, doughy, or puffy. It sounds like she is getting a lot of treats. How much chicken feed does she eat? That should be making up most of her food intake, and some occasional egg or treats are good. Since she is not laying, and her poops look a bit yellow, I would wonder if she might have a reproductive disorder or liver problem. You can feel her lower belly (between the legs) for any fullness, or tightness, that might be a symptom of internal laying, ascites, or other repro problem. Compare hers with the other hens.
     
  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    Can you feel the crop first thing in the morning before she eats/drinks - tell us what it's like then. The crop should be completely empty in the morning after she's had a full night's sleep.

    Is she molting? The feathers on her head are fairly sparse, also look inside the ears - is that just dirt/dry skin or does she have a discharge in there?

    One place on her comb, does she have any more of those?
    You mention that she has not laid an egg in 6 months - can you feel the abdomen for bloat/swelling or fluid?
    What do you normally feed her? I would get her hydrated first, then offer a wet mash of her normal balanced poultry feed. Eliminate the grit and oyster shell from the food, put that in a separate dish, she will take what she needs.

    If at all possible take a fecal sample to your vet for testing.

    Let us know how she's doing.
    upload_2019-1-21_22-31-52.png
     
  7. eidle123

    eidle123 In the Brooder

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    To clarify the "zit" on the picture is just a banana from this morning that she bit into and it got all over.

    All of her snacks (scrambled eggs w/ shell, cabbage, apple, dash of cinnamon) are all cooked in coconut oil.

    She does get the grit (small stones) AND calcium in her food. I would say about 1/2 her food is the chicken food and the other 1/2 is snacks.

    She has never molted. Since she is kept indoors (70 deg) with artificial light.

    I just tried to feel her belly and she is extremely thin. Very light on the breast muscle and the breast bone is substantially larger.

    I will check her crop in the morning and report back. I have removed her food.


    Edit from the wife: Her symptoms have gotten worse over time. At the beginning, her symptoms seemed to indicate excessive protein intake, rather than anything crop related. She was drinking a lot, and now she has almost stopped.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
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  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    Don't mix the grit or oyster shell into the food. Just put those in a separate dish, she will get what she needs. A chicken does not need grit or oyster shell with every meal.

    I would also make at least 90% of her diet chicken food and only 10% snacks.

    Nutrition is probably part of her problem. I would also add some poultry vitamins to her water or food once a week.

    Check that crop first thing and let us know if it's empty.
     
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  9. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    As an aside, calcium and grit consumption varies from chicken to chicken according to their individual needs. Therefore, it's a wise practice to offer these two things free choice so the individual can regulate their intake to satisfy their own individual needs.

    The best way to do this is to have a special small container for grit and another for oyster shell (instead of powdered or liquid calcium). Mixed into the food, there's a risk the chicken will get either too much or too little, which can end up causing problems. Too much grit can cause impacted gizzard. Too much calcium and cause kidney damage.
     
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  10. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    @Wyorp Rock beat me to this by just a few minutes, but it doesn't hurt to hear it from both of us.
     
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