HELP ! Extremely underweight small flock also with other issues

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Naturzen719, May 28, 2017.

  1. Naturzen719

    Naturzen719 Just Hatched

    2
    0
    10
    Apr 25, 2016
    Hello all !!

    BACKROUND
    My mom and I are new to the world of chickens and have had my small flock for only about a year. We raised 7 little chicks from the local feed store, and all but one made it just fine to adulthood, except for a poopy bottom or two. We only lost one at about three months of age caused by a laceration in her throat. We did everything we could, but unfortunately she didn't make it.

    Everything was going pretty well after that, aside from just minor things, like one ameracauna having some slight gleet problems (seemed worse in the morning and better later in the day). our other seeming a bit sniffly, and their combs were not quite as bright as they could be.

    (WARNING; description of chicken death>) And then in February of this year, we had a random death, she was one of the healthiest of the four, and one morning we found her laying in the coop instead of out free ranging. She wasn't in the box part, and she had already laid her egg that day, so we knew thats not what she was doing. After about an hour she was having trouble keeping her eyes open, an hour after that she couldn't really keep her head up, and then about an hour or two after that, as we were on our way to the vet with her, she put her head back like she was going to try to cough or sneeze, but instead seized and thrashed violently, after about 45 seconds she was gone.

    We took her anyway to see if we could get a cause of death, and the vet said he didn't see any signs of anything that could have been wrong, and we couldn't afford an autopsy. The only evidence I have, is that her crop seemed extremely full and hard, especially for not being the end of the day. We had recently started giving them more of a scratch food then a pellet type food. Impacted crop maybe? I have also read about random death syndrome in chickens.
    After her death, for weeks after the rest of the small flock of three would take turns calling out to her, pretty much all day. And unfortunately now, our wyandotte, who pecked her way to 2nd in command, picks on the american, Penelope, who used to be Beta. I can tell Penelope is constantly stressed from her bullying and I'm looking to rehome the diva hen.

    NOW
    Since the death of our fourth chicken, our flock of three has not been doing too well.
    Their respiratory was getting pretty bad, altho it has gotten better since I have been putting fresh herbs in the coop and putting garlic and apple cider vinegar in their water.
    Penelope, the one with constant slight vent fleet has gotten worse, luckily not super bad, (I have seen some pretty bad pictures on the web)but also our gold-laced wyandotte is having the same but slightly different issue. Its not quite like Penelope has, its more just droppings getting very stuck and hard under the vent, and she used to be VERY fluffy.

    But my biggest concern is after checking the bone under their crops, I noticed they are very underweight, and occasionally I see them sitting to rest somewhere. I used to never see this, the only time they wouldn't be walking around and\or pecking would be if they were dirt bathing or sun bathing, but this is neither. I only noticed this a couple days ago, and have been trying to figure out whats going on. One of them is scary skinny, just skin and bones and feathers. I'm very scared she might leave us soon.
    I have been looking all over the internet for answers. At first I thought it might be mites. But I have been checking both the chickens and the coop, day and night, and I have found nothing moving or scurrying (I have pretty good eyesight, as I can spot spider mites on plants, and and I used a flashlight at night) . I only found small, round/oval white things in the feathers on their backends, which I thought might be worm eggs? So I thought it might be worms, maybe grape worms? As they free range most of the day, just about everyday, and they have not been wormed. The symptoms seemed to fit.

    Symptoms
    extremely skinny/thin
    respiratory issues
    glee and dirty bottoms
    small round, oval white balls in feathers by vent
    diarrhea, wet stools
    pale comb
    less energy

    But today I took in some dropping to the animals hospital for a fecal diagnostic, unfortunately when the vet called with the results, he hadn't found anything. He only said they might have some coccidiosis but even if so it wasn't evident in the droppings.

    Other then those symptoms they seem to eat and forage normally. They all lay very well. One lays slightly less then the others, only maybe one less a week then the other two, but hers are much bigger. And the oldest, who is only about a month older then the other two, lays quite small eggs, only slightly bigger then when she first started laying. but she is also the thinest, and has always been on the thin, 'lean' side.

    Please let me know if you have any advice, or have any ideas on what you think is going on.

    Thank you !
    A very worried hen mother


    Can add pictures if it will help !
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    5,000
    1,197
    366
    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    In my opinion your chickens are Wormy. They need to be wormed quick. In case they have tape worms too Wazine will not kill a tape worm so I worm mine with SafeGuard Goat wormer(prescribed by my Vet) at a rate of 2 1/2ml per quart mixed good in their drinking water--no other water---no free-ranging for 3 days---mix a fresh mix every morning but don't waste your medicine by mixing way more than needed per day----(example)if I feel mine will drink only a quart---That's all I mix---if they need a little more late that evening I will mix a pint with 1 1/4 ml. (I usually have to mix several gallons per day when I worm my bigger flocks.) You will probably be told you are not suppose to mix it with water, but I do, My Vet told me how to mix, I had over 1000 chickens when I had a necropsy done and it works GREAT mixed in the water. If you rather some of the more Medicine educate people on here can give you the dosage to give them oral being you only have a few. Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  3. MamaChick74

    MamaChick74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    63
    96
    May 27, 2017
    New Hampshire USA
    I am going through the same thing right

    Thank you for posting this information! I am thinking my girl has worms. I haven't seen any in her poop but she is very skinny even though she is eating well, has diarrhea and isn't laying any eggs :(
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

