Hen dying, no obvious signs except poo on butt

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KatGold, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an Americauna that is about 18 months old. I don't know her weight, maybe about 6 lbs.

    Two days ago, she acted like she'd been suffering from the heat (it's been 105ish for months). I brought her inside the house and gave her electrolytes. She recovered overnight and was free ranging with the flock yesterday and appeared well. I've been continuing the electrolytes and have given bowls of ice to get near for cooling.

    This morning I found her laying in the hen house listless. It's not even hot yet. Probably in the high 70s now. I put her in the shade with more electrolytes and a bowl of ice.

    There is poo stuck to her butt feathers. Not right at the anus, but messy all over her rear feathers.

    No other birds seem to be affected.

    There are no signs of trauma and we have had no suspicious events.

    I have no idea if she has been eating, but I have seen her drink her water a little bit. I do know that yesterday she ate some greens in front of me when she was looking recovered.

    By the looks of her tail feathers, her poop may be runny, but I don't really know.

    I do not have a picture.

    I am trying to help her myself. We won't use a vet for our chickens.

    The bedding in the hen house and run are a mixture of pine shavings and grass. My hens get lots of free range time in the backyard. I clean their drinking water every day. They are fed organic feed from Coyote Creek Feed.

    Our ultimate plan is to dress our chickens for the table, but we want to save her if possible. Further, we haven't yet dressed a chicken, don't know how to do it, and are not comfortable determining if a chicken is okay to eat if we haven't killed it ourselves.

    I am going to go scour my books for clues, but I don't know where to begin. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I forgot to mention, yesterday when when she was still in the house in a cat carrier, she did lay one egg. The shell was very, very soft--not much more than a membrane. I threw it out (there's probably nothing wrong with it, I just have a psychological opposition to eating those). The inside of the egg looked perfect.

    I don't know if this is at all diagnostic, I suspect it isn't, but since I don't know I am telling you about it.

    Thanks.
     
  3. Help_battery_hens

    Help_battery_hens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    feel her crop to see if it has fluid in? is it empty or hard? does her breath smell sour. also feel her abdomen for fluid? if it is filled with fluid it could be egg peritonitis and she will definitely need the vets it you want any chance to save her
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree that egg peritonitis or some other problem with the laying system, maybe eggbound, are good possibilities. I doubt even a vet would be likely to save a hen from egg peritonitis, though. A soft shelled egg makes me wonder about eggbound, as they are hard to pass, and often they do recover from that if they can get the egg/eggs out (dark place to rest, warm bath, etc.)

    Occasionally someone has a hysterectomy done, but that is a really major trauma for a hen, and they don't always survive the surgery.

    Here are a couple of threads that may be informative:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=362422
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=79443&p=1
    http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/solutions.html

    eta -- Another thought: Maybe it is residual effects from the heat, or something like aspergillosis, from which they can recover. Of course, having eaten something bad, maybe something moldy, etc. are also possibilities. A sugar and electrolyte solution from the feed store might be a good idea, maybe some vitamins, maybe even a flush as with molasses.

    I do wish you luck with her.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  5. Help_battery_hens

    Help_battery_hens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its only possible if a vet catches it really early... i know... my hen died from it yesterday. but yes Egg bound is a likely thing if you think she is struggling to lay again you can help her by putting her in warm water to relax her muscles and just by keeping her fit and free ranging to keep her muscles healthy
     
  6. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the quick replies. I will check on those links, her crop, breath, etc after I write this.

    I also was thinking, hoping, that it was heat related and she hadn't completely recovered, but that seemed like wishful thinking since she was okay yesterday. I didn't think she could relapse while it was not so hot.

    A couple of other things I probably should have mentioned. We have a mixed age, mixed bird flock. Of our flock of 12 chickens, eight are about 18 months, and four are 20 weeks. We also have three 4 month old Australian Spotted ducks.

    They live together in a big run and so far have not had any problems. The small duck pond (a concrete mixer pan) is cleaned out everyday. Drinking water is in an automatic waterer and is flushed out by hand each day. The conditions in the run are NOT wet.

    I add DE to the feed every week or two for worms. But as I was reading in Storey's, this might not be as helpful as I had thought since wetted DE is less effective and the DE gets wet with saliva. (Why hadn't that ever occurred to me before? I give DE to my poultry, my dog, and I even ingest it. But we all do wetten it with saliva. Hmmm.....)

    I also occasionally sprinkle DE around the flock and splash the hens for lice control. Maybe I used too much and she inhaled some, but this doesn't seem to be a respiratory problem.

    Sorry if this is too much info, but I am a relative newby and if I'm doing something wrong I'd love to know about it.

    I'll check those links now.
     
  7. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I checked the crop and abdomen. I don't feel anything unusual. I don't feel an egg. I cannot smell the breath.

    I've set up a fan with a bowl of ice next to it and the hen on the other side (the ice is between the fan and hen). Water with elecs and vits are right next to her beak and she takes little sips. Hopefully it is a heat thing and this will perk her up.
     
  8. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

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    Does she have access to oystershell? Could she be Ca++ deficicent? I am new to chicken ailments too, but it really sounds "egg machine" related.

    Seems to me if she ate something bad for her she would either have gotten better w/ time (out of her system) or worsened to point of death if it was real toxic. If heat related same thing only backwards if the exposure was bad enough to kill her wouldn't think she would get better then w/o any heat suddenly worsen. You have not mentioned s/sx that would indicate respiratory anything, or sick (infection). With all the intricate "moving parts" of the egg laying mechinisms it seems the likely cause to me.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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