Elderly chicken sitting very still with eyes closed, not responsive to treats etc.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hyzenthlay, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just went out to the coop to give treats, and my 8.5 year old Easter Egger is not looking good. She is sitting where she normally perches at night, with her eyes closed. She looked like she might have been trying to open her eyes a bit when I came in, but she did not move at all when I put some dried mealworms right by her. She was up and around seeming normal yesterday, but I think she was still up in the perch area when I went to check on them this morning. If I recall, she was just standing up there, I figured she was hanging out where it was warmer, or maybe getting a bite to eat. I don't know what to do for her. She has never been happy to be touched, so I don't want to handle her more than necessary if she's on her way out--but I don't want to abandon her if there's something I could do to help. Thoughts? :(
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    WOW 8 1/2 years. I never keep one past 2 years. ""I"" would go out and pick her up to examine her. What color is her Comb?? Is she real light or Real heavy Or feels about the right weight for her size? Check her rear for loose stool signs. Any lice/mites around her rear?
     
  3. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, PD-Riverman. I just went back out to check on her like you said. I lifted her wing and parted her feathers, and could not see any signs of lice/mites--although I only looked on the one side because I didn't want to disturb her too much. I also gently lifted her a bit off the roost, and she seems about the same as usual, I guess--nothing obviously different. I didn't see any fresh stools around where she is sitting--but then, she probably hasn't been eating today, either. Throughout all of this she didn't open her eyes once, although her lids did kind of move, and she lifted her head higher while I was touching her. Her comb looks pretty normal to me. Here is a pic of my old girl after I messed with her a bit--I don't think she was quite that fluffed up before I started ruffling through her feathers. You can see the mealworms in front of her that she hasn't touched. Her breathing doesn't seem to be labored exactly, but slow and quiet. I don't feel optimistic given her age, I just want her to be as comfortable as possible unless there's something obvious I can/should do to help.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Well if she was mine I would give her some tylan50 and I would warm some wet food to get some gravy off it and feed her the liquid with a syringe--without a needle---get her to swallow it---to see if that helps. If its cold where she is at--I use a old heat pad(the kind that stays on all the time when you turn it on) in a tote/box with a little hay----lay her on it with it on low just to give her some heat. If she is not eating her body heat will probably be low. Good Luck
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Try to encourage her drink. If you have poultry vitamins put some in her water. If she hasn't been down all day she is most likely dehydrated.

    8.5 yrs is quite old for a hen, so unfortunately she may be declining due to her age. I'm sorry[​IMG]
     
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  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    It's the right time of year for hormone shift into laying...could be she has a lash egg or two. How long has bit been since she laid a normal cycle of eggs? I'd be doubtful if she lasts too much longer from the looks of her. Great looking bird for her age.
     
  7. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all so much. She is still with us this morning. I moved her to our basement with lots of fresh bedding and towels, where it is nice and warm (about 75 degrees), and she still has her eyes closed, but she has moved around in the puppy pen fairly regularly (although never while I'm watching). I thought for sure she would pass last night--after I brought her inside she went pretty limp and spread her wings and rested her head on the ground, and her breathing was very slow and quiet. But this morning she is sitting up again more like in the picture posted above, and her breathing is a bit more rapid. I just don't know why she is not opening her eyes at all.

    As far as I can tell she hasn't eaten any of the treats (dried mealworms, scrambled eggs, scratch, crumble) or drank any water, so I gave her a small (10ml) syringe full of vitamin water first thing this morning (I put in Nutridrench and the vitamins/electrolyte powder for chicks). She seems the same now, so I just gave her another two little syringes of water treated with Corid, just in case that could be the issue. I'll go back down in an hour or so and give more of the vitamin water. I'm not sure what else to do.

    @PD-Riverman I don't have any Tylan50 in my first aid kit--I will have to get some. I do have VetRx--maybe I could try that in the meantime?

    @Beekissed , I don't think she's laid an egg since about October or so--whenever her last molt was. It's true there could be an egg stuck--she was laying fairly regularly, maybe 2-3 times/week, before she stopped, and my other adult hens are just starting to lay again after the winter. But she didn't have any of the signs I've read for lash eggs (lethargy, soft shelled eggs, weight loss, etc.), and her symptoms seemed to come on very quickly (apparently fine on Wednesday, walking around Thursday morning but probably lethargic, eyes closed and looking near death Thursday afternoon). Still, I wish I did have Tylan50 or some other antibiotic on hand, since that seems to be the only realistic possible treatment of lash eggs for a bird of her age.

    @Wyorp Rock
    , thank you. [​IMG]I really thought she wouldn't make it through the night, and I was just trying to make her as comfortable as possible and not disturb her too much. Since she seems to be fighting now, I'm trying to help her if I can. She really is quite old--although I realized after I wrote this that I had jumped her ahead a few months in my head--she would actually be 8 years old this spring. [​IMG]
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    It sounds like you have made her a comfy place. Keep the fluids going and see if she will eat some wet feed or a little chopped egg or tuna.

    Do you notice if she has lost weight or feels like she has swollen/bloated abdomen?
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote: Most of the old hens I've had that suffered with that issue showed no previous symptoms of soft shelled eggs, wt. loss, lethargy....most were just fine, glossy, fat and hardy one day, foraging all over the land, the next day standing or sitting in a puffed up huddle, eyes closed. When forced to move they'd take a few slow steps but stop and hunker down again. No gasping for breath, just a slow, even respiration as you describe. My last older gal with this was the same age as yours when this happened and she hadn't laid for about the same amount of time as yours. When she didn't start laying when the other hens did I should have culled her but she was my oldest and sweetest, so I left it too late.
     
  10. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @Wyorp Rock and @Beekissed , thank you again! Here's the 24 hour update--my old girl has improved! This morning her breath was so fast, almost panting, and she had her mouth open--I felt terrible because it did look more like pain/distress than last night. But after half a day of TLC (syringes full of water treated with electrolytes, Corid, and Terramycin [the only antibiotic I have on hand], plus a few mls of full strength Nutridrench), she now has her eyes open, is standing and walking a bit, and just started drinking on her own! She seems thirsty, too--she was drinking quite a bit while I watched her for several minutes.

    I don't know if anything I did helped, or if she did it all on her own, but I'm surprised to be feeling just a bit optimistic about her chances now. She's not out of the woods yet obviously, but she certainly looks better than she did.

    @Wyorp Rock , she doesn't seem to be under or overweight. Her crop seems ok (mostly empty), but I did not check for bloating. I will do that next. I am also going to make sure she has some fresh treats to tempt her, including probably some soft scrambled eggs and some rehydrated mashed mealworms (ick). I'll probably also still give her some Nutridrench by syringe later.

    @Beekissed , uh oh! I haven't dealt with lash eggs yet (as far as I know), so I was only going by what I read online about symptoms. I'm sorry you've had to deal with that! From what I read (and again, not sure if I got all the correct info), basically the only treatment is antibiotics if you catch it early--otherwise it's surgery or culling.
     

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