Hen has been sick for 50+ days; what's wrong? (Pics + vid)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lanimilbus, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. lanimilbus

    lanimilbus Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 3, 2008
    Central Maine
    EDIT: She ended up eventually dying a month or so after I originally posted this. I had a necropsy done and they couldn't find anything wrong, so the death is still a mystery...their best guess was that she ate something that disagreed with her in a big way. The rest of the flock has been fine since then.

    My 4-year-old Red Star hen has been acting strangely and looking rather unhealthy since around the beginning of August, so it's been about 50 days now like this.

    Here are some of the symptoms:
    -Her eyes are always half-closed, sometimes moreso so that they're just slits
    -She used to be the most dominant and active hen and is now the slowest and least active
    -She no longer sleeps on the roost at night like all of the other chickens and instead just stands on the floor underneath it
    -She seems to "waddle" more than the other chickens, sort of stepping apart slower and wider than the rest
    -She seems hunched up and bloated
    -When I first noticed something was wrong she had diarrhea all over her rear feathers and now the area is pretty bare
    -As you can see in the video in the next post, there appears to be a bit of dark-greenish poo there as well
    -Despite all this, she still eats, drinks and poops

    I originally posted a thread about this a month and a half ago when it first started, which is here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=383612

    It's a rather long detailed description of several pet deaths and illnesses I had been dealing with and this same hen was mentioned there along with several pictures. The other chicken I was concerned about in that thread that also had half-closed eyes has since gone back to normal and there have been no other deaths of any kind since then. I sent in a fecal sample from the Red Star back in August and it came back negative for everything they tested it for, including worms (which is what I thought it was originally). I had two chick deaths from a batch of chicks I got in July and their symptoms resembled Pullorum and I was thinking maybe that was the issue so I had samples from the rest of the chicks in the batch sent in and tested as well which also came back negative. Those chicks are now about 9 weeks old and need to go outside in the coop with the adult hens and while I probably shouldn't worry about infection (since the results for all the chicks and the hen came back negative) I'm still concerned about the off chance that whatever's going on with the hen could transfer to the chicks or the introduction of the chicks could kill off the hen...so, any advice? She's stuck around for 50+ days like this so I'm optimistic but at the same time I'd really like to know what's going on so I can have a better sense of what to expect and what I can do to help.
    Thanks in advance for any info or advice!
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  2. lanimilbus

    lanimilbus Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 3, 2008
    Central Maine
    Here are two pictures from the other day...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ^That's what I mean about the half-closed eyes that sometimes narrow down to almost-slits. They open wider sometimes but are never fully open.

    And here's a short video of her as she walks around outside the coop; she's more active and looks better here than she usually does, probably because she was excited to be outside loose, but you can still see signs that something's wrong. Also, at around 1:07 it looks like she tries to poo or force something out but nothing happens...not sure what to make of that. Link to the video:
     
  3. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    I didn't watch the video, but can tell from the pics. that your hen is very sick. She could possibly be eggbound, but the only thing I can think of to tell you, is to try placing her in warm water (don't let her get chilled). The only reason I think she may be eggbound, is because you say she's kind of waddling. I feel so bad that she's been like this for 50+ days----maybe there is a vet you could take her to, or you should consider putting her out of her misery. I hope someone else can give you a more definite idea of what could be wrong.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  4. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    Did you ever get the birds tested for pullorum, as so many people suggested? I would think more of your birds would be showing symptoms by now, but you really should get the sick one tested.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I would agree with the eggbound thing, or some other problem with the egg laying apparatus; her symptoms are typical. Although I don't know anything about pullorum.

    It's probably a little late for the warm bath and dark place to rest, but you could try. Sounds like she is trying to push an egg out. I'd be tempted to go with the quiet darkened place just for her comfort. You could try a baby aspirin or two to see if she seems a little more comfortable. But then you've probably been through all this if she's been like this for so long.

    Sorry.
     
  6. lanimilbus

    lanimilbus Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 3, 2008
    Central Maine
    Quote:Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any vet within several hundred miles of here that sees or treats chickens...I've found a few avian vets but they only see parrots and such. If anyone happens to know of a vet that deals with chickens in the state of Maine though, please let me know. I really don't think I'd be capable of ending her life myself and I want to make sure I've done everything possible before resorting to that.

    Quote:Yes; it was the chicks that I had tested for Pullorum since the two that died were the ones that were exhibiting the symptoms. I couldn't have those two tested since I had buried them by the time I thought to send in a sample but I did have the rest of the chicks that were in with them tested and the test came back negative.

    Is there any definitive way to tell if she's eggbound or not? Would I be able to feel it? Any other help would be much appreciated...really not sure what to do here.
     
  7. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Woodville, MS
    Has she laid an egg in the last 50 days (or before). It looks like she's egg bound or possibly an internal layer. Is there a "water balloon" swelling below her vent, in between her legs. Sort of looks like it in the video. If so, you can insert a needle into the "bag" area and see if you can draw out some fluid. It could be ascites (filling with fluid). If watery looking you may be able to draw it all out and give her some releaf. If dark black or blackish green it could indicate she's been laying internally. Either way, it will relieve the swelling and give her some comfort. For egg bound you want to soak her entire lower half in warm water for about 10 minutes. You can feel around her vent and inside the vent and see if you can feel an egg.
     

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