Chicken not recovering completely - what might be wrong - to cull or not to cull

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChibiFirli, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. ChibiFirli

    ChibiFirli New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Nov 29, 2013
    Hi,

    1) Female bantam wyandotte , 3 years of about 1 kg (2 pounds). She used to be significantly heavier (large alpha hen)
    2) Behavior: Not eating or drinking on her own (some varied other symptoms are described throughout the post, but this one is the only one that has been there the entire time). Will eat or drink anything placed in her beak, even a long piece of grass will get sucked in and eaten. But even the rooster calling out with tasties right next to her doesn't make her do anything but tilt her head and look confused.
    3) Duration: Since 24 september 2013, so a little over 2 months.
    4) Other birds with same problems: No
    5) Injury, broken bones: No. She had some weird black marks on her beak. Medical history: she had some kind of swelling near er sinuses in the past, which she recovered from. She had been having problems with laying (weak shells and eggs slightly flattened on one side) and we were hoping she'd get better from that after molting. Weird physical stuff since 24 september:
    - the swelling around the sinus seems to come back and go away at random (appears within a few hours and disappears again in a few hours)
    - her beak and face have "molted": large flakes of skin got loose and came off (this has stopped by now); the beak seemed to have some kind of growth or scab that came off
    - her beak is showing black spots (see pictures) (this is a rather recent development)
    - as soon as she put on some weight, she started molting (she got ill at the start of molting time)
    - just an hour ago she had a seizure (flapping wildly, legs moving, head moving in circles as wide as she was physically able to do). Lasted about a minute and left her panting, but otherwise okay. This does imply that she has sufficient muscle to peck at things and eat.
    6) We do not know what might have happened. They freerange sometimes and there are cats, rats and martens near, but she had no visible injuries.
    7) In the past 2 months, she's mainly had yoghurt, applejuice, water, oil and layer pellets. Occasionally, we've given her some grass, caterpillar and rocks.
    8) Poop looks mostly normal (if we feed her a large proportion of water, the poop gets more liquid in it)
    9) We've made sure the crop was emptying properly (oil). We've been handfeeding her several times per day and have been able to significantly up the food and liquid intake (at first, she could only have a few milliliters of yoghurt+juice at a time). Currently, she's on solid food and water like the other chickens without apparent problem.
    10 ) We mainly intend to treat (or cull) her ourselves as we haven't found a decent avian vet in the area yet. In the past, vets in the area have usually failed to diagnose/save our chickens.
    11) Pictures below
    12) She came from an insulated outside coup that uses hempchips (should be less dusty than woodchips) and straw as bedding. Since 24 september, she's been inside in a plastic tub using the same bedding. Since she's been walking again, we'e given her a larger plastic tub and we put some things to perch on in it (she loves to perch). The boxes are open on the top, she can look out of it if she stretches her neck while on one of the perches.


    History:

    In september we had a 2 week vacation with someone else taking care of the chickens. He did a pretty good job: they were all alive and well when we came back and seemed fine. However, about 2 days later we noticed one of the hens (called Emilio, or 'milio for friends) just sitting in the coup and not moving (she was still moving around fine when we got back). We picked her up, took her in and checked her out. She had lost a lot of weight and was so weak she couldn't stand anymore. I checked with the person that took care of them during our vacation, but he didn't notice anything special. Now, he doesn't know our chickens that well and doesn't deal with chickens regularely so he might have missed something.
    So we're 2 months later now and even though 'milio improved quite a bit, she still isn't eating. She gained quite a bit of weight, but she's still rather light compared to the porker she used to be. She can stand and balance again, she can walk (though still somewhat stiffly), she can fly somewhat (she can't lift off, but she can fly a few meters when starting high) and use her wings to get up steep slopes (we've been doing chicken-PT). She shows some interest in thrown scratch grains, grass and trickling water but doesn't get to actually eating it. The closest she's gotten is pecking at grass, but not ripping it. When we put her outside, she mainly just tries to get into a hiding spot or on a perch. Might peck somewhat unenthousiastically at grass.
    Does anyone know what she might have and what her chances are of getting better?
    We're fearing it might be brain damage and she just forgot how to eat. I'd prefer to cull her if her chances are slim. She used to be a very different chicken and I don't think this situation is a happy one for her. She used to love hunting bugs (catching flies in the air) and to try to get to the treat first, but now she just sits there. If she's not going to get better, it would be mean to force her to stay alive and suffer (I don't know whether she's in pain or not either). She's a rather pretty chicken (and so is her offspring) and she had a funny personality, so I'd be sad to let her go, but I'd prefer that over having her suffer needlessly.


    Pictures:

    She has some weird black stuff in her mouth...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Behold! The swelling near the sinus (currently in the waxing stage at about 3/4 of full size)
    [​IMG]

    She's just trying to be cute here :)
    [​IMG]

    This shows off that she's rather thin (she used to be a fatter chicken)
    [​IMG]

    'milio standing (don't know why she keeps her feet weird like that)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  2. ChibiFirli

    ChibiFirli New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Nov 29, 2013
    Update: she had another seizure :(
    Looks like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,989
    2,982
    471
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    The dark spots inside the beak may be canker. It should be treated with Flagyl (metranidazole) 250 mg daily for 5 days. This drug can be bought online without a prescription as Fishzole. It is contagious to the other chickens. The swelling in her face could be a mild form of CRD or mycoplasma. Her seizures could be related to the canker or not. Here is a link about canker: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/154/trichomoniasis-canker-frounce
     
  4. ChibiFirli

    ChibiFirli New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Nov 29, 2013
    Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately Flagyl cannot be gotten without prescription in Belgium, but I'll try it anyways.

    Short status update: no noticable seizures today (so if she had any, she recovered within a few seconds). Given what I've read about seizures, they might also just be caused by salt/water imbalance. We've had to handfeed her for over 2 months now. We try to make sure she gets what she needs, but we might have given her too much or too little water or just missed something else.

    Does anyone have any clue why she's not interested in food? We've tried everything we could think of to entice her to eat. Leave her in peace with lots of tasty treats (even feed her some and then leave her in peace). Put her with the other chickens as they're getting treats (she used to be the one that got to all the treats first). We've even gotten her next to a rooster making the "I found treats"-noise. All without effect. Could this be related to the canker or the swelling in her face?
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,989
    2,982
    471
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
  6. ChibiFirli

    ChibiFirli New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Nov 29, 2013
    I'm afraid she didn't make it :-/.

    In any case thanks for the advice though! I'll definitely keep this in mind for the next chicken. In the meantime, I'll be trying to figure out how to get something with metranidazole into Belgium past customs or get it legally in Belgium. Just in case the other chickens start getting sick too. Though they've been fine for the past 2 months, so I'm not worrying too much.

    Thanks again for your help. I'm sorry we ended up asking for help a little bit too late.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by