1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Congested Off-Balance Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by HidingInTheHenHouse, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. HidingInTheHenHouse

    HidingInTheHenHouse Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    When I went to check on the hens yesterday, one of my younger pullets (not laying yet, but close) was being pecked bloody on her back by the other hens. She was just sitting there, letting them do it. I immediately brought her inside to assess her and try and figure out what was going on. Here are her symptoms.

    Obvious congestion? She is rumbling loudly with every breath.
    Slight nasal discharge
    Off balance - she can stand, but holds up her right leg and extends her right wing for balance
    Normal droppings
    Eating and Drinking normally

    She was vaccinated for Marek's as a chick by the lady I got her from. She is getting her normal crumbles and water with electrolytes, vitamins. I've also given her a source of heat.

    What do you all suggest? This hen seemed fine just a couple of days ago.

  2. black404

    black404 Songster

    May 3, 2008
    Nashville, TN

    I am at work now but research

  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    The chicken world is very cold and cruel. It is survival of the fittest.

    Chickens cull their own when they feel the flock is weakened by sickness. They will also eat the flesh of other chickens - while they are alive - as they are drawn to the red bloody area instinctively.

    There could be several conditions wrong with her and I do not treat my flock with antibiotics. I cull in those conditions. So I can't recommend medicinal treatments.

    I do urge you to wash her wounds with a betadine solution. You can cover them in neosporin. If you will never use her for food you can paint her wounds with blu-kote - it is an antibiotic/antifungal gentine violet based wound dressing.

    Keep her isolated, warm and in dim lighting to help keep her calm.

    Give her raw organic apple cider vinegar in her water, 5 drops of infant liquid vitamins per day by beak (poly-vi-sol without iron), and some scrambled eggs, meat scraps and yogurt as part of her feed to give her a boost to try and pull through this.

    Keep us updated.
  4. HidingInTheHenHouse

    HidingInTheHenHouse Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    Well, I still have the hen in the house, and she was joined by another the following day.

    I have been giving them daily injections of antibiotics, thinking that the congestion might be some kind of bacterial infection. I know some of you don't approve of using antibiotics without a definitive diagnosis, but I am sick of losing hens for no reason when they might have been saved with some antibiotics that I have right here in the house.

    The original hen doesn't seem to be congested at all anymore. She eats, drinks, acts normal, except for her right foot. She still refuses to stand on the right foot.

    The second hen I put in with her had the same symptoms, and the two hens hang out together, so I'm assuming it is the same thing going on with both. She seems much worse however, though she is hanging in there. Her congestion is somewhat better, though not completely gone, and she stands and walks on both her legs perfectly normal. However, she acts much more ill. She stands puffed up with her eyes closed and head tucked behind a wing most of the time. She does eat and drink sometimes, but not very much. She seems cold, and huddles under the low wattage light bulb I have over them.

    I really do not want to lose these hens. I paid a lot a money for them, and have lost one already to unknown ailments.

    Does anyone have any other advice? How long can I keep two chickens in a confined space without the lack of exercise hurting them?

    Thanks everyone.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by