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Helping a hen gain weight

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chido, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My barred rock hen Spaghetti has finally recovered from a nasty respiratory infection and she is eating on her own, the thing is, she is very underweight. It's been a week since she got better, but the poor thing is pretty much skin and bones. She eats some of her pellets if I soak them in water until they crumble, and she eats some mealworms and meat that I've given her. She's also eating a lot of grass and scratch, but I've noticed both of them pass through her system not fully digested. I don't have any money left for vet care after another chicken got a nasty infection in her mouth, so I've been treating Spaghetti at home:(. Any ideas as what can cause a chicken not to digest properly? Today her crop didn't empty but she didn't have any foul breath, so I gave her some olive oil and massaged her crop. thankfully it wasn't too enlarged, but with how thin she is, I didn't wanna risk it.

    Also, if there is a chance that she is really recovering, how long can it take for a chicken to go back to a healthy weight? I'm not keeping my hopes too high because Spaghetti has never been that healthy (got her as an adult hen, god knows how she was treated before [​IMG]). She does eat, but she doesn't go crazy for mealworms like theo ther chickens, although she does eat a few, and she manages to eat about a teaspoon size chunk of cooked meat. I just don't know if I should try to force feed her or let her body take it easy and eat as much as she can handle at a time.
     
  2. Barred Babies

    Barred Babies Red Roof Farms

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    Try giving her some scrambled eggs, yougurt, and some meat! You really need to up the protein. You can also try buying some 24% chick feed!! Hope she get's better soon!!
     
  3. PonyRyder

    PonyRyder New Egg

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    Warm oatmeal mixed with yogurt and honey... love love love it! And she needs the yogurt(plain) to put the good bacteria back that was weakend by the antibiotics from the respritory.
     
  4. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I understand that "Rickets diet" helps to put more weight? Try googling for it (or even on this forum). I am now feeding it to one of our 6 months old girls who's very thin. It's only been a few days, so I don't see any results yet, but hopefully soon.

    I'm glad to hear that Spaghetti is on the mend, I remember reading about her on another thread where you mentioned she was ill.
     
  5. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The thing is that she won't eat much of anything I prepare for her. She keeps trying to eat grass and clovers, so I've been keeping her outside the run and put her feed and water near the kitchen door. There's a covered porch and pots where she can hide if she feels like it, and we have a 112 week old pullet in a rabbit cage there (we take the pullet inside before nightfall so she doesn't get cold), so they keep each other company. When I offer her egg, she'll have about a teaspoon worth of egg, or cottage cheese, or both if I make her scrambled eggs. She never cared for yogurt so that one I have to force feed it a bit. She does eat mealworms, but loses interest after eating 8 or so (the mealworms are over an inch long).

    I was letting her eat scratch and cracked corn because she does like that, but then I saw that she's been pooping semidigested corn and grass. I don't want to stress her out by force feeding, but I'm getting frustrated at how picky she is despite being so thin. [​IMG]

    Also I don't know how to measure whether she is recovering. I've never had chickens before, so I don't know how long it can take to nurse a hen back to a healthy weight [​IMG].

    Edit: I'm gonna give that diet a try. I don't have plain yogurt but I have some activia. If I can't find any unsweetened yogurt on my way back home from school, I'll have to use that one [​IMG].
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  6. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I dewormed my flock about a month ago with Ivermectin. One of the hens apparently had gapeworm because she had the symptoms, but then got better after the first dose. I don't know if it's too soon to deworm them again.

    Spaghetti's crop didn't really empty much during the night. She is passing a bit of stool, however, her crop is still rather large. It isn't rock hard and I just gave her mike 5ml of olive oil and massaged her crop for like 10 minutes. It did get soft and the contents are much easier to move around. I have her in a dog crate with some pine shavings and water so she can't eat more grass, and I prepared a ration of rickets diet last night to give it to her in the afternoon if she poops and her crop gets smaller. I don't have anybody to help me if I need to open her crop (my mother is here but she pretty much told me I should let nature follow its course and just leave her alone, basically sentencing Spaghetti to a slow, painful death, so I can't count on her for surgery). My other option is to try and make her puke, but I don't wanna try that yet until I see if her crop empties at all by tomorrow. I have Nystatin to treat he if she gets sour crop.

    If things don't improve by tomorrow, I'll try to empty her crop and then give her a few days to see if she gets better. If she doesn't, I'll find somebody to help me cull her, or I'll ask a local vet if he could make an exeption and put a chicken to sleep (no vet in my area see chickens [​IMG]).
     
  8. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well the stuff in her crop passed so yay! But now Spaghetti is being a brat. Underweight as she is, she wouldn't touch the oatmeal concoction I made, but she ate some mealworms and ham. I also took he to an area of the yard where there's a lot of dirt and tiny clovers, and she ate some greens and grit. For being so weak she's quite the picky lady >[​IMG].
     

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