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Claribel's Not Walking

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by karinaspiraling, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. karinaspiraling

    karinaspiraling Out Of The Brooder

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    It's been a week and a half. I have her in a little box in our house, and I take her out to give her some mobility and to drink. Her feet are curled, and I have to manually stretch out her toes before I set her down. Lately she is also leaning back on her butt with her little feet kind of in front of her. When she does this she leans back on my hand or leg for support, and seems to be relieving pressure or maybe just changing her position. Her belly may be sensitive, as she's murmured a couple of times when I've touched it. It may be slightly distended but it's hard to know what 'normal' would look like when you're not used to seeing a chicken sitting up like a primate.

    She has mobility in her hips; if I hold her weight by her body, she can move her hips a bit, but she cannot bear weight on her feet. It seemed one foot was worse than the other, but today they're both curled.

    She drinks water and kefir; sometimes I hold it up for her and sometimes she reaches the ground on her own. She shows no interest in leaves and no interest in scratch. She mostly seems alert; but at times is disoriented in trying to reach the kefir & water dishes, and she is sleeping more, which may be out of boredom. She's usually a feisty little red hen.

    In the past eight months or so, she has irregularly laid eggs, often with thin or no shell. I don't know if this is related. Claribel is probably three years old.

    Any suggestions you have are greatly appreciated. She's my dear little friend.

    Thanks,
    Karin
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/6/diseases-of-poultry/217/vitamin-b2-deficiency
    Could it be curly toe paralysis?

    http://www.avianweb.com/eggproblems.html
    note vit B12 can cause it

    http://www.healthybirds.umd.edu/Disease/DISEASES OF CONCERN fact sheet.pdf
    scroll down to curled toe paralysis at bottom

    Usually it is younger chicks with vitamin B2 deficiency and curled toe paralysis from what I have read. Is it possible the layer feed was old (and thus the vitamins ineffective)? I would think you would have been seeing signs of vitamin deficiencies in the rest of the flock, though.

    Another thing to consider is if her abdomen is distended and sore, she could have another problem like fatty liver disease, ascites, eggyolk peritonitis, eggbound, etc.

    Frankly I'd try some vitamins and you might need to take a syringe and dribble some diluted vitamin water alongside her beak (on the side of the beak, as the drop forms at the end of the syringe they drink it).

    Another thing to consider is feeding scrambled egg, as it is very good for them.

    There are other causes of lameness, also:
    (diagnosis charts at bottom)
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  3. karinaspiraling

    karinaspiraling Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, thank you for all those links and ideas. As I was eating the last egg this morning, I was thinking that I should feed her an egg. I'll start that tomorrow. And also the vitamin water. I think that's what we call Chicken Gatorade, but if not I'll go pick some up and start putting it out for the other birds, too. Should I put it in all drinking water or in a separate container so they can choose whether or not to have it?

    I'll go spend some time on these sites you mentioned now. Thanks again.

    Karin
     
  4. karinaspiraling

    karinaspiraling Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 10, 2011
    Hm. I'm back. So, given how often Claribel scarfs down kefir (I give it to them regularly), I don't think she can be B2 deficient. Kefir is a fermented milk product, and as such its B2 content is high. For example, using the scale for humans, yogurt provides 30.5% RDA and milk provides 26.4%, whereas eggs come in at 15.2%RDA for humans (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=93). And, the kefir she drinks is from fresh cow milk so not pasteurized or homogenized.

    Our chickens free range on grass and country-yard plants, forage in the forest, and are supplemented with scratch, kefir, and compost.

    Any other ideas? Maybe she can't access the B2 in dairy in the same was as a human, even though it's from fresh milk? I'll try some tahini with her tomorrow....
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I am not sure about how to administer the vitamin water- I have not purchased it. I assume you just put it in the drinking water, but I don't know how much water, etc.

    Yes I did think about the kefir as a source of riboflavin, but I thought I would mention that anyways.

    I would feed some organic layer feed too (but that is just me) as part of their diet. I know many folks are trying to avoid soy, so if you are one of them, you might consider adding some black oil sunflower seeds and some dry split peas, wheat, organic cracked corn, rolled barley, rolled oats, millet (birdseed), and the like to give variety if needed.

    I have just described to you what I feed (except I buy organic chick starter and mix in all the other grains)! [​IMG] I have never fed kefir though.

    If you aren't already feeding some oyster shells or aragonite for calcium, I'd recommend it (have a little dish off to the side for them) to strengthen eggshells.

    I would avoid having them dig in the compost if possible. I know that many do that with success, but I have also read stories on here about compost making the chickens sick. If they ingest moldy feed, it can kill them. (Botulism and also aspergillosis are possibilities.)

