Can this chick be saved?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by louieloui, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. louieloui

    louieloui Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 12, 2010
    I have a Silkie who is 12 weeks old and has always seemed to have problems. She (I'm assuming it's a she but could be a he) has always been at the bottom of the pecking order and is about the same size now as she was when I got her around 4-5 wks. of age. A few weeks ago I decided to move her from the large flock where she seemed to be stressed at the most and put her in with some babies we have in hopes this would help her gain some status and de-stress her. While doing this I found that she had a bad case of pasty butt, which I feel so bad about missing, and have been working to clear it up for her but it has only gotten worse. While I've been able to clear her vent enough for her to poop, I have never been able to fully clean it. I figured it was a process that would get better w/each soaking, etc.--yet the next day it would be crusted back over again. Now she's losing weight and she's getting lethargic. Today when I cleaned her I noticed blood coming from the opening I created and am worried that her body is shutting down? Is there anything else I can do to help her or does it sound like she may have some sort of abnormality? She really is the sweetest thing and I feel like I'm failing her. [​IMG]

    She's been on crumbles as I haven't been able to get any of the chickens to eat pellets, and I've also given her yogurt and cottage cheese.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    It sounds like she has "failure to thrive" which means you are unlikely to be able to save her. Failure to thrive birds can be that way for a variety of reasons, most of which are congenital and/or genetic. You could keep maintaining her and trying to save her, but it would really be unlikely to change her outcome. I would euthanize her if she was my bird. I know it sounds harsh, but sometimes birds just aren't thrifty and no amount of effort on your part is going to change that.

  3. The Lisser

    The Lisser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Did you do a sudden change in food when you switched her from the big pen to the other pen? That could definitely bring on pasty butt. Also cottage cheese is high in protein but the milk part can cause diarrhea too. I would put her on what she was used to and add in what the new food gradually - no more cottage cheese, just some yogurt. Maybe some cooked egg. The blood - could be from feathers coming out when you removed the stuck on poop. When I treat chicks for pasty butt, I put several drops of warm water on the area, wait 10 minutes, add more water, wait 10 minutes, then try to remove the poop. It's much easier to take off if it's softened. I find that my chickens get diarrhea from stress too.

    Is she warm enough? Does she have a hiding place? A move can be very stressful - once she gets used to it she might perk up.

    Best of luck!
  4. louieloui

    louieloui Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 12, 2010
    Quote:Nope, she's been on the same food the entire time and has only had the cottage cheese once (I tried to give her some today but she didn't want it). What I've been doing is soaking her in a sink full of warm, slightly soapy, water--even putting a washcloth on her vent--for at least 30-45 mins., but usually longer. Then I carefully pick the poop off being mindful not to pull, etc. I also used a bit of hydrogen peroxide after reading that it helps loosen the poop...which it did...and she didn't seem to mind it at all. Still, today the blood was coming from basically right in the center of the hole in the poop. So not sure it's from feathers but maybe? Basically her vent looks like someone put a big plug/cork of poop in it, it's distended some, and today I was only able to clear a hole in the middle of the poop despite all the soaking. Usually I've been able to almost clear it completely, yet there's always been some leftover crusted poop around the edges and somewhat inside. That's what I figured would resolve eventually yet everyday is closed up again. [​IMG]

    She's definitely warm enough as I still use a lightbulb for a little extra heat during the day because they're all in our basement. Thing is, she seems like she's been stressed since we got her. I've watched our older chickens and while none of them have ever picked on her, I think that her status as "bottom of the pack" has affected her WAY more than any of the other chickens who aren't high up. That's why I was hoping that by removing her from that group and placing her w/babies--who at the time were SMALLER than her and are now the SAME SIZE as her (despite a HUGE age difference) that it would perk her up. She did seem a lot happier and they all got along, but she just hasn't grown and I can't keep her butt from crusting over. [​IMG] I'll see if she'll eat the eggs because at this point, she's not eating anything. Poor baby.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    She might very well have an internal birth defect with prevents her from eliminating properly and thus failing to thrive... personally, I would make the choice on quality of life and likely cull.
  6. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    Agreed with the people who are stating failure to thrive. I think most of us who have been into chickens for a while have had failure to thrive chicks, and sadly no matter how much you pamper them and care for them, they usually end up dying. [​IMG] I'm a person who keeps chickens as pets and I'll do just about everything in my power to save one of my birds if they're not well or need extra help, but these cases are hard. Like others were saying, it's generally something the chick is born with--some internal issue or genetic issue or both, and there isn't really anything one can do. You can either euthanize the chick or make them as comfortable as possible and let them pass on their own. Euthanasia is probably the kinder of the two alternatives, unfortunately.

    [​IMG] I'm sorry, I know it's so sad! I always get attached to the failure to thrive chicks and hope they're going to pull through, but none have so far.

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