Eating a little, poop is solid now - seems better but still not laying

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by motherofpearl, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. motherofpearl

    motherofpearl New Egg

    One of my 4 Rhode Island Reds (10 months old, been laying for ~6), the runt no less, took to seeming ill last Sunday. We finally received much rain after months of dry drought-y weather, and I noticed her standing next to the fence very wet, staring and very still. She seemed lethargic and wouldn't run to scratch or treats.
    She didn't have a waddle, and no blood in her poop. But she did have a couple very wet/slimy poops on Monday morning. Her coloring hasn't seemed to weaken. She wasn't coughing or sneezing. But she just seemed ill. Just in case, I brought her into the garage with a heat lamp and dry litter, gave her some CHICK BOOST and MEDICATED chick feed (recommended by the feed store, as we couldn't diagnose her). Her poops have hardened back up, and she is eating, but it still doesn't seem like very much. I give her kefir too, as she loves that and its extra calcium.
    I've given her a bath every night massaging her, in case she is egg bound, but I can't tell. Her tail was down for a while, but seems to be upright now. I just can't figure out whats going on. She seems pretty healthy now, though she still doesn't seem to be eating much and she hasn't laid in I don't know how long!? Any ideas?
    Thanks so much in advance!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    It's hard to say what is wrong with her. Sometimes you have to rule things out first. She might be an internal layer or have egg yolk peritonitis. Coccidiosis could be a problem, but since her poops are more solid, maybe not. Worms and mites can cause a decrease in laying and anemia, so I would check her for that. SafeGuard and Valbazen are excellent wormers. Check her crop early AM when it should be empty for impacted or sour crop.
     
  3. motherofpearl

    motherofpearl New Egg

    Thank you Eggcessive for your reply. Initially I thought Coccidiosis, even though she never had blood in her stools. But then she seemed to get better, and stronger...so I have ruled that out. Then I thought worms, but she gets Diatomaceous Earth in her feed daily, so I don't see how she could even get them to begin with. I've given DE to horses, goats, llamas, cats, dogs...never had worm issues as long as DE is given regularly. No worms in poop either, though I know they won't show up unless the infestation is really bad. And being that she seems stronger than last weekend, I can't say that is the case. I've checked all over for mites, and can't see any signs of them. Her eyes and skin and feathers all seem 'normal'. The other 3 chickens, still outside, have also shown no signs of weariness. I've felt her crop daily, and can't feel anything abnormal...her breath is fine. And I've stopped giving her baths, as her tail is back up and she seems ok, but she is still not laying. I wonder, could she just have had a little cold, and now she's better, but just stressed from being alone in the garage and without her other chicken friends (even though she is the runt and poor thing - always picked on by them...RIR's are feisty chix).
    I'm thinking about putting her back outside but I won't be able to watch her closely. (In the garage I can go through her poops, monitor how much she eats and feel her body several times a day to make sure there's nothing abnormal.) Poor dear, maybe there's nothing wront, but she's just not a layer? Is that possible?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    All chickens have worms if they get on the ground. You can't see most worms except for large roundworms occasionally. DE does nothing for worms because it does not work when wet. Worms can damage the intestines, and although it may may not be the reason she doesn't lay, worms will decrease laying in all chickens. You can get a collective fresh stool sample tested at your vet's.
     
  5. motherofpearl

    motherofpearl New Egg

    Thank you, I won't rule worms out then. I will call around to see where I can get her stools sampled. I've been scooping them out of her garage-pen daily to check them, so they're all 'saved up' just in case. (^_^) In the mean time she seems very healthy now. When I hold her she tries to flap out of my arms, and her strength is very much improved. Before she wouldn't even try, or if she managed an effort it was very weak. I let her free range outside of the pen with the chickens and she seemed at ease, but when I reintroduced her to the other three, the head honcho immediately took her talons to her. Poor thing was out casted instantly, though she tried over and over to rejoin the group, I heard about this and was worried about it, but I have no dog crate to put her into. Is there anything else I can do? What if I free ranged her next to the other 3 during the day and brought her back into the garage at night? Would they ever accept her back in again? Or do I need to find a way to keep her inside their pen area but physically out of reach for ...weeks?
    Thank you kindly...
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    If she has only been out of the flock a week, I would put her back in with them when I could watch her to make sure she doesn't get hurt. They are going to peck her a little, that's normal, but it shouldn't get that bad. Putting her out to range with them is good. It's always good to have a homemade pen or crate to use for isolating chickens. they are pretty easy to make with some chickens wire and 2X4's. I would collect very fresh poops for testing if your vet will do it. It's actually just easier to treat your chickens twice a year with SafeGuard, and cheaper than a fecal float too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  7. motherofpearl

    motherofpearl New Egg

    Just want to update what happened with chicken(s). Our little one that was sick, Miss Mini, has recovered completely from whatever bug she had. No signs of ailment from her nor the other chickens. I was worried about her returning to the flock of 3 other bigger hens, especially with one very nasty head hen, Miss Meany. So I found a large dog crate on craigslist for cheap, brought it back and in the same day placed her in the run with the other chickens with a little bird fencing between them all so they could hang out but not physically touch. However I only kept her separated for 1 night, as she seemed awfully eager to rejoin her sisters. Yeah, they picked on her the next day, but nothing serious. She even seemed to have toughened up a bit...compared to before her illness. Oh, and she's laying just fine again now too. Maybe she just needed some sunlight and grass under her toes.

    Meanwhile I simultaneously removed Miss Meany and put her into our garage for a few days. I'd visit her throughout the day and my 2.5 year old would try her best to make friends with her, no matter how much she pecked back at us. Kefir treats were given daily regardless of meanness. A week after Miss Mini had successfully reintroduced herself to the flock I put Miss Meany back in too. (all 4 hens together for the first time in over 2 weeks). And boy did they let her have it (rightfully I believe, as she was such a mean girl)! Mainly because she thought she'd be right back on top of the pecking order and put up a good fight, but not for long. So, she has been successfully put into her place. And now my 2.5 year old can hang out with the chickens by herself and not worry about getting pecked! Me too! Miss Meany doesn't have any reason to peck now, she doesn't have to uphold her rank with us. And the other chickens never peck us (and never had) unless they think we have food for them.

    Problems all solved! Yay!! Thanks so much to all the good advice given to me and to all the great posts I've read. This community is a great support for a novice chicken herder like myself.
     

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