Gradual illness

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bobbie girl, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. bobbie girl

    bobbie girl Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi! My six year old hen, Violet, has been sick for a while now, but it has been very gradual. About two months ago she started pulling her head in and being a bit less active. I thought she was having difficulty breathing because her tail bobbed up and down when she was roosting, but after treating her for respiratory illnesses, she was still sick. It's recently got worse. Her crop feels very empty, so I don't think that she's eating, and she seems to have trouble keeping her balance. She is constantly pulling her head in or tucking her tail down. What could I do to help her?
    Thank you so much for any advice!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Egg yolk peritonitis and internal laying can be common in older hens, or her body could be shutting down. Has she been wormed recently? Valbazen 1/2 ml orally, then repeated in 10 days, will get all chicken worms. Try tempting her to eat with some scrambled eggs, tuna, or ground meat mixed with chicken feed. A small amount of buttermilk with raw egg and bread crumbs is also good. Here is some info on egg peritonitis:
    http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/egg-laying-issues/index.aspx
    https://www.google.com/webhp?source...=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=internal laying chickens
     
  3. bobbie girl

    bobbie girl Out Of The Brooder

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    She doesn't lay eggs anymore. Would that make it impossible for her to get peritonitis or can she still get it? Also, is it typical of a hen with worms to show symptoms gradually?
    Thanks!
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Hens with eggyolk peritonitis or internal laying don't usually lay, or they lay sporadically. It is a common illness in good layers. Worms can block off the intestines or cause some respiratory symptoms. I'm not a vet, but just an amateur, so I can't tell you all of the reasons she may be sick. If you have new chickens, they can always bring in a new strain of coccidiosis, anotrher common chicken disease. Hopefully, you canhelp her, but if she passes away, it might be good to do a necropsy to look for worms in the intestines, or egg peritonitis. Does her abdomen feel full and spongy like she could have fluid inside? Ascites or fluid in the abdomen from heart or liver failure may cause difficulty breathing.
     
  5. bobbie girl

    bobbie girl Out Of The Brooder

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    I ordered Valbazen so I'll try that. But I'm beginning to think it's something else, as the major problem seems to be her legs and keeping her balance. Her feet are curled up and she can't even walk. There's no visible injury though, so I don't think its broken.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Try some vitamins in her water, just in case there is a vitamin deficiency from a problem with the feed--make sure it has riboflavin and vitamin E in them. Even at 6 years old she could have been exposed to Mareks disease somehow. Poisoning from lead shot or paint chips in the ground could also cause neurological signs. I'm sorry that she is getting worse. Here are some links to read that might be helpful:
    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou..._poultry/vitamin_deficiencies_in_poultry.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
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  7. bobbie girl

    bobbie girl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! Those are really good links. I'll try treating her for the diseases that look like Mareks.
     
  8. bobbie girl

    bobbie girl Out Of The Brooder

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    I noticed this morning that when she drinks she makes this weird noise. She also has diarrhea. Does this mean anything?
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Try giving her a probiotic twice a week to help with diarrhea. Also worming as posted in link #2 may help. I would cut out any treats except for some egg or a small amount of tuna or meat, and give her mostly chicken feed. Did you start vitamins? Some brands of vitamins also contain a probiotic.
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi. Sorry to hear your hen is ill. First off I would bring her inside or put her on a warm pad or under a heat lamp if you are in the northern hemisphere. If she is not eating, then she has nothing to keep her warm and once she gets chilled, she won't want to eat anyway, so providing her with some warmth should give her an instant boost. Not saying that her being cold is the main problem but it is a potentially lethal symptom of her not eating particularly if you are in winter.

    Have you tried tempting her to eat with some scrambled egg and/or yoghurt? If she is drinking, try giving her some warm water with electrolytes/vitamins. Getting nourishment into her is really important.

    I'm having problems with Marek's at the moment and have been reading up on it recently. From what I have read, it is unusual for an older bird to suffer from it but not impossible. It's occurring entirely in my young juvenile birds.

    Worms are definitely a strong possibility if she is wasting away and hunched, but I would want to get her back to eating properly again before I started dozing her with wormer as I don't think throwing chemicals into an empty digestive system is a good idea, but that's just my opinion.

    The diarrhoea is probably as a result of not enough food going through her system. Not sure what the weird noise could be when she is drinking. What does it sound like?

    Good luck with her. I have 2 in sick bay at the moment and a third that probably should be in there too, but it is cramped with 2, so she is having to make do with special feed and attention but stay in the hen house. If she starts getting bullied, then I will have to squeeze her in somewhere but at the moment she is holding her own. I know how worrying it is when you have hens that are not well and you don't know what to do for the best.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for your girl.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     

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