Hen became suddenly lethargic, shaking/shivering head, drinks water only and not eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by denz88, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. denz88

    denz88 Hatching

    Jan 4, 2015
    Hi All,

    Thanks ahead of time for reading - any suggestion would be welcome.
    We have a hen that's a half silkie breed that we raised from hatching- she's close to three years old now. Yesterday she looked all hunched up and wouldn't move much, but she still managed to jump to the perch. I assumed she was just cold as she kept shivering. She ate and drank fine. This morning she seemed significantly weaker, coming out only to drink water. I placed some of her feed, no go. Tried rice, bread, and watermelon, all to no avail. I moved her into the basement where it's quite a bit warmer. She slept in all day except for the few times I went to check on her. Each time she awoke her head would shake, shiver, and vibrate. I tried to see if I could place her on the edge of the box to get her to perch, but she seems to have trouble holding herself up.
    Didn't see any mites on her when I inspected visually but found a couple crawling on my hand. I've had birds with mites before and none of them ever deteriorated so quickly and so severely, so I'm wondering if something else is at play here? I've dusted her just now with poultry dust.
    Wondering if anyone else had seen similar cases. I'm in CT where it's been pretty chilly the past few days.

    edited by staff

    Summary details:
    - Crop is slightly soft, but there is no foul odor
    - Freshly dusted with medicated poultry this morning after discovering mites
    - No droppings after re-locating to indoors
    - No egg laid after re-locating to indoors
    - Slept most of the day
    - Difficulty standing up, not possible to perch anymore
    - No food ingested, only water
    - Shivering head- head movements to look around are stiff and mechanical
    - Vent seems OK on visual inspection, some droppings crusted on nearby feathers
    - Breathing on a "long" rhythm, as if meditating or maybe labored breathing, but not raspy
    - Waddle and comb pale
    - Not wormed (although safeguard is on hand to apply)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2015
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I would give her the SafeGuard--what type is it? If it is the liquid goat wormer or horse paste, give her 1/4 ml orally, then repeat in 10 days. Or you can give it 5 days in a row for the rare chicken worms such as capillaria or gapes. Get some chick electrolytes/vitamins and put in her water, then dip her beak or hold a small bowl up to her beak to force her to drink. You could also use Poultry Nutri-Drench or Poultry Cell vitamins, and give them orally--1 ml daily for a 3 lb bird, or probably 1/2 ml for a silkie. Those have iron in them, as well as electrolytes and vitamins, which may help with anemia from mites. Offer her some scrambled soft egg with her chicken feed. Are there any wet areas or mold in the coop that could affect her breathing?
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I would wonder, like Egg, if it had anything to do with toxins, mold, moldy feed. Check the property and see if there's anything bad she could have gotten into. I know Eastern Equine Encephalitis has shivering, but it's not mosquito season. Botulism is a possibility.

    The only other things I can come up with is a respiratory ailment. I would treat with Tylan or anyone's suggestion on an antibiotic for a respiratory ailment
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015

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