Banty Hen droopy and lethargic - just moulting, or sick?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JoyfulPromise, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. JoyfulPromise

    JoyfulPromise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    Background - I was given 4 banty hens and a banty rooster from a neighbor last year. They all had lumps on their feet from Scaley Leg Mites and so I have been treating them with foot soaks and a natural oil/ointment to smother the mites and heal their feet. This winter I was trying to be more aggressive and totally clean up their feet, plus two of the hens were limping a lot, so I brought two at a time into the house in a large rabbit/guinea pig cage so I could treat them each night. I didn't want to put them back out in the cold with some feathers possibly wet from the foot soak. I just put one hen whose feet were completely healed back out in the coop and brought this hen in about a week ago. This hen does not have really bad feet, just a lot of raised scales. She also was starting to moult, so that is why I brought her in next, because it was so cold outside. She was always the "lead hen" of the group, very bold, inquisitive, and active. The first few days she was in here she was complaining all the time, constantly scratching in the bedding in the cage, and taking dust baths in it. She was eager for food and apparently totally healthy. She laid an egg about every other day. The other hen that is still in here with her had the worst feet, but they are almost better, and she has been getting more active and I hope to put her back out soon. I especially don't want her to get sick, if Lynette(the sick hen) has something contagious.

    1) Banty hen, mixed breed - looks like an Old English Game hen, not sure of age, haven't weighed her.

    2) Droopy, lethargic, sits on perch hunched over and closes eyes. Not interested in eating. Runny, clearish watery poo.

    3) Only been like this the last 2-3 days. She was acting normal and laid an egg 3 days ago. Was a bit quieter than usual the next day, but perked up for a while to encourage her cage-mate to lay an egg.

    4) None of my other bantys are acting this way.

    5) No.

    6) I really have no idea what could have caused this. She was acting normal and healthy 3 days ago, laid an egg, was scratching bedding and interested in food. The other hen in the cage with her is acting normal. I thought at first it was just because she is moulting, but it seems pretty drastic for that now.

    7) She has had the same food as usual - we make a homemade chicken feed with corn, sunflower seeds, and spelt, partly ground and mixed with Fish meal, Nutri-balancer, and kelp. They also get a small amount of whole grain scratch each day. Being inside, I have occasionally given them bits of lettuce and grated carrots from our salads and a few crumbs from our homemade bread or muffins.

    8) Her poo has actually been pretty runny ever since she was inside, this morning I watched her poo and it was almost clear liquid with a little black runny part.

    9) I haven't really treated her much yet, as I don't know what is wrong. I have been sprinkling a little diatomacious earth (food grade) on their bedding to help with smell, and deter bugs, and they have picked at it and eaten a bit of it, which I know is a natural wormer too. I tried to give her a little diluted Ningxia Red (a superfood nutrient juice) last night and this morning, but she only swallowed a few drops.

    10 ) I definitely plan on treating her myself, as much as possible. Don't have the funds for a vet, and would rather treat her naturally anyway.

    11) I will try to get a pic up of her later, if you think that would help.

    12) See background above - She is in a large rabbit/guinea pig cage with pine bedding, a wood 1x2 angled across the bars for a perch. Chick waterer raised on wood blocks in one corner and small plastic dish with food in other corner.


    I hope the description is helpful, and I will be grateful for any suggestions/advice on how to help my chickie! [​IMG]

    Thank you,
    Charity
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    First [​IMG] and sorry no one has responded to your post. Molting can make a chicken feel really bad... so maybe thats whats going on, how does her crop look is it flat, full? hard squishy? sometimes if they are having crop problems they aren't getting the food into their body to help with nutrients which might be the poo your seeing heres the poop chart for comparison http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0 have you looked them over for mites on the rest of their body? mites and lice can bring them down fast. has she been consistantly laying how does her abdomen feel down around her lower part, what about her vent is it swollen and red? is it pulsing? These are just things to check out. then post back and hopefully this bump will bring others in to help...
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  3. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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    Try checking for lice and mites. Sounds like what happened with my Barred Rock this winter. Check around the neck and vent areas. You should see them crawling around and maybe some eggs around the base of the feathers. Try giving her a warm bath with anti-flea/tick shampoo for cats and dogs. Don't make it too hot, something you would be comfortable bathing in. Then dry her with a towel to soak up most of the water in her feathers and then use a blow dry her to make her fluffy [​IMG]
     
