Buff orpington hen unconscious, emaciated. Contageous?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lunarrabbit, May 19, 2010.

  1. lunarrabbit

    lunarrabbit Hatching

    May 19, 2010
    I have a one year old buff orpington laying hen unconscious. She was just laying outside in the chicken tractor, on her side, leg bent in an unnatural position as though she just fainted. She has no symptoms outwardly. All of our orpingtons are so fluffy that we did not notice she was losing weight. When we were just now examining her, I found that she has no meat on her body--she's completely skeletal with just fluffy feathers. She is not egg-bound and there no discoloration of any part of her body. All of her feathers are in tact, and just a few days ago she was wandering around in the grass apparently okay. In retrospect, I believe she has been fairly docile her whole young life. The only difference between her and her sisters is this: all of their combs have sprouted and grown and hers has not.
    I do not know of any way to save her at this point, so if anyone knows, please let me know. I am very concerned about the other chickens. We have 3 more orpingtons--her sisters--and 4 sexlinks. I have been researching all the different avian diseases, and many of them list ematiation as a symptom. It's just overwhelming.
    Their living quarters are a typical chicken tractor, tin roof and sides, chicken-wire front and we can slide the tin on the roof back on nice days to fill half the area with sunshine. We move them around the yard about every four or five days, as they run out of fresh grass. They are fed oyster shells and chicken crumble or chicken pellets, and have both available with fresh water every day. They do "unfreshen" their water very quickly, though.
    For treats, they get fresh vegetable or fruit scraps, like apples. They also occasionally get a slice of Ezekiel bread, a flourless bread with lots of grains and seeds. Sometimes, they also get brown rice (thoroughly cooked, of course) as a treat if we have any leftover from dinner.
    This is how the chickens have been raised for an entire year, and this is the first illness we have seen. What do you think happened? Are the other chickens at risk? What about humans and dogs? Any advice would be helpful.
    Thank you.
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  2. Campine Lover

    Campine Lover Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Moss Beach, CA
    Doesn't sound like it's contaigous... but keep her inside in a special cage to be safe. Keep her warm, and give her food and water. If she doesn't eat for herself, dunk little pieces of bread into water and put them in her beak, make sure she swallows! Dip her beak in the water or use a tube to get it in her beak. Try to straighten her legs, if it doesn't hurt her. Check her VERY THOROUGHLY for mites or lice, it could be a serious case. Treat her imediatly if she does with mite powder. That's all I have... good luck!
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Go through the obvious first....

    check for mites or lice...look with a bright light around her vent area...they usually congregate there...

    have your chickens ever been wormed? Have you seen any worms in their poo? Have you seens any worms on the surface ground around your property...especially after a lot of rain?

    Is her poo normal?

    Is she eating and drinking normally?

    are her eyes and nares/nostrils clear? any discharge?

    Is her breathing normal?

    Is she laying normally?

    Keep her separated, warm and in a quiet area to keep her calm.
  4. babsbag

    babsbag Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    Anderson, CA

    Were your chickens vaccinated for Marek's ? I hope that is not what you have, but I would read about it, just in case. Before I lost my hen to Marek's she would go into a "trance" for hours, and then come out of it and act alert. After the necropsy I learned that she basically had brain cancer and that is why the trances would happen. Poor baby. I hope yours will be ok.
  5. lunarrabbit

    lunarrabbit Hatching

    May 19, 2010
    Thank you for the advice. The hen did not survive the night. I didn't find any mites or lice or worms anywhere....no discharge of any kind and a clean vent. I do not believe they were vaccinated for anything. I will probably go ahead and worm the rest of them, just to play it safe. I've never seen a hen starve herself to death...I wonder if it could be a tapeworm or something. I might even call the vet and find out how much it costs for an autopsy...
    Thank you for answering me!

    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    sorry to hear you lost her, mysteries like that can really drive you nuts.
  7. lunarrabbit

    lunarrabbit Hatching

    May 19, 2010
    Thank you for the empathy! It is really true--I wish I could just know!

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