Help! Rapid weight loss in Serama

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MissBokBok, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. MissBokBok

    MissBokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 2, 2015
    Hi all,
    Usually my little frizzle Serama is as fat as a pigeon. Last night I picked her up and realized she is very thin, with her keel jutting out. This has developed in the last 2-3 weeks. I put her inside and had her drink liquid baby bird food, which she did for about 30 minutes. Her crop was totally full of what seemed like big chunks of scratch. This morning, it was partially, but not totally clear of the scratch, which is understandable since she seems to have eaten whole sunflower seeds and pieces of corn. She is eating but not a lot.

    Last week I noticed she was missing feathers off her back, along with some other chickens in the flock. I moved some suspected featherpeckers to another pen and I think the pecking has stopped.

    The Serama is very thin but eating. She is inside now. I gave her some Safeguard paste last night and applied topical Ivermectin just in case. I will continue the Safeguard for 5 days.

    She is walking around and making noises, but she keeps closing her eyes in place which worries me a lot. As I've observed her the last few weeks she was always out in the run with her friends, never hanging out in the coop or a corner.

    Do you all have an idea why she and no one else would suddenly thin down so much? Her poop is very tiny, white and green. I don't think it's impacted crop. It seems like worms wouldn't strike just her. Am I missing anything?

    I'm very afraid to tube feed her since she is so tiny. I think I would need to pick up a smaller tube and stop at something like 20ccs.

    She is 7-8 months old, not laying yet, and usually somewhere in the middle of the pecking order.

    Please let me know your ideas.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Do you have any pictures of her, the poo and the feather loss?
    I think the baby bird formula was a good idea.
    Do you normally feed her layer feed, crumbles (what % protein) or is her main diet scratch and sunflower seeds? (Do you supply grit for her?)
    I would try to see if she will eat her normal poultry food either dry or wet it to make a mash.
    You could give her some formula to drink or you may want to get some vitamins/electrolytes to have in her water.
    Some common causes missing feathers can be diet, feather picking, mites/lice or from a rooster.
    Green poo can be not enough nutrients, diet, parasites or an illness.
     
  3. MissBokBok

    MissBokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, thanks for your reply. There are no roosters in the pen. I can't load pictures right now, but the missing feathers span a few inches along her spine. Her main diet is grower crumble, somewhere between 16-18% protein. I don't have supplementary grit but their pen is full of sand. I give them scratch 1-3 times a week to give them something to peck at. I don't usually give such large pieces. Her crop still has large chunks in it that feel like the corn and sunflower seeds. Her poop is now a more normal brown color, I think now that she's eating more. She's inside with a buddy, a bantam cochin. The cochin's crop no longer has any scratch in it.

    I believe the cause of the missing feathers is feather picking because my two Silkies had their heads picked clean about the same time I noticed the feather loss in my Serama. Someone has clearly developed a bad habit.

    Right now I have crumble, water, and liquid baby bird food available. She's been eating but not a crazy amount. Should I be worried about her crop not clearing? That still wouldn't explain how she's gotten so thin, though, since I only gave that scratch with large pieces yesterday.

    I'm hoping the wormer will bring back her appetite. She seems a little perkier today. I haven't noticed her nodding off or a drooping tail. Maybe she was being bullied from the food and I didn't notice? It's in two locations and the girls aren't normally very violent so it seems strange. All of my birds have lived together for months, except two new EEs I got about a month ago who are scared to death of the rest of the flock. I hope there's nothing wrong with her internally. She's such a cutie.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Worms can cause weight loss, so hopefully the wormer will take care of that.
    Keep a check on her crop. Since she has lost weight I would push the crumbles and leave off the corn and sunflower for a day or so. This will do two things, help you monitor the crop and the crumbles are more nutritional. Make sure she is drinking, liquids are important to keep everything moving.
     
  5. MissBokBok

    MissBokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: The seeds are finally out of her crop, which is good. What's bad is that her crop is totally empty and she's not interested in eating. Yesterday I made a mash of her food, and she only ate some when it was hot. This evening I heated it up and dunked her beak, and she's not interested. She's walking around and pecking at things, including food and water, but not much seems to be going down. There is absolutely nothing in her.

    She is walking around, calling out to her buddy often, and not falling asleep. The only strange thing is that she is holding her tail upright and it's not centered. It's leaning quite a bit to her right.

    Her poop is dark green with white, more abundant and watery than before which I hope means she has more going through her system.

    Does anyone have experience tube feeding a Serama or maybe a chick? She's very delicate and I'm afraid to hurt or suffocate her with the tube. I think I'll have to tube feed or else she'll dehydrate or starve very soon.

    I've been giving wormer every night so it seems like that's not the issue. I'll make some liquid baby bird food and she if she takes it. Thanks for your suggestions so far.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Here's a thread by @casportpony there are some videos that shows how to tube feed small birds. I'm sure you could pm her and ask for help. She is very good.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/805728/go-team-tube-feeding

    The green poo is not good, so you need to get food and liquids in her as soon as you can.
    I hope she improves soon.
     
  7. MissBokBok

    MissBokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, Kathy's thread mentioned tubefeeding small bantams with no problems, so I gave it a shot. It was a tight fit, but it did fit, and it seemed like she could breathe. The tube doesn't go very far in her, though! I got probably 20ccs of liquid baby bird food in her before her crop seemed really full. I hope that helps her feel better... We'll try again in the morning.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Oh good!
    Keep us posted! I hope she improves.
     
  9. MissBokBok

    MissBokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    I turned on the bathroom light this morning and my little Serama didn't get up. She was hunched down like a broody. I picked her up and held her as she had labored breathing. She cried out and a few breaths later, died. Her crop was still full from last night's dinner.

    I think something must have been wrong with her digestion to make everything process so slowly. But that may not be the root of the problem.

    Could Marek's cause symptoms like this? I noticed the other day my cochin (the Serama's buddy) has a slightly irregular shape in both eyes. It's symmetrical, a little bit of black at the bottom of her pupil, in the iris. I noticed about a month ago that one other hen had an irregularly shaped pupil, but chocked it up to genetics. Could it be Marek's or coccidia when no other chickens seem sick?

    Should I cut my Serama open and try to find out what killed her? I've checked and sending her to a lab would be pretty expensive considering she's the only one who's died. Any advice?

    I feel like a terrible animal steward. I bought 4 chickens in September and 8 more in November. 2 in January. Of the first two batches, 4 have now died despite intensive care of some for weeks or months (some were sick with depluming mite when I bought them and just failed to thrive). In fact, it seems I've only brought one pullet back from sickness, the rest didn't make it. Is this normal? I care about them so much and it's terrible to have them die like this. Is it my inexperience? Am I doing something wrong? I do everything I can to keep them safe and healthy and it's just been one disaster after another. I talk to other people who seem to just feed their chickens and never see a death...
     
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I am so sorry for your loss[​IMG]
    I don't think you are doing anything wrong.
    Each time you got new birds was there a quarantine period?
    I do highly recommend that you send her in for a necropsy. Since you have had a loss of 4 birds in a short period of time you need to know what you are dealing with.
    A noticeable change in the eyes could be a sign of Marek's I have provided more info in the links below. Since they are losing weight (wasting) and you are feeding a regular nutritionally balanced poultry feed, that could be another symptom of the disease.
    If they are showing "hunched up" signs, you could treat them for cocci, I don't think it would hurt.
    Just my opinion.

    Again, I am sorry for your loss.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/AG_Poultry_2013-01pr.pdf
    http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/search/disease/502#/disease/Marek's_Disease (photos 15-18 show eye pictures)
     

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