Buff Orpington not herself

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RHFox, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. RHFox

    RHFox New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    Hello! I'm a little worried about my almost-two-year-old buff. She recently started laying again after molting (about every other day), but stopped five days ago. Her last egg was Jan. 5. I'm concerned because the following morning, with temps in the upper 40's, she didn't run out of the coop with everyone else. She just stood there, staring, like she was in a trance. She finally came out, but walked slowly and joined the others. The next day, I found her just sitting on the ground and looking lethargic (she did this a couple of days). When it was time to go in for the evening, she barely managed to get up the two steps into the coop, flapping her wings to help herself. I don't think she's overweight, she looks the same size as she always has been and doesn't feel any heavier when I lift her. She doesn't have any trouble now, but she's still not trying to get up on the higher tier in the coop like she had been. I'm not sure if she was eating because I'm gone during daylight hours and only get home an hour or so before dark, but she did eat and drink yesterday afternoon, and ate a little today. She really seemed normal, yesterday, but this morning it looked like she couldn't lift her leg to scratch her face, and one of my other hens was standing there feeling sorry for her/sympathizing? so I picked her up to check her feet, but they look fine, too. Once I set her back down, she reached up and did her thing. I am totally confused! She does have poop on her butt feathers, and I haven't seen any abnormal looking poop, either. I only have two other hens and they have been behaving normally. We don't get really cold winters here in Southern Virginia, (we brought them all inside the two extremely cold nights we had this past week), and one of my White Rocks is still laying, so I don't understand why my buff would stop laying and start acting like this. I've checked her feathers, no mites or any type of critter that I can see. I've felt around for something hard, but really can't tell. I plan on putting her in a warm bath tomorrow morning to see if that helps in any way. I'm worried she's egg bound, but I've read every thread on this site and feel like she would be in much worse condition after four or five days of not laying. Any insight or suggestions would be much appreciated!!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    You can take a gloved and lubricated finger, and insert it into the vent to feel for an egg. She may be laying internally or having soft shell eggs. I would also inspect her vent area for vent gleet which is a fungal infection that can cause a soiled vent area with bald or reddened areas, and sometimes causes a foul-smelling discharge. While you are doing all of this inspecting, check her skin all over and under the vent area for lice or mites. Think too of possibly worming her with SafeGuard horse paste or liquid goat wormer. Check her crop first thing in the morning to make sure it is emptying overnight.
     
  3. RHFox

    RHFox New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    Thank you so much Eggcessive! I will check everything first thing in the morning!
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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  5. RHFox

    RHFox New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    I brought Peaches in first thing this morning and checked her vent. There was some dry poop stuck to her feathers, so I washed her and cleaned her up as best as I could. I noticed her vent looked prolapsed, but she was contracting it without any problems. I inserted my finger in her vent but didn't feel an egg or anything hard. My finger came out clean, too. When I finally got my husband to help, we both checked her crop and neither of us felt anything unusual. Here are a couple of pictures of her vent. While inspecting her feathers, I noticed that she is missing a lot of feathers around her neck. Is it possible she's molting again? She didn't do a "full" molt in the fall (she didn't lose all her feathers and look like she had been plucked for consumption), but our neighbor was worried to see so many feather laying around in his yard, so is it possible she's starting again? Do Buffs molt a little at a time? And, do hens in general become skiddish and lethargic when they are molting? My husband insists she's fine, but I don't want to assume anything. I did observe her eating scratch grains and drinking water today.




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  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    When chickens molt, they stop laying. They don't start laying again until the molt is over with. Are you sure she was molting earlier? Her vent area looks a little puffy on top. I would probably just watch her. Make sure she is getting some calcium (crushed oyster shell, crushed egg shells) in a container where she can take it as she needs it. Some of my chickens get really lethargic and out of sorts when molting. If she is eating and not having diarrhea, I wouldn't think that she had coccidiosis, so I would probably worm her next--if she isn't molting, since that can be hard on them at that time.
     
  7. RHFox

    RHFox New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    Yes, I'm pretty sure she was molting. She was leaving piles of feathers everywhere and she stopped laying in the fall, resuming only a couple of weeks ago. That's why when she stopped laying this past week, I got worried. I always have oyster shell available along with the scratch grain. I will keep a close eye on her. It rained all day, today, so the girls spent most of the day hiding in the bushes under the eaves. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, so I will watch her closely. Is there anything in particular I should look for? Could she be losing feathers for another reason?
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Lice and mites could cause feather loss, or another chicken could be pecking her feathers (especially since she is acting sick.) She could also be laying internally--that is fairly common, and can lead to egg yolk peritonitis. Here is a link about it: http://www.avianweb.com/eggyolkperitonitis.html
     
  9. RHFox

    RHFox New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    How can I tell if she has egg yolk peritonitis? She does have some of the signs. Is there a cure? The article doesn't say. Now, I'm really worried!
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Just relax a little, and do some reading. There is not a whole lot that can be done about egg yolk peritonitis, and it might not be that at all. Sometimes people treat it with antibiotics to combat E.coli, but sometimes the peritonitis can be "sterile." as opposed to being bacterial in nature. I would advise you to just do some reading here on the search at the top of the page, and then google the terms "egg yolk peritonitis," "internal laying in chickens," and "egg binding in chickens." Prolapsed vent or cloaca is another term associated with egg binding that can lead to EYP. Watch your chickens behavior to see if there is any feather-picking. Look for mites--here is what they look like: http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html
     

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