    29,846
    4,080
    521
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    It sounds like they have lice under their vents, and you should be able to see the tiny tan bugs when you part the feathers where the white clumps are seen. Permethrin spray or garden dust, applied at least twice 10 days to kill the lice and then their eggs. The coop will also need spraying and fresh bedding after the old beeding is removed. Worming is a good start. But also look at your brand of and type of feed. My chickens will eat pellets or crumbles, but whenever I have bought some less expensive powdery feeds on occasion, they don't eat as well. I would also some probiotics or plain yogurt twice a week if their feed does not have them on the label. Some poultry vitamins in their water for a week or two might get them eating and more energized. Chopped egg is a good treat, but limit any scratch grains, since those have very little protein. Crops can become impacted from eating grass or other things, so check crops in the early morning when they should be mostly empty if one is looking poorly.
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  5. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    5,000
    1,197
    366
    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    If your chickens have not been wormed in a long time, My Vet said it would not "hurt" them to be wormed even if they do not have worms(sure do not over do or think MORE wormer is Good)---sure with most wormers you have to discard the eggs for a couple weeks---that's one reason why I have several pens---so I can worm part of them now and the others in a couple weeks---so I am not out of eggs. Just for Info, when I worm I do not throw the eggs away, I always Incubate/hatch them. Never been a problem. As I stated above on the wormer I use----I had a necropsy done and my boney chickens were eat up with tape worms as well as other worms. I try to check my flock often---if they are loosing weight but act normal----I worm them(maybe once or twice a year---only if their condition leads me to feel they are wormy).

    If you feel yours are wormy and only have a few chickens you can do the wormer oral. I have a lot of chickens most of the time so I add this wormer in their only water.
     
  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    9,793
    3,005
    386
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I agree with @PD-Riverman it would be a good idea to worm them.

    About your food - how much scratch are you giving daily - is your pellet food layer feed?
    Worms can cause some of the weight loss you are seeing, but you need to evaluate your feeding as well. Most layer feeds are fairly low in protein (around 16%). Scratch is usually very low in protein (around 4-8%) and nutrients depending on what it consists of - this lowers the nutritional intake, so try limiting the scratch to no more than 5% of their daily intake. Some higher protein treats like hard boiled egg, tuna, mackerel or meat may be helpful as well.

    You mention you are seeing white oval balls in the feathers - sounds like lice eggs. Treat them with a permethrin based poultry dust or spray - clean out the nesting boxes and coop and treat them as well. General instructions is usually to repeat clean out and treatment of birds/coop/bedding again in 7days.

    I won't dispute/debate @PD-Riverman's dosage/ method of worming - it seems to work well for them. I will just give you the dosages of de-worming if you choose to treat each chicken individually. Both Valbazen and Fenbendozole will treat most worms:
    Valbazen 1/2 ml orally and then repeated in 10 days for each chicken or Fenbendazole (Safeguard, Panacur) at 1/4 ml per pound for 5 days in a row.

    Mite/Lice i.d and info:
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html

    Treatments:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1151513/pesticides-approved-for-poultry

    Vent Gleet Info:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/vent-gleet-aka-nasty-chicken-butt
    https://www.tillysnest.com/2012/12/vent-gleet-prevention-and-treatment-html/
    http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2013/09/vent-gleet-symptoms-causes-and-natural.html
     
    PD-Riverman likes this.
  7. GodofPecking

    GodofPecking Chillin' With My Peeps

    444
    36
    86
    Dec 16, 2015
    I think it may be correct about internal parasites. I don't give mine chemicals or anything that I have no idea what is in it. After all, some bottle full of chemicals is not what I want in my food. I do eat the chickens as well as the eggs when there are too many roosters.

    As far as I know, coconut oil and coconut milk will deworm and clear parasites in chickens and humans as well. It is a popular food/drink, so it has to be safe to use and easy to find. Apple cider is popular also, but I don't know if it really works. Bought medication often doesn't though.

    For mites I would coat the area in vegetable oil to kill them.

    Wrap the chook in a towel to keep it quiet and use scissors to cut the feathers under her vent. I've done this before and it is a big help in keeping some of them clean.

    A great habit is to cut the feathers under the tail when a chook gets poop on her feathers, because it can OFTEN LEAD TO FLYSTRIKE if left unchecked. Flies lay eggs on the poopy feathers, maggots then eat a hole into the hen. Cut feathers around any wound, dab honey onto wounds to disinfect them, but consider pouring drinking water over the would after a minute or two in case the honey stung at all. Honey is perfect for human wounds as well, dab it on. Just normal honey is fine, rather than the expensive medicinal honey, which is the same as regular honey with added hype.
     
  8. GodofPecking

    GodofPecking Chillin' With My Peeps

    444
    36
    86
    Dec 16, 2015
    Also, always give them your an your neighbors food scraps, chickens can no more eat just pellets than humans can, it drives you insane and unhealthy. Add fresh roadkill to their diet if you can mince it especially. The best thing that ever happens to a chicken is to get some slightly off mince out of the kitchen. They gobble it down and stay full for ages. Its the best thing for a change for them.
     
  9. MamaChick74

    MamaChick74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    63
    96
    May 27, 2017
    New Hampshire USA
    My girls have never been wormed..I just give them diatomaceous earth in their feed and they get pumpkin and seeds in the fall. So it may be worth worming them. I am having an issue with one and she has been separated in a dog crate since Monday. All the others are laying fine and are a good weight. So honestly I am not quite sure what is going on. Her crop seemed watery yesterday but I couldn't tell if it had a sour smell so...not sure if she has sour crop as well. I am going to try and worm her and see how she does. Then if all goes well worm them all in the fall. Thank you for your reply :)
     
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    9,793
    3,005
    386
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    @MamaChick74

    Crop issues can be a symptoms of worm or cocci overload and sometimes reproduction disorders as well. Here's more info on crop issues - I recommend that you read the entire article, excellent descriptions and treatment options:

    http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/impacted-slow-and-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments
     
    MamaChick74 likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by