Ate a Thistle

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ClareScifi, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am worried about my hen who is 16 months old. She had been broody about a month ago, so I built her a run so she wouldn't go under the house and hide. She's been confined in the run for a month, so I would think she'd be over her broodiness and she is laying eggs daily. Her legs have become less orange.

    Recently I have noticed a change in her comb. The back tips of it have gone a grayish/black, and the part right over her beak is blackish, too.

    Another hen had her comb go grayish black and I assumed the worst, but she had rubbed up against something under a car, and the grayishness was only on one side. The current hen in question has grayishness/blackness on both sides, and I can't see anything in the run she could have rubbed up on to make it go this color.

    Also, she's pecking out a lot of breast feathers, which I know is a sign of broodiness in a hen, and I thought that was why, but now I'm wondering whether this could indicate some other problem?

    She has a good appetite. I would say it's almost too good. Today I saw her eat a thistle, and I didn't think chickens like thistles? I feed her arugula, but I wonder whether she thinks she's not getting enough greens in the run, after having been a free-range chicken for so long? Could she have eaten something poisonous? She sticks her neck out the run to reach whatever green is handy, and I'm wondering whether some of them could be bad for her. I think I have seen her eat wild morning glory vine and blossoms. I have fed her spinach out of her raised bed garden box, but I'm a little leery of spinach because of the oxalate intake.

    I don't see signs of mites, though she does preen a lot. I also see her gape now and then. So I wondered about gapeworm. But I don't like to treat for stuff without knowing for sure what the problem is.

    I wonder whether it could be fatty liver disease? I don't feed my chickens scratch anymore.

    She ate a tiny piece of plastic sheeting about a week ago, maybe the size of a dime, quite weathered and thin. I wondered whether that could have made her sick.

    Her energy seems good. Last night she tried to fly out of the run. She didn't succeed, but she had fun trying.

    It's the blackened comb that really worries me the most. Now I'm wondering whether it could be parasites. Her sister doesn't peck her breast feathers out. She's never been broody, unlike this one. And her comb seems okay, with maybe some grayishness from dirt from dust baths, but not nearly as dark as her sister's comb.

    What do you think is the likeliest disease my chicken might have, based on your own experience? I wonder whether I should get some Sevin and start with that? I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should add that the grayish/black patches on the hen's comb aren't scabby. They don't appear to be fowl pox.
     
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should add that both hens get the poopy butt syndrome. I had thought it was from eating too many greens when they free range, but I'm not sure. Now I'm wondering whether this could indicate mites/lice?

    How long could a broody chicken continue to peck out her breast feathers if she is no longer sitting on a nest and is laying an egg every day? Could she stay broody, technically, forever, and continue to pick out her breast feathers indefinitely?

    I'm trying to tease apart the broodiness chest-feather-pecking from other possible causes of it.

    I think I should start tomorrow by dusting her with 5% Sevin and see whether that does any good. I am so afraid she may have a heart problem, though, due to the comb discoloartion.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  4. Habbakuk

    Habbakuk Out Of The Brooder

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    I hope your chicken gets better soon.
     
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know about any of the medical issues, but I think you can relax about the thistle. My chickens love them, as well as all kinds of other plants. They are pretty smart and know what not to eat. I don't know about morning glories -- they can be halucinogenic if people eat them, but I have an awful time with deer and rabbits eating them in my garden, so apparently safe at least for some animals.
     
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies. I let her out to free range this morning, and she seems to have good energy and ran, even.

    I read that wild morning glories (convolvulus) are not the same as annual morning glories, and it is the latter which is poisonous to chickens, so that's a relief.

    Good to know chickens do like thistles. There is some bad info on the Net.

    Clare
     

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