Head Droops, Little Neck Control, Eyes Closed

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MusicGarden, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. MusicGarden

    MusicGarden New Egg

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    Feb 15, 2012
    Aloha from Maui!

    Only had our 14 hens for 7 months so definitely a newbie. I've been grateful to read so much helpful advice on this site and now find I'm in an urgent situation requiring my first post.
    Yesterday, I went to the coop to offer morning food and one of our two 8-month-old brown leghorns was still on the roost, head drooped below roost level, must hanging really, wings spread out from body somewhat. She obviously heard my voice speak her name, as she shook her body a bit, but she couldn't raise her head, nor seemingly do much. I gently scooped her off the roost and brought her to our home.
    The day before, she'd been perfectly fine, eating & drinking normally. I'd taken yogurt to them for a treat, and while I was scooping some out she put her head under a dollop and got some on her very sizable, floppy comb, which she couldn't completely shake off. I didn't want others pecking the yogurt off her so I picked her up and gently washed the yogurt off the comb as best I could. That's the only unusual thing that I am aware of that happened. She seemed fine after, still running around and feeding, etc. I thought nothing more and obviously, she was fine enough to get up into the roost for the night.

    Since I found her drooped, her eyes are closed nearly all the time, tho' this morning she had one half open for a bit. She recognizes voices and *tries* to respond but cannot lift her neck, except to flop it into a new direction, mostly curled under. Occasionally she flops her whole body into a new position in the box she's in. She "talked" back to us with light little chirps yesterday, but nothing so far today. We've gotten a few drops of water into her beak, but she doesn't really open it for anything, but will swallow what gets in. Poo is runny at this point. We're keeping her out of drafts, in an aerated box, with a cover *around* her but not on her, since the weather is generally in the 70s and low 80s.

    She was the last of her age group to finally start laying about 4-6 weeks ago and has been laying nearly daily. Believe she'd laid as recently as day before I found her drooped.
    Considering how poorly she looked/looks, we've been surprised that she's made it thru the last 2 nights. No real change for better or worse in condition.

    No external injuries that we can see.

    All other birds are fine, including her sister.
    Have searched forums for similar situations and while some seem similar, the complete droop and lack of open eyes seems to be the most significant difference.
    Is there the possibility of recovery from this unknown malady?
    Thank you in advance for any assistance!
     
  2. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    One of mine started behaving somewhat similarly yesterday, I realized that she's gone broody.
    I take her out and stand her by the water, she sinks to the ground, feathers puffy, butt in the air, but after a couple minutes starts drinking eagerly, then eats a bunch of food, and heads back to the nest. She also is quiet most of the time (she had been growling for a few weeks) but occasionally lets out weird and wild sounds.

    No idea if that is what is happening with yours, but it's one possibility to consider.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Possibly 3 issues or a combinaltion: Eggbound, lice/mites, worms.
     
  4. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

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    MusicGarden, listen to dawg, not to me, he knows his stuff and I just guess at it. [​IMG]
     
  5. MusicGarden

    MusicGarden New Egg

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    Feb 15, 2012
    Thank you both for "listening" and responding. I will explore dawg's ideas and hope for the best.... and add the outcomes as well, for future readers. Mahalo!
     
  6. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Also a possibility is botulism. Often chickens with it will all of a sudden look like their head is a brick, can't pick it up, can stand but not lift the head high, poor aim etc...eventually fall over and can't get up.. Molasses or Epsom salt flush is helpful as well as vitamins in the water.... Keep them drinking and eating something... I give baby parrot hand feeding formula, as it is easy to give by syringe and is full of good stuff.
     
  7. MusicGarden

    MusicGarden New Egg

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    Feb 15, 2012
    Thank you for this.... seems the most possible in this situation. In your experience, what contributes to a hen getting botulism?
     
  8. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    They typically ingest something....... Moldy feed, something decomposing, who knows with chickens...... It normally takes a few days to get over with supportive care and you would gradually see more control over the head and neck.
     
  9. kamuelamom

    kamuelamom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2011
    Hi Musicgarden, I'm on the Big Island and just wanted to say hope your chicken feels better soon. I am sort of a newbie too, just one year at it so I am learning all I can. Take care.
     
  10. MusicGarden

    MusicGarden New Egg

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    Feb 15, 2012
    Because I'm a newbie with a very sensitive nature and she was looking so poorly, I was sure there was no way to save her. However, your responses have been most helpful. We started her on the "molasses flush" I found recommended elsewhere on the site and are doing four hours of that this morning. We did give her a little last night before bed, as well. She doesn't like it, but lo and behold, with just the little bit last night and ahead of the serious four hours this morning, she's already holding her head up better.... still a bit floppy; she had an eye open again today for awhile, which she only did briefly once yesterday. And she has her wings drawn in more tightly and symmetrically than she's done for two days. She's still not standing, but just that her head is upright and not curled under, she's taking the molasses/water concoction, opening her eyes, feels more hopeful.

    We did check for any "egg bound" symptoms and found none, BTW.
    In your experience, do you think we should do anything for our other hens, who are all apparently just fine, none showing any bizarre symptoms whatsoever, 3 days since we first noticed Brownie?
    Again, much gratitude for your assistance.
     

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