Ailing Chook with faded comb and tail down

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Just wingin' it, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Just wingin' it

    Just wingin' it Hatching

    Jun 15, 2009
    This morning my Marguerite, a gold laced Wyanadotte, is looking sickly with a faded comb, gone almost purple. Her tail is down and all her feathers are slouching. She is not herself, inactive, and doesn't seem interested in greens or scratch. In the coop, I did notice diarrhea which is greenish and quite smelly. She has a few tendrils on her bum but nothing cakey. She is 22 months old and has not yet molted. Her egg laying tapered off a month ago but in all other respects she has been her normal self prior to today.

    The weather in the coop was cold last night but did not dip below 30F. They have a heat lamp for extra warmth. Foodwise, my girls eat organic layer crumble. Treats are corn scratch with black oil sunflower seeds. Treats over the last few days have also included bits of broccoli, cauliflower, wheat grass and lettuce.

    Currently I have her separated from the other girls, sitting in a box in the sun convalescing as I try to figure out what is ailing her. My other Wyanadotte, and two Golden Sexlinks are just fine.I'd like to treat her myself if I can do so with certainty. I've just given her a few warmed oats with apple cider vinegar.

    Any thoughts on what could be going on? I'd really appreciate any advice or direction offered.
    Thanks in advance, Just Wingin' it.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    GLWs at 22 months old and not molting should still be laying just about every day. Could she be egg-bound? Have you done a bug check? Has she ever been wormed? Is any feed moldy or could she have gained access to any bad food/non-food items? How is her crop?
  3. Just wingin' it

    Just wingin' it Hatching

    Jun 15, 2009
    Thanks for your reply.
    She has not been wormed, I don't see any mites and had just changed their bedding out and added diatomaceous earth to the fresh pine shavings.

    I palpitated her belly and back end but do not feel any obstruction or hardness. How else could I determine if she was egg bound? All of my hens laying has tapered off as the cold weather set in and I am averaging one egg per day total from all four girls. Last year they lay all thru the winter; I assumed their age affected this year's season as nothing else in their environment has changed.

    We just changed out her food yesterday; it is kept in a dry bin in the garage so no mold issues there. We did keep a small portion in with our scratch and sunflower seeds. This has been outdoors in a galvanized garbage can and we also incorporated that with the other yesterday. Would mold be obvious?

    Her crop is faded from a bright red to a dull almost violet.
  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    My hens (same age) were listless and not interested in eating, when they began molting. Pale combs too. I wonder if yours is going to molt?

    Green diarrhea can be a sign of lack of food, lack of nutrition.

    If she were my bird, I'd bring her inside and try feeding her a soft scrambled egg with some poly-vi-sol vitamins (about 5 drops) mixed in. And maybe a little yogurt mixed in, too. See if she'll eat something warm and hydrating like that. And the vitamins could help her, if she's gotten deficient.

    Do your hens get raw apple cider vinegar in their water? It can help prevent parasites. It's only a preventative, though, not a cure.

    My guess is she might be beginning to molt. Seriously my hens were completely turned off to food at the beginning of their big molts. I had to work with each of them, trying to find something, anything, they'd eat. My goal was to get something nutritious into the molter's crop at night, so there would have something (even some little bit of good food) to digest during the night. Protein is best. But one of my molters ONLY wanted wild red berries for a while, so I got a bag of fresh cranberries and fed her that.

    ETA: oh yes, I forgot. Get some electrolytes (pedialyte is a good one if you don't have avian electrolytes) and put them into her water and mix into her soft food. Whatever is going on with her, wthout some hydration and minerals she'll go downhill fast.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I just read on another thread about how someone lost a bird to lice/mites despite using DE daily. You need to worm your flock, with a chemical wormer, starting with piperazine so as not to shock their systems. You also need to check for lice/mites at night, with a good light; you probably need to treat them, anyway, as they are almost unavoidable. An ivermectin product would be a good followup to the piperazine as it kills lice and mites as well.

    I don't know that she has any of these, but it's a fair guess. Of course she could be an internal layer, or any of a number of things.

    Good luck to you.

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