Depressed hen, not leaving nest box

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by microbe, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. microbe

    microbe New Egg

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    Nov 8, 2008
    1) What type of bird , age and weight.
    Buff Orpington hen, the entire flock is 22 weeks old

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    She has been sitting in the nest box for a day and a half now. She sits, stands, turns around, wipes her beak on the side of the box. I don't know if she has been down to eat or drink since (I did get her to take some water just now, looking at her comb she seems dehydrated). She won't take food from my hand (the others will). Yesterday she seemed mildly bothered by me petting her. Today she is more calm, depressed, and weaker. Her eyes are still bright. She has enough spunk to resist when I try to look in her beak or otherwise mess with her. She seems just a bit droopy when she stands, but legs are strong.

    3) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    none

    4) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    I wonder about a crop problem. Her crop feels squishy (not tight or hard), not FULL but certainly a good amount of something in there, and spread-out, like her crop has lost it's form. The other chickens crops feel smallish, full and ball-shaped. If she hasn't eaten in a day and a half, shouldn't her crop be empty? She could certainly have found and eaten a staple or other horrible thing in the yard.

    5) What has the bird been eating (specifically, ie brand of feed and type, treats, etc) and drinking?
    Chicks starter/grower until about a month and a half ago when I got a butt-load of free barley and stopped buying bagged feed ( [​IMG] yeah, I know...) Also they have been free ranging since around 9 weeks old. Veggie scraps from the kitchen, lots of fresh kale from the garden. Well water (potable) always available. I have not provided grit since they can get what they like from the yard. HOWEVER, this particular hen hardly ever left the coop until just a week ago.

    6) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    Seems more liquidy and with white streaks.

    7) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    Massaged her crop.

    8 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    I will treat her myself.

    9) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    10) Describe the housing/ size and how many birds using it.
    8x10 foot room built inside a barn. 19 chickens. Free range during the day. They like to hang out in the barn too.

    11) What kind of bedding in use?
    straw

    12) Have you checked for lice / mites?
    I check frequently and have not seen lice or mites.

    13) Have you wormed your birds?
    no

    14) When you hold your bird, does it feel heavy or light?
    same as the other hens

    They are not vaccinated.

    The interesting thing about this hen, is that she grew a huge comb weeks ago. The other hens combs are just starting to grow now. I don't think that means anything, but thought maybe I should mention it.

    We just started to get eggs 2 weeks ago, but I don't know if this hen in particular is laying.

    This is my first flock, and everything has gone so well up to now. I feel overwhelmed with the possibilities of what could be wrong. I have the Chicken Health Handbook, and have read the whole thing (several times [​IMG]).
     
  2. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Are you certain she's not broody?? Do a search on here and see if that sounds like it. She sounds healthy from what you've said. Buff Orpingtons are prone to broodiness.

    Good Luck! [​IMG] and [​IMG]:

    Shelly
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  3. microbe

    microbe New Egg

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    Nov 8, 2008
    Broody crossed my mind. But at 22 weeks old??? And not actually sitting on eggs?

    OK. I am completely embarrassed for posting this if she's just broody.

    And I just read on another post that they are technically pullets until a year old. So I have a lot to learn.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  4. microbe

    microbe New Egg

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    Nov 8, 2008
    Well, she's not broody. I found her dead this morning. Darn it!!!

    I'm going to open her up and see if there is anything obvious.
     
  5. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Quote:Oh dear! I'm sorry. [​IMG]
     
  6. Shiningfeather

    Shiningfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2009
    hill country texas
    [​IMG] Im so sorry. I hope you find out what it was. Make sure to check the crop for anything that she she could have eaten that was not good for her.

    To add, I have a 100 year old farmett and have glass every where.......I am always on patrol and picking it up cause I know it could kill my girls.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  7. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    OMG I am soooo sorry! I just posted because that was the only thing that sounded possible since she seemed otherwise healthy, even though she was young. I feel awful for suggesting that now. [​IMG] I mean, you know your own chickens, and knew something was wrong. I didn't mean to downplay it. [​IMG] I'm really sorry.

    I agree to be sure and check her gizzard and don't forget about her eggs. They should all be pretty small. I had a hen that started egg-eating and when I opened her up, she had rubbery, kidney bean shaped eggs in her. There was obviously something "off". I hope you find out what it is and that it's nothing anyone else can get. [​IMG]

    Sorry again!

    Shelly
     
  8. microbe

    microbe New Egg

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    Nov 8, 2008
    Well, nothing like doing a necropsy in the rain. [​IMG] Actually I found it quite fascinating. Thank you all for the support, but I'm not really too upset about it, more worried that it could have been infectious. The others all look great, so fingers crossed!!! Thankfully she wasn't one of my favorite hens, but I will miss her. She had the cutest, totally flopped over comb. I feel bad that I didn't post about her sooner. But the first day she sat there, I wasn't completely convinced that something was drastically wrong. Although I did have the feeling things weren't right. Like all of you with animals know. Sometimes you just "know" without knowing why. Anyway on to the necropsy:

    1. She did have a few mites.

    I have some wood ash that I'll put where they dust bathe. Can a very low level of mites be controlled this way, or would you guys recommend treating anyway? If so, what would you use?

    2. Gizzard had plenty of grit and looked normal. No foreign objects.

    3. Crop was moderately full of grass and barley, and a few paint chips. Smelled sort of funny (I suppose the grass started getting funky after 2 days of being in there), but again nothing obviously wrong. How quickly should the crop empty? I mentioned in my first post, but if she was in the nest box, not eating for almost 2 days, would you expect her crop to be empty? Although if her body was shutting down for some other reason, I suppose her digestive tract stopped, even if the problem didn't lie there.

    4. The other organs looked OK. I've been butchering my excess roos, so I think I would have noticed anything odd there.

    5. I have never seen the inside of a hen (OK, a laying pullet [​IMG]) before, so I'm a bit confused about the eggs. I was surprised at the large number of yolks...maybe about a 1/4 cups worth of yellow or even more. She also had some "cooked egg yolk" looking stuff stuck on her intestines. It only caught my attention because I remembered reading about "false layers" in the Chicken Health Handbook (which also says it can be caused by a variety of bacterial infections). The cooked-yolk stuff could as easily have been fat, I suppose, but the consistency seemed different. And the fact that they just recently started laying made me wonder if it was some kind of reproductive malfunction that killed her. Bleh. I'm really grasping at straws here, aren't I?

    sred98, thank you for mentioning eggs. I didn't see any fully formed eggs but didn't think to check her ovaries until I saw your note. I actually went back out and poked around inside her some more!

    Shiningfeather, there is glass scattered about our old farm too. I have little kids in addition to the birds, so what we see gets picked up. But I know there is more around. Amazing how those birds can scratch everything up.

    Soooooo... any thoughts would be appreciated. Kind of sad it took something like this for my first post, but I have done a lot of reading here... and I know what a kind and helpful bunch of chicken-lovers you all are!

    Thanks,
    Jess
     
  9. microbe

    microbe New Egg

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    Nov 8, 2008
    Quote:Please don't feel bad for suggesting it!!! My description of her sure sounded like a broody hen!
     

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