Hen has become weak, listless in cold temps

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by workinghens, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. workinghens

    workinghens New Egg

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    Jan 11, 2015
    Monrovia, Maryland
    One of my Dark Cornish hens has taken sick again - huddled up, sluggish, eyes often closed, very weak. She got like this in the last cold spike a few days ago, but recovered to normal activity after a night under a heat lamp. She's 20 months old, and has been healthy until this cold snap. No visible injuries. No nasal/eye discharge or stuck droppings. She's not in molt - is fully feathered. No signs of frostbite. She feels thin to me - keel bone pokes out more than on the other hens.

    All of the others (mix of other breeds, including 2 other DC) are active and healthy. They spend nights in a mostly enclosed coop. I cover most of the ventilation areas; but leave the main door open during daylight to air out the coop. During the day they spend most of their time under the coop, in an adjacent shelter or on the ground surface where I've laid out hay. There is lots of room in those areas to shelter from wind, though it's still cold. Food consumption for the flock is normal for this tie of year. As I have 2 other DCs, I can't tell when this girl is eating. No signs of aggression in the flock - nobody being chased away from the feeder that I've observed.

    Other than bringing her in and keeping her warm, any suggestions?
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Have you considered a heavy parasite load - internal or external? A bird who would normally be able to withstand the weather changes can be compromised by underlying conditions, such as parasites, that leave her body at a disadvantage compared to flock mates who may not be as heavily infected.
    On a side note, covering most of the ventilation sees logical from a human perspective in looking at the coop, but is actually quite the opposite of what you want to do to maintain a healthy environment in the coop.
     
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    X2. A skinny bird often signifies intestinal worms, coccidiosis, or possibly even a bacterial enteritis. I would deworm with Albendazole (Valbazen suspension labeled for cattle) given orally via syringe ( no needle) at .08 cc per pound of bird weight. Then I'd run Corid (Amprolium) in the water for 5-7 days. In case you don't know, it is 1 to 1.5 tsp for 20% powder per gallon of drinking water, or if using Corid liquid 9.6%, the dosage is 10 ml per gallon. After Corid treatment, run vitamin-electrolyte-probiotic powder in water for 3-5 days. Worm the birds again on the 10th day after the first deworming. I dose vitamins in water 3 days a week all through Winter, and it seems to help. I hope this helps. Keep us posted every few days.
     
  4. workinghens

    workinghens New Egg

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    Jan 11, 2015
    Monrovia, Maryland
    Thanks both. Unfortunately the hen died overnight. I'm keeping watch on the flock. Have opened up the vents more, and still keeping the door open all day as well. The interior and droppings are dry each day, no signs of moisture buildup - something I keep an eye on for flock health. I'll use the meds if anything similar (pardon the pun) crops up. Will pick some up in advance to have on hand. Also will start the vitamin supplement today. thanks again for the assist and the specifics.

    --Robert
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  5. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry to hear that, Robert. I'll deworm before and even after moult if needed. I do it again before breeding/egg production season. Nothing worse than the stressors of moult or weather changes on a weak bird. It helps to use a Coccidiosis preventative like I mentioned in drinkers once a month, or every other month for adults depending on the environment they are in. Wet soil and humid weather is the perfect environment for coccidia, worms, and worm vectors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  6. birdy59

    birdy59 New Egg

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    Jan 13, 2015
    I really want to thank-you for the information about the thin listless
    hen situation. I have an adorable buff orpington hen which I noticed
    about a month ago was not doing well in the coop outside. I have brought
    her into the house in the basement and have her in a large dog crate.
    She too was (and still is quite thin). She has popped up some being in the house
    but her eating is terrible. For awhile she devoured dried meal worms very well.
    Now that has stopped. She just picks at her crumbles and grit. She likes grapes
    and apples. The discussion about internal parasites got me thinking- she makes
    one pile of poop a day and she strains a lot but makes no sound. I have tried
    moistening her crumbles with water but she picks at that. I went and bought the
    Corid powder but could not find the other which was recommended. I bought a
    fresh bottle of Wazine dewormer . I have not wormed this hen ever so it is about
    time I do. Her name is Hailey and she loves sitting on my lap and putting her head
    under my arm. Thanks again for the info.!! If anyone needs help with a bumble foot
    let me know-that was my last winter's drama with another hen who is doing fine.
    Sincerely,
    Roberta
     
  7. birdy59

    birdy59 New Egg

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    Jan 13, 2015
    Hi You Wonderful Folks,

    Thanks to youguys I finally saw the light (it took me long enough). My
    little Hailey is holding her own but I have listened to you all and it has
    made a difference. I feel from what I have read that she has had internal
    and external parasites for sometime. I dusted her last night but remain unsure
    how often I should do this? I did Corid for 6 days in her water and out came alot
    of mucous which was yellowish. This has stopped but she does the mouth opening
    thing so I got the Safeguard started in water last night. She is drinking more than
    she has in the past two weeks. I think I am going to have to scour her crate where
    she is residing in my basement to clear out any mites in her area and replace with fresh stuff daily.[​IMG]


    Now, my BYC friend's may you have further suggestions and a little help
    please with the dusting thing?.

    Thank-you!
    Love,Birdy and Hailey
     
  8. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Feeding too much sugar can cause digestive trouble making birds eat less and drink more. Feeding too much protein can slow digestion to a crawl and cause enteritis/ E. coli. Stick to more formulated, nutritionally balanced feed, and less treats. The immune system begins in the intestinal tract, so you want to encourage healthy digestion. A strong immune system is more resistant to disease. Use some Probios dispersible powder at 1 tsp per gallon of water each week. They likely need a build up of vitamins, so use a poultry vitamin electrolyte in the water. A maintenance dose 3-5 days a week would be beneficial.
     
  9. birdy59

    birdy59 New Egg

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    Jan 13, 2015
    Thanks so much for your invaluable assistance!
    Birdy
     

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