Dying Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Em Ty, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. Em Ty

    Em Ty Chirping

    Oct 3, 2013
    St. Clements, ON
    I came home after 3 days to find one of my hens with her eyes crusted shut. She's lost a lot of weight and her neck is curling back. I got the crust off her eyes and got her to drink some water. She also has some bugs on her that are kind of transparent with a dark spot in the middle, they are oval in shape and maybe a third to half the size of a grain of rice. She also smells horrible, a kind of sour/sweetish smell.

    Are the bugs the issue? What are they, how do I get rid of them, what do I treat the rest of the flock with (they look OK right now, but so did she 3 days ago)?

    Should I use a crop tube to feed her? Any advice is welcome.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  2. CCsChickens

    CCsChickens In the Brooder

    Nov 22, 2014
    Definitely separate her from the flock - you don't want the whole flock to become infected (although that might already have happened but you never know!) As for the bug it could be a louse, tick, flea etc. its hard to tell. If her heads curling back that's a sure sign of weakness and the crusted shut eyes are definitely a concern. Like I say to everyone on here with sudden bird illness when in doubt take them to the vet (if you can afford it I understand it can be expensive) because the earlier you catch something the better chance you have of treating it and bringing your chicken back to recovery. Also as an owner you have a responsibility to provide the best care possible for your flock, so if the vet isn't an option and shes struggling to move/feed etc then you may have to put her down yourself
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK

    Sorry to hear your hen is so ill. I think more info may be needed to help diagnose her.
    For instance.... How old is she? Has she been laying recently? Has she been wormed and when?

    The lice will most likely be as a result of her being run down and unable to look after herself.
    It is probably wise to treat the whole flock for lice and worms if you haven't done so recently.

    Does the hen smell bad at the front end or the back end? In other words, does she have foul smelling breath in which case it might be sour crop, or bad smelling poop, indicating a lower digestive problem or perhaps egg peritonitis or even just a lack of food going through her system. Has she pooped recently and what did it look like?

    I would start by bringing her into the warm and cleaning her up. Providing warmth to a sick hen will give them a boost. Gently bath the eyes with dilute salt solution and cotton buds to remove the crusty material and see if she can open them. I successfully use DE to dust for lice but many will say it doesn't work. I guess it depends where you live as to what is available. Sevin powder seems to be the preferred product on this forum but it's no longer widely available.

    Once you have her cleaned up and have answered some of the above questions then hopefully the cause of the problem will be more clear.

    As the other poster said, sometimes our responsibility also extends to putting them out of their misery when they are suffering and things look very bad. I had to do it for the first time recently and it's not easy, but you know when the time comes.

    Good luck and I hope you are able to help her in some way.

    Best wishes


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