HELP! Hen brutally attacked by flockmates...because she's ill...or ill because she's being attacked

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DelcoChix, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
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    I'm sure I'm not the first to experience this, but this is a first for me...Would appreciate any advice or sharing of similar stories from fellow chicken addicts.
    Rhoda is one of the original 12 hens we started with almost seven years ago, when my dd and I took the leap into fowl territory...a Rhode Island Red hen raised as a day old chick who possesses a great personality. Her egg laying days have greatly diminished the last couple of years but now I think I'm losing her altogether. Right before Christmas I noticed she wasn't roosting with her 21 coopmates, instead staying under the poopboard/perches.
    Bottom line, realizing she wasn't acting her usual self I picked her up and was shocked at her condition (ashamed and embarrassed that I didn't realize sooner)--she appeared healthy with glossy feathers but had wasted away, literally skin and bones...and fluffy feathers hiding it all. Her keel is prominent and hips..everything...all stick out, not visibly, just by feeling her. Reminds me of a carcass after the meat has been removed. She also had some minor poop around her vent and I saw a few bugs trying to escape detection when I was inspecting her feathers/skin.
    So, Christmas Eve I set her up in a large dog kennel in the mudroom/house...and that's where she's been since.

    So far here's what I've done...she's been bathed (enjoyed it too!), poultry dusted for bugs, usual feed (Layena crumbles free choice), water with acv, and daily treats (cooked egg/crushed eggshell, scratch/B.O.S.S, sardines in tomato sauce for protein, bread, lettuce).
    She loves the treats and is eating just fine, talks to me in her usual chirps, and is drinking fine, along with bowels appearing to be working well, although runnier than I think they should be.
    Here's the worst part of all of it (in my opinion)...temps reached high 40's Friday so I took Rhoda out first, scattered their treats mix of BOSS and scratch, then let the rest free from their run. They rushed for the scratch but with 2 minutes one EE literally singled Rhoda out, jumped her and viciously attacked her...I explained to Onxy that wasn't nice (ok..I threw the feed scoop at her to separate them) and resumed my guardianship over Rhoda...then the other EE did the exact same thing....and after I broke that up a third BCM hen did the exact same thing, this time sending Rhoda in hiding under the coop. All three of these girls are older, two are the originals...and my roo did nothing. Poor Rhoda was terrified...I am stumped and sad by their actions, whatever instinct possessed them. There was no rational reaon for this, they had a huge area to roam in, scratch scattered all over yet they singled her out from 21 others.
    Summary:
    Aged hen 7 years-- May 2014
    Condition: Major weight loss
    Some bugs/mites (bathed, then dusted with poultry dust, including shavings inkennel)
    Runny feces (bathed to cleanup...more feces around vent again)
    Appetite: seems to be fine for both feed and treats and water
    Energy--Lethargic compared to usual, weak
    Eggs--hasn't laid any for quite awhile that I'm aware of
    Eyes-nostrils--bright eyes, no drainage or other rattley breathing sounds.
    Specifically picked out for attacks by rest of flock, namely her peers who have been around a long time together (none of the 11 newest flock members from spring 2013 hatch have been involved).


    So...here's my question/s...

    1) Any ideas on how to put some weight on her? I have not dewormed her--I have Wazine but haven't used it--afraid to stress her body any more than it already is and haven't seen visible signs of worms.

    2) Ideas on what could be wrong? What have I missed? What can I do, if anything? Is it possible this is old age? Or a disease?
    Obviously this has been going on awhile--she didn't lose the weight overnight, I just don't pick all of the girls up on a regular basis, rely on visual condition for the most part...

    3) Is it possible that she is sick/dying and they are aware of it, which is why they are singling her out for attacks? Trying to remove the weak?

    She appears to be content where she is (she even hops right into the kennel when I bring her back in after spending some time in an outdoor kennel I have where she can stay out but safe from the gangsters). I'm sorry to even be thinking this but if she doesn't begin to improve I may have to summon up the courage to cull her--she cannot live in my mudroom and can't live a solitary life in an outdoor kennel in a harsh Ohio winter.
    HELP!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I have one just like this and she is only 2 1/2. Mine I finally realized is going through a horrible molt, but hasn't lost a lot of feathers. She is a skeleton under all her feathers, and has been attacked like yours. I think you are doing the right things, keeping her safe, feeding eggs, and I would give her vitamins electrolytes, and some probiotics in her water. She needs a higher protein food right now, maybe a flock raiser or gamebird feed. Dry cat food can be a good treat. It sounds like she has been bullied and you may just have to keep her separate if they don't accept her. Of course, because of her age, she might be going downhill.
     
  3. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Central Ohio
    Thanks for the response--glad to hear from someone! Gotta love a Buckeye:)

    Funny you'd mention the molting possibility--Not sure if that's it because she and most of the others molted earlier this fall but I don't think she ever really recovered. I keep an eye on my girls (and boy) but don't do a complete physical on them unless I notice something unusual. Great idea about the cat food--I went ahead and gave her a handful which she was working on a while ago.

    I'll look into getting some flock raiser, plan on raising some chicks in the spring so will use it eventually. Any suggestions about what kind of probiotics and vitamins? Yogurt maybe? I do buy them plain Greek yogurt for a treat maybe once or twice a month--they all love it but I know dairy isn't considered all that good for birds...

    Guess I'll see how she does over the next couple of days, crossing my fingers--can't (and don't really want) a house chicken and no real way to keep a third pen for one old bird in the middle of the winter, but I'd love to get her back into shape so she could go back with her 'people.'
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    southern Ohio
    Poultry Nutradrench seems to be liked by a lot of people, and Avian Superpak is another vitamin and mineral supplement that I see many recommend. PROBIOS dispersible powder can be used in the water. All of those are easy to find online. My girl is developing a sour crop which I haven't had before, so she isn't eating as well. Good luck withyour girl.
     

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