  4. JoyfulPromise

    JoyfulPromise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fostoria, MI
    @Miss Lydia - Thank you for your welcome! I am hoping it is just molting, but it just seemed so drastic and sudden. But maybe that is just her way - she is very energetic and bold and active normally, so maybe she is a very energetic/drastic molter and hopefully she will get it over with soon. She doesn't look as bad as some of our large laying hens did when they were molting(we had one hen in the house for a week or more that was all pinfeathers on her neck and legs and back all at once, nearly naked!). Lynette (the sick banty) doesn't look too bad on top, just a little scruffy, and if you look close you can see the pin feather coming in on her head and neck (because the feathers are light grey they don't stand out as much), but her bottom and chest are rather bare with pin feathers coming in, and she is actively losing feathers when she was preening or shaking herself.

    Her crop is pretty flat, she hasn't been eating much at all. I did see her go over a get a few pecks of food today, and a sip of water, but not much, and then she just sat hunched for the rest of the day looking miserable. This evening though I was giving the other hen with her a few leftover steamed corn kernals from our dinner, and when she looked slightly interested I offered her a few, and after a little encouragement she actually ate about 5 or 6 corn kernals! But it took a lot of encouraging, and afterward she just hunched up again.

    She was laying eggs pretty regularly about every 2-3 days before this (the last egg was 3 days ago, just before she started acting droopy), and I thought that was pretty good for winter, and starting to molt and all. Her abdomen feels soft and her vent is not red at all, just a bit bare down there like I said because of the molting.

    I don't think she has lice or mites, I have examined her pretty closely, but I will do so again tomorrow (she is sleeping and the cage is covered up now for the night) to make sure. My bantys did have a problem with mites in their old coop- an old rabbit hutch that someone gave us - this past summer, but I built them a new chicken tractor coop this past fall, and dusted them all with DE and we burned the old coop, and I haven't seen any signs of mites since.

    Thanks again for the suggestions! I guess for now I will just hope she is depressed because of molting and that it will be over soon, and I will just try to coax her to eat a little each day to get through. On a brighter note, the other banty hen in with her is fully recovered from her foot problem and she was very chipper and curious today, and wanted to come out and look around. I would have taken her out to the coop, but it was teens with wind chill below zero today, so I am going to wait a few more days until it at least is up in the 20s to take her back out. [​IMG] Don't want to shock her little system too bad! [​IMG]
     
  5. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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    I hope she gets better soon! [​IMG] oh and if she doesn't have mites/lice and the molting isn't the cause (which it very well may be), you could always try worming them.
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Thats true Rooster, this is also true worms can make them feel awful too. I would keep an eye on that crop too, if it's squishy and large and she's not eating much that could also be a problem, It should be full in the evening and flat in the morning... use the Google custom search on this page upper right and look up sour crop. Does her breathe smell? When my hens went through molt some were stand offish wouldn't come running for their meal worms, so I started giving them poultry drench in their water and also some yogurt to help boost their systems... Hopefully thats all it is molt, keep us up to date on her progress....
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    DE is not going to kill off an infestation of mites/lice or worms. It is doubtful that it is effective as a wormer. Permethrin/pyrethrin dust or spray is relatively natural, and effective. Most likely they have a few even if you can't find them; they kind of go with having chickens. You should be able to get a fecal done by a vet without spending a lot, maybe $20, and know for use about the worms; you might have to resort to chemicals if this is what is going on. That said, molting does make them miserable and diarrhea can occur just from molting. Good luck.
     

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