Australorp down, ruffled feathers, not eating/drinking or responding.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dawnjerrene, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. dawnjerrene

    dawnjerrene Out Of The Brooder

    32
    1
    31
    Jul 27, 2008
    Eastern Washington
    I discovered our Australorp, Norbert, this morning, lying near the fence with her feathers all fluffed up, not moving. Thought at first she was dead, then saw she was breathing, not really shallowly, but very slowly. She doesn't appear to be injured (no blood or visible damage), and was fine yesterday. I figured maybe it was hypothermia - the phoenix hens try to chase our younger hens out of the house at night if we don't close them in. Moved Norbert into the hen house near the lightbulbs, nestled with straw. Had to do appointments today (we homeschool our 4 kids, and Wednesdays are busy). Left just before 1 p.m., got back around 6:30 p.m. Checked Norbert before we even went into the house. Norbert is still all fluffed up, breathing okay, but not responding beyond lifting her head when stroked and spoken to. To the best of my knowledge Norbert hasn't eaten or drunk anything all day. Does anyone recognize this set of symptoms? Do I need to isolate her from the others? We have powdered avian antibiotics, but how do I get them into her if she isn't drinking? Help! Feel free to call me if you like. I can't always get online frequently. 509.218.2940 Ask for Dawn. I can call you back on my nickel if that would help. I would so appreciate any help anyone could give me with this!! Thanks in advance.
     
  2. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    Hope you get a call from someone who knows more than me. In case not, certainly bring her inside to keep her warm and separated from the others. Proper hydration is crucial so water with electrolytes is imperative for her to drink. You can use a dropper if necessary--slow and carefully so it bypasses her trachea. Adding some vitamins would help too. If she'll eat some scrambled or boiled egg would be helpful.

    Has she been laying eggs? How does her crop feel--empty, hard, squishy, any odor from her crop? Please post more info so someone can help you.
     
  3. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    I second what chickerdoodle said. Bring her inside, give her water with electrolytes (pedialyte or sugar if you don't have the electrolytes) and use an eyedropper if necessary. See if you can get her to eat some moist scrambled egg. Put a little on her beak and see if she'll eat the rest. Keep her warm and draft-free tonight. This may help her get over the shock she's had to her system. She needs food in her crop and water, in order to support her immune system.

    Good luck! [​IMG]

    ETA: I wouldn't use antibiotics unless you know, or strongly suspect, that she's got an infection. They could actually harm her recovery at this time, if they kill off the beneficial bacteria in her gut.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  4. lngrid

    lngrid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Does the bird seem paralyzed or limp? I'm not qualified by any means to give an opinion, but here's a page talking about a case of botulism . If it seems to apply to your bird and you need more help you could do a search here at BYC for botulism.

    I hope you don't lose Norbert. Good luck and hopefully someone more knowledgeable will post here soon. [​IMG]
     
  5. dawnjerrene

    dawnjerrene Out Of The Brooder

    32
    1
    31
    Jul 27, 2008
    Eastern Washington
    Norbert is dead. She died sometime between 8 and 11-ish. I just wanted to thank those of you who posted ideas for me to consider, and those of you who called (you know who you are, and I deeply appreciate your time). I am not going to inform my nine-year-old daughter, whose hen it was, at least not until morning. Somethings are simply easier to deal with earlier in the day, imo.

    Again, thank you to everyone who tried to help. I am going to try to present this to my daughter as an oppportunity to get some new chicks this coming Spring. Maybe that will help. Thanks, and good-night.

    Dawn in Spokane
     
  6. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am sorry that you lost your hen. Terri O in WI
     
  7. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    So sorry about Norbert. [​IMG]
     
  8. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,873
    15
    191
    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    How did it go with your dd this morning? Poor little kid, it's so hard when the ones we lose are the kids' favorites.
     
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    4,871
    23
    251
    Jan 11, 2007
    so sorry [​IMG]
    your guess about hypothermia is what I would have guessed too.
    If this occurs again you need to bring the bird indoors and let it warm up in a room or brooder if you have one ... ideally between 70 and eighty degrees. Once she becomes responsive (or warmed up a bit) dribble some water with electrolytes along her beak (you should always have electrolytes on hand but diluted pedialyte or even diluted gatorade will do in a pinch) regularly and encourage her to drink on her own. The water should be at room temp not cold.
    A bird that is hypothermic loses the ability to control its temp. which is why it really is necessary to bring the bird inside (a bird which is cold stressed may be able to warm up in the conditions in the coop under a lamp but a hypothermic stressed bird will not).
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  10. dawnjerrene

    dawnjerrene Out Of The Brooder

    32
    1
    31
    Jul 27, 2008
    Eastern Washington
    Thank you to everyone who offered help and information about Norbert's illness. The information on respiratory illnesses, hypothermia, and botulism and their treatments has been saved and will be referred to in future. It's been a real education, real fast. [​IMG]

    My daughter, Olivia, dealt with the news very well, and has requested that we replace Norbert with at least TWO new Black Australorp chickies. lol She's no fool! How do you say no to that? So, I guess we'll be doing the brooder thing again this Spring.... though I was looking at the MacMurray Hatchery website last night, and got to thinking: If they ship out chicks in February, by the time it gets warm here (May-ish, usually) the chicks would be big enough to go outside, right? Maybe we will replace the hens (my ds' rir was killed by a neighborhood cat 6 wks ago, so we have to replace her, too. <sigh>) in mid-Winter. If we buy chicks in February, they'll be ready to start laying before the end of Summer, won't they? The kids always enjoy the brooder aspect of the chicks. What do you all think? Mid-Winter or Spring? I'd be grateful for any input you might want to share....

    Dawn in Washington
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by