HELP! My chicken isn't eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickennewbie6, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. chickennewbie6

    chickennewbie6 In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2013
    I have 6 chickens that I got from a hatchery 30 weeks ago: 3 Buffs, 2 Red-Cross, and 1 Plymouth Rock. All of my chickens are laying eggs, well were. The day before yesterday I got the usual 6 eggs, but then the next day there were only four eggs in the nest. I couldn't tell which chickens were not laying the eggs because the plymouth rock and buff orpington eggs look the same, but I'm pretty sure the plymouth rock wasn't laying one of the eggs. When I open up the coop to watch the chickens everyday, they all come running out. But the day before yesterday, my little plymouth rock delayed in going out and when she did, she was moving slowly and just not being as lively as she usually is. The next day (yesterday), she didn't come running at all, she just stayed on the perch. So, I picked her up and brought her to the part of the garden where all the other hens were and she moved even slower this time. Also, when all of the chickens went to another part of the garden where my dad was keeping an eye on them, she just was staying where I put her down and, in total, moved about a foot-very slowly though. I offered her some oats (their favorite treat) she merely looked at them and looked away. I was worried that she was sick and so, me and my dad set up a space for her in a clean bathroom that nobody uses so that she would be warm and away from all of the chickens just in case she was contagious. She drinks water, but she doesn't eat and I'm really worried now, so I would appreciate it if someone helped me out here. Thank you, Nicole
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    What is her crop like (large and hard, flat, large and squishy, etc.)? If she has impacted crop, that could be making it difficult/uncomfortable for her to eat. Does she have any other symptoms (nasal discharge, wheezing/gurgling, swollen belly, etc.)? Have you checked her for a stuck egg?

    Once you have checked those things, I would check her for mites and lice, as they can cause anemia and weakness. Just look on the skin and feathers near the vent, under the wings, under the neck feathers, and at the base of the tail for moving black or red specks. If she has any, dust her with 5% Sevin dust or poultry dust; repeat the dusting 7 days later.

    Although she is a bit young to be overloaded with worms, I would find a broad-spectrum chicken wormer (Valbazen, SafeGuard, and flubendazole--Worminator are good choices) and worm her. Wazine and Ivermectin are other wormers, but they don't work as well. You can usually find wormers at a livestock supply store, and you can order the Worminator online from here:

    I'd put some poultry vitamins (if you can get them--I use sav-a-chic) in her water, along with some probiotics (I use some called Probios). Those will help with the stress, and give her nutrients. But what she really needs to do is eat; otherwise she'll get thinner and thinner. Try feeding her whatever she likes, and see if she'll eat it. You may have to consider tube feeding or force feeding.
  3. chickennewbie6

    chickennewbie6 In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2013
    okay thank you, and how do I check for a stuck egg and how do i check her crop?
  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    If she's not eating you will have to tube feed her. In a pinch you can use clean fish air hose line as the actual tube. You will want to get a stringe that you will attach to the tube for the food to flow into the crop. The very Best food I've found for tube feeding is called exact for baby birds by kaytee. I'll attach a picture of the flows perfectly in a tube and is nutritionally sound with omegas and probotic in the food. If you don't tube her she will get weaker and possibly die from the lack of fluid and food. I understand tubing is very scarey at first but remember it's for the sake of the bird
    I've found slightly oiling the tube with food oil helps with insertion of the tube. Here is a picture of a great choice of food for tube feeding. Really hope this helps
    best [​IMG]
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    To check for a stuck egg, feel her abdomen. If its hard, she may have a stuck egg. You can also gently insert a lubricated finger into her vent, and see if you feel anything like an egg. To check her crop, just feel it. Its likely that it will be difficult to find (its near the neck/on top of the breast). Note whether it is hard or squishy. If you can't feel it at all, that means that she isn't eating much.
  6. chickennewbie6

    chickennewbie6 In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2013
    I checked her abdomen and it wasn't hard so I don't think she has a stuck egg, also I think I found her crop and it was squishy.
  7. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chirping

    Feb 16, 2013
    Sarasota, FL
    x2 for tube feeding!!!

    realsis and bantamlover are right, if she stops eating and loses a certain percentage of her body weight, even if whatever is ailing her is taken care of, she still wont eat on her own. i have a rir that survived a raccoon attack on sep 7th, bad neck and leg wound. I was able to stave off infection but she eventually stopped eating altogether from losing so much weight. hand feeding her wasn't getting enough calories into her so i finally sucked it up and got advice on tube feeding. saved her life. sounds drastic or cruel but if she continues to lose weight you will surely lose her. obviously the cause for the lack of appetite needs to be addressed first, but if with any certainty you think the issue is resolved and she is still not eating then definitely take tubing into consideration.

    i am still quite a newbie but from reading a lot on this forum and from what experience i do have, i would isolate the bird so you can keep an eye on her. check out her poop, there is a 'poop chart' of sorts with images of normal and abnormal looking droppings - parasites cause a change in droppings, as does coccidiosis. feeling her crop is easy, just gently massage what i'd call her boob (when they eat a lot right before roosting, it is huge!) if she's not eating it may be either completely empty or just very small. A hard or tough mass would indicate impacted crop; a large very soft crop, often with a sour smell coming from her mouth or nostrils, could or would indicate a sour crop. each have different remedies.

    as for reproductive diagnostic, cant give you any advice on that, sorry!

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