Help! Critically sick hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by linnydane, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. linnydane

    linnydane Hatching

    Jan 12, 2015
    Hello, I have a very sick hen. Yesterday morning I found her in the coop very lethargic and hardly moving with eyes closed. I picked her up and was horrified to see how thin she was. Her keel is very sharp and you can see it protruding when you move her feathers away. I brought her inside and was pleased to find she was eating and drinking. I gave her some yogurt soaked bread as well as some electrolyte water, and kept her warm. She perked up and was walking and clucking around the bathroom by yesterday evening so I put her back in the coop. I checked on her before work this morning and she was more lethargic but still had her eyes open and seemed to be content resting in a nesting box. When I came home, I found her out in the snow, she must have gotten outside and not been able to get back in, and to make things worse, the other chickens pecked her almost to death while she laid in the yard. She is now back in a tub in the bathroom, I have treated the pecking wounds to her head as much as possible with saline solution and bactine. She is still alive but will no longer eat or drink and struggles to sit up. I can't find her crop, so it must be empty? Is there anything else you suggest doing to give her a chance to recover?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  2. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Songster

    Mar 6, 2013
    Crop tube feeding is what I would do if she is now refusing to eat. Likely too malnourished to eat on her own now. Electrolyte water is more important and should be done first. Small frequent feedings along with hydration would be what I would do. You would likely have to keep her inside for some time to get her back to health. A large dog crate is usually a good cage for sick birds. Putting a sick bird back out with the flock is never a good idea. They try to hide their illness for the very reason you found today. The other birds will kill a sick flock member. Thats why its so hard to notice a sick bird before its too far gone. They instinctively hide their illness to the very end.
    Not sure what brought about her condition or if recovery is even an option. You can search "crop tubing" or "crop tube feeding" on this site and find instructions.
    Good luck.
  3. SuperLuke

    SuperLuke Chirping

    Apr 25, 2014
    When was the last you wormed her. It may be worms.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. So sorry about your hen. Try to get her to take some electrolyte water by dipping her beak or putting a couple of drops into the side of her beak with a dropper. Pedialyte or Gatorade would also work. Offer her some scrambled egg. Don't use the Bactine since the pain reliever can be toxic to chickens. Vetericyn or plain Neosporin are good to use. She may have been kept from food and water by the others, or she could have some other illness causing her weight loss. I hope she gets stronger, and makes a good recovery. My Polish hen suffered a similar injury a year ago, and she recovered after being scalped and beat up by a young cockerel.
  5. linnydane

    linnydane Hatching

    Jan 12, 2015
    Thanks for all the info. She's doing a little better, has been eating off and on as well as drinking her electrolyte water. We bought the supplies for crop tubing but hopefully I won't have to use it.

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