Emergency: Hen weak and apparently starving?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cutechick2010, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. cutechick2010

    cutechick2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    In her flock my Mom has a banty hen, about three years old, that has become ill and is declining rapidly.She is half Silver Sebright and half Porcelain D'Uccle. This little hen normally weighs close to three pounds. Now though she is very underweight, and feels emaciated and very light when you pick her up. The first symptom we saw was that instead of flying up to her favorite perch in the top of the chicken coop roof, Mom found her huddled on the floor. That was when she discovered that she had lost so much weight. The hen had seemed to be doing fine until then, eating well and going out and scratching with the other birds, etc.

    Since the weather has been cold, Mom moved her into the house when she got sick. She seemed to perk up when she got warm, but now is going down hill again. She has a good appetite and is eating well, but seems to be starving anyway. She is eating a combination of fermented whole grains and commercial layer crumbles right now, she was on layer feed and some scratch before she got sick. She is getting weaker everyday, and now is staggering and having trouble standing. She does not have any diarrhea, no respiratory symptoms, and her crop seems normal. She is still singing her "hen song" and her eyes are bright. The only thing I can come up with is mabye worms, but there haven't been any signs of those in her poops either. I know this is vague, but does any of this ring a bell for anyone? I am at a loss personally, and we would really hate to lose this sweet little hen.
     
  2. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

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    Check her for mites and lice. Also check her at night and the coop for them. It could still be worms. They don't always appear in the poop.
     
  3. cutechick2010

    cutechick2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I will check. What is the best dewormer? I have Ivermectin injectible, if that would work.
     
  4. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

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    It depends on what kind of worms you have. But yes I would try that.
     
  5. FenikT

    FenikT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As others have eluded to, the top suspects are:

    - digestive obstruction
    - worms
    - mites

    A digestive obstruction, beyond an obvious crop impaction or sour crop, is tough to diagnose simply by observation or palpating the bird. If the bird is defecating normally, you can probably rule out an obstruction.

    Worms come in all shapes, sizes, and occupy different areas (from the crop to the vent). Best bet is a broad-spectrum wormer like Zimecterin Gold (ivermectin and praziquantel). A pea-size ball is sufficient dosage. Scan some of the past worming threads for additional advice.

    Mites literally suck the life out of your bird. I recommend you check your bird midday and late at night when roosted, focusing around the vent and skin fold areas (wing/body and thigh/body junctions, waddles, and around eyes). Some mites will stay w/ the bird (like a flea does), while others are nocturnal and will bed in the coop's cracks/bedding during the day and attach themselves to the host animal at night. Dust the bird w/ a powder puff (old tied-off sock) filled w/ Seven Dust (5%) (active ingredient Carbaryl), permethrin powder, or use a [FONT=Helvetica, Arial,
    sans-serif]pyrethrum[/FONT]-based spray (such as Microcare Aerosol Pyrethrum, available through Pestmall). The spray has relatively low dermal toxicity and residual effect, so it can be sprayed on the bird and can be beneficial in treating the coop's nooks and crannies where its difficult to treat with powder. Besides physical blood loss, anemia can result. You may consider supplementing w/ B12 (pop a gel cap) and feed the bird some beef liver for iron supplementation for a few days and gauge any improvement. Obviously you have to eliminate the problem (mites) before treating periphery symptoms.

    If none of these work, we have a dilemma on our hands [​IMG]
     
  6. rbaker0345

    rbaker0345 Big Mamma Brahma

    Check the dosage on the ivermectin, I know it can be toxic to dogs, probably not to chickens, but it never hurts to check. I like to use pig swig or wazine. Petsmart might also have some bird dewormers that are more palatable than ivermectin inj.

    If its not worms, I would guess some sort of mass (i.e. tumor) is eating up all of her food for her, chickens don't get tumors often but when they do, it generally shows itself in the form of wasting away. But definitely try the worming first. If she is eating and she is pooping, but still losing weight, then the obvious conclusion is that something, somewhere between the mouth and the cloaca is getting all of those good nutrients and not allowing her body to absorb enough of them.
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    X2, but I don't just check for lice/mites/worms, I assume they have them and dust with poultry dust from TSC and de-worm with Safeguard for Goats/Cattle (fenbendazole 100mg/ml) at 50mg/ml ( .05ml/kg).

    I also keep them inside, weigh them daily and if they aren't drinking/eating, I tube feed.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    It could also be Merek's.
     
  9. rbaker0345

    rbaker0345 Big Mamma Brahma

    P.S.

    Do you have a dog/cat or even a horse/goat vet? If you do, you should call them and see if they would agree to do something called a fecal exam on some of your chickens poop.

    Now, they may be hesitant to do a chicken fecal, but tell them that it is run the same way as a doggie fecal and you would be looking for the same exact parasite eggs. What happens here is that intestinal parasites will only emerge from their host as adults during one small part of their lifecycle (if at all) and so that is not usually how you find out that your animal has worms. What is shed in the feces, though, is the eggs of the parasites. This is one way that parasites jump from one animal to another. The eggs are invisible to the naked eye, so you need to soak the poo in a solution of a chemical called fecasol and then centrifuge it(this step is optional), then take a drop of the liquid on top and look at it on a slide. When you centrifuge a mixed liquid, the heavier matter will migrate to the bottom and the lighter stuff floats to the top. Parasite eggs are very small and light and these will float to the top and you will be able to see them quite clearly under a microscope.

    If your usual vet insists on not doing a fecal on your chicken, call around to other vets, I bet you can get someone willing to run one for you without having to bring the chicken in for an office visit. It usually costs less than $20 to have a fecal exam run, so this is a really reasonable inexpensive diagnostic tool.
     

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