Chicken not eating - lethargic - no vet until Wednesday - please advise!

CarriPage

In the Brooder
Feb 6, 2019
16
28
49
Katy, TX
Sorry - reposting as the other thread is buried.

This was from Saturday:
We have a small flock of hens just over a year old. Our buff Orpington Laverne was acting a little 'off' last night. We let them out of their run to free-range the backyard for about an hour each evening - she came out and was walking around some, but wasn't pecking at the grass like the others. She sat for a while. We checked and her crop felt empty so we gave her a little Nutri-Drench directly and then put out some mash (just their chicken feed with water and a little scratch) and she showed some interest and did eat some. Her crop wasn't super full, but was no longer empty. When we went out after dark, however, she hadn't put herself to bed in the coop with the others and was just sitting in the (outdoor) nest box. We moved her into the coop for the night.

We checked on her this morning and she was back in the nest box again. Worrying it was due to the heat, my daughter dipped her feet in some cool water for a little bit and tried to get her to drink. We tried nutri-drench and mash again but she just pecked a few little bites and then went back into the nest box.

She last laid an egg maybe 3-4 days ago - I know for sure she hasn't laid the last two days. Her butt does look dirty so diarrhea or wet poop possible but we haven't seen her go to know for sure. Her crop did feel empty this morning so I don't think sour crop. She is also walking normally and cannot feel any evidence of being egg bound.

We're just looking for a few more ideas of what to try. None of the other chickens are lethargic but we're in the Houston area and it has been especially hot these last few days. We have a large fully shaded run and have a fan blowing through it to help with air movement and flies. We have checked for lice and mites and do not see any evidence of such.

Saturday evening:
Just wanted to update that we were cleaning her butt and trimming some feathers and saw an egg membrane partially out of her vent. We pulled the rest out so it looks like a shell-less egg busted inside of her. We gave her a warm epsom soak, my daughter felt about 1" into her vent to feel for shell and felt none. We gave her a tums to help her pass anything possibly left inside and she's back in the coop for the evening.

Monday morning:
Could still use some help please! Here's the timeline:
  • Friday 6/5 - noticed she was slower, more tired, not pecking grass when freeranging but she did eat some mash
  • Saturday 6/6 - midafternoon noticed egg membrane coming from vent - removed, gave epsom soak and a Tums for calcium
  • Sunday 6/7 - eggy looking stuff on poop board under her spot. Still lethargic, not eating, some drinking. Daughter thought crop felt mushy but not sure
  • Monday 6/8 - crop feels empty or maybe even a little mushy this morning. Still lethargic. Not eating at all, not sure if drinking.
I've tried calling vets and none of the ones that treat chickens in our area have an appts available until Wednesday. We need to try something before then. At this point, I'm considering tube feeding and giving her some Fish-mox just in case the egg matter inside her is causing an infection. Please advise what you would try if this were your chicken. My daughter thinks her crop does feel mushy but no foul smell coming from her mouth.

Checked the poop board this morning and no sign at all of any blood or worms in poop. No signs of lice or mites on her or any of the others.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,267
33,260
1,122
Colorado Rockies
You are honing in on the main issue, it appears, and your instincts are very good. Your hen has had a soft egg rupture inside and that material still needs to be expelled. Giving a calcium supplement of 400 mg or more will help with the contractions needed to do this.

Also, your instinct about her needing an antibiotic is also on the money. Egg yolk can quickly develop bacteria and set off a raging reproductive infection that can become chronic, ultimately leading to death. Get her started on the amoxy right away.

I'm treating an eleven-year old hen right now for this exact problem. She's on day seven on an antibiotic and calcium. But she's only expelled a small bit of yolk and albumen so far. I'm looking for the egg membrane to show up. She's in a nest right now, and I'm hoping this will be the day she gets the remains out. Last time this happened, and it's an issue with very old hens that insist on still laying, it took nine days for her to pass the egg remains.

You should be seeing a watery discharge from her vent. That's trying to wash out the debris. When that subsides, she'll perk back up again. Don't worry too much about her skipping a few days eating, but you might be able to tempt her with a little boiled rice or chopped boiled egg.
 

CarriPage

In the Brooder
Feb 6, 2019
16
28
49
Katy, TX
You are honing in on the main issue, it appears, and your instincts are very good. Your hen has had a soft egg rupture inside and that material still needs to be expelled. Giving a calcium supplement of 400 mg or more will help with the contractions needed to do this.

Also, your instinct about her needing an antibiotic is also on the money. Egg yolk can quickly develop bacteria and set off a raging reproductive infection that can become chronic, ultimately leading to death. Get her started on the amoxy right away.

I'm treating an eleven-year old hen right now for this exact problem. She's on day seven on an antibiotic and calcium. But she's only expelled a small bit of yolk and albumen so far. I'm looking for the egg membrane to show up. She's in a nest right now, and I'm hoping this will be the day she gets the remains out. Last time this happened, and it's an issue with very old hens that insist on still laying, it took nine days for her to pass the egg remains.

You should be seeing a watery discharge from her vent. That's trying to wash out the debris. When that subsides, she'll perk back up again. Don't worry too much about her skipping a few days eating, but you might be able to tempt her with a little boiled rice or chopped boiled egg.
Thank you so much for responding! I do so appreciate it and even a little bit of reassurance is so helpful right now. We just picked up some FishMox and will start that tonight.

One more question though - my daughter is worried she may also be having crop issues. Her crop was NOT empty this AM but not packed full, definitely mushy. We do think she was drinking though as checking her crop a few hours after waking it felt like it had liquid in it. Just not sure if we should be trying to address that as well or focus on antibiotics and hoping she'll start eating if they help her feel better soon.

Thank you!
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,267
33,260
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Coincidentally, my hen also showed signs of having a full squishy crop. I chose to ignore it for the time being since we were dealing with a far more serious issue. It turned out to be a transient thing.

Keep watch on your hen's crop, checking it first thing each morning. If it persists in being full in the mornings, and if it's noticeably getting worse, then you should start her on miconazole. Or if you see the vet on Wednesday, ask them for a prescription for Nystatin.
 

CarriPage

In the Brooder
Feb 6, 2019
16
28
49
Katy, TX
Coincidentally, my hen also showed signs of having a full squishy crop. I chose to ignore it for the time being since we were dealing with a far more serious issue. It turned out to be a transient thing.

Keep watch on your hen's crop, checking it first thing each morning. If it persists in being full in the mornings, and if it's noticeably getting worse, then you should start her on miconazole. Or if you see the vet on Wednesday, ask them for a prescription for Nystatin.
Wonderful - thank you again for the reassurance. We were able to give her the first dose of FishMox and some calcium tonight on buttermilk soaked bread. We did see her drinking and she was roaming the yard a bit this evening so I'm hoping she'll be back to herself once the antibiotic does what it needs to do.
 

CarriPage

In the Brooder
Feb 6, 2019
16
28
49
Katy, TX
Coincidentally, my hen also showed signs of having a full squishy crop.

I just wanted to update and thank you again for your response. It's always just so comforting to hear about others going through something similar and what their outcome was.

Laverne is doing much better and has finally started eating a little more. We've been giving FishMox 7 days now and will continue to the full 10 days along with calcium daily as well. She's drinking well, is much more active, and hopefully will gain back some of the weight she lost. It was looking bad there for a bit and was really stressful and I just wanted to thank you again.
 

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