Help! sick hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Parrotchick, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Background: I got six little yellow straight run peeps at TSC at the end of April. This is my first ever experience with chickens, though I've had parrots for years (I have since gotten other breeds of chickens-very different experiences with them). I did not know what breed they were but now I suspect they are Cornish X. They grew incredibly fast. Their feathers never seemed to fully come in. Their bellies were bald and their butts were messy, even though I kept their areas clean and wiped their butts. The 2 roos died around 2-3 months of age: when I spotted maggots on the first one's butt (after getting a warning to look out for it just the day before from a neighbor) I immediately took him to the vet. The vet thought (without testing) it was coccidiosis, too far gone and Roo 1 had to be euthanized. I put all my other chickens on medicated feed for several weeks, and also gave sulmet for about 10 days. Several weeks later Roo 2 got maggots and was euthanized. By then I figured it wasn't cocci as my impression of that disease was that it was much more fast moving and the symptoms were different.

    So the four remaining hens have seemed healthy enough since then, if horribly obese and messy feathered. I call them the "Plops" as they always like to plop down somewhere and eat. It was comical to watch them run. I feed them layer crumbles and a bit of scratch in the morning, plus grapes as treats and other scraps. They have been allowed to free range during the day, but I finished my giant predator proof pen a few weeks ago, so they haven't gotten out as much. They have been laying yummy eggs that are really pointy shaped. My roos are so enamored of them I had to get Hensavers. I even had to separate my Muscovy duck from them. But every evening I have to carry them into the coop. Two of them would go in and out to lay, but the other two took forever to come down the ramp and would never go up by themselves. All four would stay together outside the coop until I carried them in. None of them roost, not even on the roost I made inches off the ground. So they sleep on the bottom of the coop and I have to make sure they're not getting pooped on by others.

    I showed a judge at a poultry show the pictures of the hen with the Hensaver. She said they were just called "capons", no particular breed (I thought capons were neutered roos) and that's just how they look. I know from a friend who had taken a chicken to a sanctuary that meat birds were bred to be fast growing, huge and top heavy with breast meat, and die young because of it. The judge told me the life expectancy was 2 or 3 years.

    Yesterday morning when I let everyone out of the coop, Sweet Pea was slower than usual coming out. She's always the last to go get food, though nobody ever bullies her. She's just laid back. She's had a bit of a limp for awhile, but it didn't seem to seriously affect her quality of life. Last night when I went to put the Plops back in, I had to crawl under a truck cap and pull her out, after asking the head roo Pantaloons, a silkie, to kindly dismount her. She was so lethargic, and her comb was deep red, not quite purple, I thought because she was the weakest one that she was more sensitive to the cold (about 30 degree high yesterday). I kept her inside my house since, gave her a warm bath and cleaned her up. I put vaseline on her comb and wattles, in case of frostbite. She is not eating or drinking. She moved a bit during the night, maybe a foot or two, but that's it. She hasn't budged all morning.

    The other Plops are fine; indeed two of them are quite assertive when there's food around. One is a little weaker; I'll keep an eye on her. But what should I do about Sweet Pea? Is she at the end of the line? I don't her any respiratory distress (like the rattling breathing her brothers had) but her tail is pointed down and kind of bobbing when she breathes.

    I don't want her to suffer. Does Pantaloons the head roo know something I don't? Pantaloons went into the coop without her and he ALWAYS waits until his girls are in place.I do have a veterinary friend who can humanely euthanize her, but the friend is not so well versed in chickens as in wildlife.

    Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give the full picture. Any advice is greatly appreciated! My birds are all my beloved pets. I have not even eaten a bird in ten years after hearing how they were factory raised. (Free range is available to me now but I just can't imagine eating my friends)

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  2. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    I would bet that the girl's heart has given out or in the process of shutting down.

    Those are Cornish X. I am afraid the longest I have ever heard of one living was a year and that one was on a really restricted diet. 3-9 months would their life span on a non restricted diet.

    These birds are strictly for meat purposes and not long term pets. Sorry.

    About the Roosters: Flys were attracted to the poop on their rears and laid eggs. The maggots that formed came into contact with the skin of the bird. This would cause infection under the poop. The infection would kill the tissue and the maggot move in a little more. The cycle keeps going till the infection and maggots has moved into the abdomen of the bird. At that point there is no hope.

    Matt
     
  3. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 13, 2009
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    I just weighed Sweet Pea- 14 pounds! I would never have supported the industry if I had known! But all I can do now is make it easier for her and the other Plops.

    Is she likely suffering now? Can she go gentle into that good night or do I need to call my friend with the needle? Sad Christmas.
     
  4. OhMyItsAndyy

    OhMyItsAndyy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
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    I can't say whether she is in pain or not but just keep her warm and let her have her food and water near her. Make her comfortable.
    *huggles*
    I'm sorry about you loosing your pet x
     
  5. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    Sweet Pea is now in my living room, sleeping near the Christmas tree. She is in a cat bed with a heating pad set on low with a towel on top. I have tried to give her Pedia-lyte but I have to put it in her beak with a dropper. I'm worried about aspirating her so I'm taking it slowly. She hasn't touched any food all day so I'm going to make her a scrambled egg now. Every so often she stand up and grunts. I don't expect her condition to do a major turnaround, but hopefully she is feeling warm and loved.

    Thanks for your help and kind words. I wasn't meaning to rag on chicken eaters or humane producers of poultry. I just wish people were more aware of where there food comes from, especially when there is so much waste. I know that BYC folks are way more aware than most.

    Happy Holidays!
     
  6. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    She is as comfortable as you can make her. You've done well, my friend. Cornish X are considered meat birds and they just don't live past a year...and that's very old for that breed. Sorry this has to happen at all...much less on Christmas...but you can take comfort in knowing that she has live a well-loved life with you and will go quietly into the goodnight knowing that you have cared for her well. Have a blessed Christmas and give her a kiss for me....
     
  7. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    Thanks so much for your kind and soothing words. Sweet Pea shuffled off this mortal coil last night of an apparent heart attack. She was by my feet, with her face by the eggs she wouldn't eat. I figured it was a heart attack because it looked like it does in the movies (sans the impressive expulsion of body fluids), prettty rough but fairly quick-though not quick enough as far as I'm concerned. It was difficult to see but I'm glad I was there for her. At least she had her human flock with her and I did indeed pass along kisses to her.

    I have three more Cornish X's. Two are as spunky and enourmous as ever; one is a little slow. It's going to be a rough winter. Now that I know what I'm looking at, I may go the humane needle route for my dear girls as their times come.

    All my birdies get extra lovin' today and my sheep reminded me that they get "Christmas grain" today ie an extra feeding.
     
  8. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    Morganton, NC
    You made her life alot better then it would have ever been if she went to a factory house.

    For the love you gave her may you be blessed ten fold.

    Matt
     

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