Help!! Sick hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by FlickofFire, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. FlickofFire

    FlickofFire Hatching

    Aug 20, 2008
    Hi all,

    This hen is about 2 1/2 years old. she has been a bit 'off' since this spring when her sister was killed by a fox. she started laying thin shelled or no shell eggs. I started her on calcium suppliment. She stopped laying eggs all together and hasn't laid one in several months now. I wormed her a few months ago just to see if it would help.

    I've been out of town for a week and she looked fine when I returned on Monday, but I don't pick them up or handle them alot unless something doesn't look right. Today, when I got home, I noticed she was by the coop opening, wings drooped until the tips touched the ground, and she let me pick her up with no fuss, which she NEVER does. I didn't even have to catch her as she offered no resistance. She is very thin with a prominent breastbone. I've never seen her so thin. she was panting, but all the others are too as it is so hot here today. Some of them even have thier wings out to cool, but not drooping down like hers.

    I observed her a bit and she walked off and had a white, runny/watery poop. She never opened her eyes totally, and her comb is not real red, but not white, just pale. Her crop is small and I can feel the cracked corn and stuff in there. Its not mushy at all, not hard, but you can feel the corn pieces in there. I don't think she is egg bound either, but i've never seen this before so don't really know what I'm looking for. I don't think her abdomen is swollen, and she feels soft around the vent. She has dried whitish poop all over her vent area feathers. She also is breathing hard with her mouth very open, with the wings drooping.

    I went ahead and put her in the coop with some of the other girls who had already come in to roost. While in there she had another runny poop, this time it was pretty yellow (yolk??) and you could see undigested seeds in it.

    She is fed Layena, scratch outside, and is free range for bugs. I've only lost the one to a fox. She has access to the barn or the coop at night and prefers the coop. She just has never appeared 'right' to me, but kept up with the others and ate and drank normally, so I just kept plugging along with her. Her feathers look bad too, but i hoped when she molted they would look better. She also never lost weight like this. I can't believe how thin she is.

    Please offer any suggestions - I hate to see an animal suffer and these girls (and guys) are all pets, I don't care if they lay eggs at all!

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Welcome. Since she is sick, I would bring her in so you can keep a closer eye on her. See if you can't get some vitamins and electolites into her along with the layer feed plus maybe a hard boiled egg or something of high protein/vitamin content. Taking a fecal sample to the vet for "fecal float" test may help to see if she has a paractie load. If so, you can get the right med to treat what she has. Best of luck.
  3. FlickofFire

    FlickofFire Hatching

    Aug 20, 2008

    she won't even look at food now. she pants with her mouth open and has her eyes shut. She insists on standig with her butt in the air and head low with wings pushed out and down low. I have her in, but wonder if she'd be happier with her girlfriends.

    She looked fine this morning, but I didn't know about the weight loss then. I can get the fecal done.
  4. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    You have a seriously ill bird- if you are seeing mostly white/water coming out of her vent- this is not feces- this is waste products from the kidneys- chicken urine. She is not eating, or her GI tract is not working. If you see 'seeds' in her waste- is she eating 'seeds'- then her GI tract is not working or you might be seeing tapeworms from her free ranging beetle eating habits. A heavy parasite load might bring a bird to this condition, but tapeworms are more of a yucky to look at parasite than a serious health threat. Do you deworm on a regular basis?

    For a bird to feel really thin through the keel area, she has been not meeting her calorie needs for weeks- weight loss is a gradual thing. Combined with no egg laying for months- something has been wrong with her for a long time.

    If she is struggling to breath, can't or won't eat, and is so weak she cannot hold her wings up- I cannot see a happy ending to this. Even if she is simply loaded with roundworms- if she is too weak or distressed to feed herself- it is unlikely she will survive a parasite purge. It is more likely you are seeing the end result of a chronic internal disease - likely reproductive related (tumor(s) or yolk peritonitis), since the lack of eggs preceded everything else. My personal opinion is humanely end her life at home---if you cannot take her to a vet to get her looked at and get an actual diagnosis to then help you decide to treat something- or euthanize if she is as sick as she sound.
    Good luck, and sorry I do not have anything positive to tell you, Jess
  5. FlickofFire

    FlickofFire Hatching

    Aug 20, 2008

    thanks for your input. She died last night. I feel really rotten. I wormed her with piperizine a few months ago and also used ivermectin before that just because she looked unthrifty and was the only one who looked this way. I could never find anything about how often to worm a chicken and thoughts on worming seem to vary. I have horses and goats and llamas, and they are wormed every few months.

    I think it had something to do with the egg laying like you said or she had a cancer. I don't pick these guys up often because they are hard to catch, so the weight loss was hard to see till too late.

    Poor thing, my rooster actually stayed right by her side until she was gone and was uncharacteristically quite.

    wish I knew exactly what it was. I hate not knowing.

  6. Hi Amy,

    If you have not buried her, you could ask a vet to do a necropsy. Sometimes a learning hospital will do those for free.

    So sorry about your girl!

  7. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Aww was hoping for better posts at the end of this thread. So sorry for your loss. How sad...poor roo [​IMG]
  8. sudolph

    sudolph In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2007
    Amy, I'm sorry about your sweet hen, too, but don't you love a roo who tries to take care of his girls? That loyalty is so admirable.

  9. FlickofFire

    FlickofFire Hatching

    Aug 20, 2008
    Thanks all.

    I buried her the next morning. I thought about doing a necropsy myself - i've done a lot of vet work as an assistant, but just couldn't bring myself to do it!!

    I love that rooster!! He's very young, but gorgeous. He is a teenager just looking for a girl right now, and badgers my small cochin hens to death. I'm afraid he may need a new home. He was so sweet to sit with the sick girl and he always comes running to see you when you come in the gate to the barnyard. You can almost pick him up, but he runs away at the last second.

    There is an empty spot in my barnyard though.......
  10. puddinbabe

    puddinbabe In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2007
    I came on here tonight to see what was wrong with my bird and what you've written at the top is very much like what I'm experiencing. My girl is lethargic, blinky eyes, is laying down in the coop, is pooping urates but no real poop, and doesn't seem interetested in food. She is drinking and I mushed up some food and she had a bite before bed. Her comb is very dark though, but she isn't panting or having breathing problems. She hasn't layed in months though. I thought it was because of her molt.

    My girls have always had lice and I just can't get rid of them. They're outside most of the time. I dust them but the lice always come back. They get worms too. Maybe I need to try worming tomorrow. Any other ideas?

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