Chicken with droopy comb and lethargy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by itsbekah, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. itsbekah

    itsbekah In the Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2016
    This evening I found my 2 year old Gold Sex link, Ginger crouched in the corner of the coop, visibly sick with some mystery illness. Another of our chickens, Esperanza, a 2 year old Black Sex Link, passed away of seemingly the same sickness about a month ago. Ginger's symptoms include - droopy comb, weight loss, weakness, a "clicky beak" and she "yawns" every few minutes as if something is bothering her in her throat which are the same symptoms Esperanza had before she passed. Her appetite is low, but she has not quit eating/drinking (yet). When we were attempting to treat Esperanza, I gave her antibiotics daily in case she had some infection, and she seemed to do better for a couple weeks, but she took a turn suddenly and quickly deteriorated, then died a few days later. We have 13 other healthy hens who seem unaffected, but I'm extremely worried that others will die either because of the conditions we're providing or some outside factor. Please help! Thank you, Bekah
     

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  2. The Phantom

    The Phantom I love birds!!!

  3. Can you check her crop function? It should empty overnight. What does her poop look like?
     
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  4. itsbekah

    itsbekah In the Brooder

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    IMG_20180820_163753453.jpg
    Seems normal to me - it kind of "crumbles" when you touch it. She only had grass to eat last night. I'll watch her to see if her crop empties tonight. Her belly/vent area doesn't seem swollen so I think I can rule out egg binding.

    Forgot to mention - the conditions aren't super great for our chickens. We have no method of manure removal (working on filling it with sand then scooping biweekly). The coop/run size is pretty good, but we have 15 chickens so it's too crowded. The coop/run also get pretty hot, although they aren't in direct sunlight. Flies are also very prevalent.
     

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  5. itsbekah

    itsbekah In the Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2016
    No discharge around her nostrils/eyes, she seems pretty normal except for her appetite, the weakness, droopy comb, weight loss, and she's getting picked on by the other hens (which is unusual, as she's higher up in the pecking order)
     
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  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    Has she laid eggs lately? The mass inside could be a lash egg, or something else. Check her crop to see if it empties over night.
     
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  7. itsbekah

    itsbekah In the Brooder

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    I couldn't tell you, we have too many sex links to keep track of who laid what. She was hanging around in the coop when I found her so maybe she had been trying to lay an egg for a while and became weak/dehydrated in the process? All I know is she didn't lay one this morning, maybe due to the stress of moving her into the cage indoors last night, or there's some other issue that I haven't explored.
     
  8. I think the fact that the other hens are a big clue that she isn’t well. Have you looked her over for parasites? If you can’t remove manure, you might consider deep litter method instead. Wish I knew what was up with your girl.
     
  9. itsbekah

    itsbekah In the Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2016
    Update: her crop does in fact empty overnight, and she is continuing to poop (although in very small amounts) Treating her now for possible egg binding - tums and soaking her bottom in Epsom salts. She wasn't too sure about the bath at first, but she ended up falling asleep with her feathers all spread out so I'd say it went pretty well I don't see any parasite residue, but I'm now suspicious of worms because of the housing situation and her occasional "yawning". Could be gape worm? She's still pretty thin and her comb is still droopy, so I'm reluctant to do anything drastic in the deworming department just yet, as I've heard that the medicine is pretty hard on a hen. Any advice?
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    Can you feel an egg if you insert a finger (use a disposable glove if you have one) into her vent an inch or two? What antibiotics have you given her in the past? Yawning can be a sign of adjusting the crop, or something in there that is making her uncomfortable. Giving a wormer, such as Valbazen 1/2 ml for a 5 pound chicken or SafeGuard (fendbendazole) 1.25 ml for a 5 pound chicken is pretty safe if you think that can be a problem. Fenbendazole can be given for 5 days to treat difficult worms, such as capillary worms. Or, you could take some of her fresh droppings to the vet for a fecal test.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018

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