    All in all, I don't know what other advice to give...it sounds like your chickens are well cared for and I hope it all works out and she is feeling better soon.
     
  6. karinaspiraling

    karinaspiraling Out Of The Brooder

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    Ahh, phooey. She's got an appointment with the chicken doctor tomorrow. They seem to think it's either a mass, serious egg-binding, or something neurological.

    She has organic layer feed and she doesn't like it. She prefers $9/bag cracked corn & rye to $28/bag super-dank mixed seeds. Go figure. I put them both out, and at least the squirrels are getting some good seeds. I have put oyster shell out but not all the time. Thank you for the reminder. Not that she'd eat it right now, but in general I should have it out more.

    Interesting thoughts on compost. There are some, I think Joel Salantin is one, who feed exclusively from the compost pile. Ours doesn't get much in it, as there're only two of us usually, and the chickens share it with the dog and the wildlife. It is a good thought, however, about moldy food going to the compost and that being accessible to the birds. I'll need to find a location far far away, where the birds don't go, and sneak the moldy bits over there. Maybe under the cover of darkness.

    I'll be in touch after our vet appointment tomorrow.
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Oh dear that doesn't sound good. I am hoping for the best, least serious diagnosis for your Claribel!!!!
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  9. karinaspiraling

    karinaspiraling Out Of The Brooder

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    We're back from the hospital with not much news. The vet said she was emaciated, and that she has probably not been eating well for some time, but that chicken symptoms don't become apparent to humans until things are quite critical. Ironic, as we've been discussing in this thread, given the opportunities for food that are available to her. But, the vet could not give me any indication as to why Claribel has stopped walking.

    They kept her overnight, intubated her, gave her antibiotics. I refused a CBC and that level of testing. She thought an overnight with a feeding tube would show some results. It did not. I refused the suggestion for further hospitalization. The vet tech girl demonstrated how to tube-feed her. On our own, that didn't go so well. But when I finally stopped trying to put the tube down her throat and just put the stuff in a bowl, Lo! She gobbled it right up. Today she has eaten some, but not as much as if it were in a tube.

    Moral dilemmas. I brought her home because I didn't feel like anything was going to happen for her in the hospital. So they keep her and force-feed her. And what? She's in a strange, sterile place in a metal cage with bright lights and weird sounds and smells and sights and she's lonely and scared. She'd rather be home sitting in her straw bed. I'd rather be home and in my bed if it was me, so I can only surmise that my friend would want the same. If they were actively doing something, then okay, but to force feed her and just let her lay there all day? Doesn't work for me.

    She likes the stuff they gave me. Probably loaded with sugar. Heck, I'd give her chocolate cake if she asked for it.

    Her sister and rooster have been upset by her absence. They see me bring her outside to sit in a little screened-in box I have for her to get sunshine and fresh air, contact with the living round. Her rooster, Buck, is upset by the box.

    Yesterday Buck was more upset about the box than usual. He was acting upset in general. Finally I asked him where Clarissa, his other hen, was. He stared at me. Then he looked at the coop. Then he looked back at me. I went to the coop and found Clarissa's body. A possum came in the night, dragged her off her 8' roost, and killed her. Then he couldn't get the body out of the coop, so he chewed off her head.

    When I regained my own composure, I removed her from the coop. All I can imagine is Buck up there next to her on the roost and hearing this whole thing happen, unable to protect his number one hen. And after I removed her body from the coop, he was looking all over for her. He'd return to the spot where her body had lain and inspect it, then look around the larger coop area, and back to the spot. Then he hurried over to me and looked at me like, "DO something?!?" So now his number one is gone and his number two is with me and he is all alone. I feel so badly for him, a rooster with nothing to do. No hens for whom to forage great food and no one to protect. He's such a good rooster - so kind and considerate of his hens. My partner doesn't want to get more hens. Losing them like this is too hard for him. Especially because when it gets gory, it's on him because I can't do it. So, if Claribel doesn't pull through, we may have to rehome Buck to a really really good home. Rehoming a rooster. Great. That'll be easy. {.flat.sarcasm.}

    These past two days have been really, really bad days.

    Thanks for listening, all you chicken-lovers. Feels strange to write this personal struggle to people I don't know like this, but there's a consolation in knowing that you all know how I feel. Some better than I can even imagine.

    Thanks again.

    Karin & Claribel
     
  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Sorry to hear about your troubles... If you get to the point where you need to tube feed, I can make some suggestions on how to make it easy for both of you. I have tube fed chicks and adults and have found a very safe way to do it. They will actually get to they point where they will swallow the tube!
     

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