Hen has difficulty walking, messy vent, pale wattle, lice PLEASE HELP

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TriciaAZA, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. TriciaAZA

    TriciaAZA New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Jan 10, 2014
    I have 8 hens and a rooster. I just got them last May and they are all close to 2 yrs old. They stay in a small barn. When the weather was better they were free range every day and closed in at night. But I have discovered they don't like the snow, so I have left the barn doors closed for the most part to help keep out drafts. The barn is not real big, but they are the only animals in there, so moisture has not seemed to be an issue.

    Four days ago when I went out there, I noticed one of the hens had a very pale wattle and had her feathers fluffed up. My chickens are difficult to catch during the daytime, so I did not get a closer look. At the time I thought maybe her wattle had frostbite. So I started searching on the internet. I learned frostbite blackens their wattles or combs, so that wasn't it. Instead I learned she may be anemic due to a parasite.

    Three days ago I became more concerned as she appeared to have some difficulty walking and had a VERY messy vent area. I wished I could give her a bath, but with the freezing temps I was unsure how best to go about it. Plus, I've never given a chicken a bath, so that added to my uncertainty.

    Two days ago I was afraid she was close to her death bed as she was barely moving. I was able to examine her much more closely. I lifted her and looked her over. I noticed she has some bald patches on her underside and under her wings. I also noticed small lice (at least I think they are lice) crawling on the skin under her wing. I felt her underside as I had read about the possibility of a retained egg. She just felt bony on her underside. I rubbed her with some powder I had been given by the person who originally brought me the chickens. It is a powder for yard, garden and pets and it has perthrine in it. Oh, and I also noticed there is something strange about her feet, though I can't quite figure out why. But when she walks (which is not easy for her) on the brick floor she sounds like her feet are made of stone. They make a noise similar to rock on brick, rather than chicken foot on brick. Okay, so I know that last part especially sounds weird, but I don't know how else to describe it.

    Yesterday she didn't seem quite as week as the day before, but still not doing well. She did eat some bread that I brought her and I thought that was a good sign.

    I am going to check on her right after I send this to you.

    I am just not sure what to do for her right now. According to some things I read I can reapply the powder twice in seven day increments. Also I read I can dust her with wood ash (which I have from a pellet stove). I also wondered about putting vaseline on her feet and legs, but I'm not sure. And I wondered if I should bring her inside to bath her and let her dry before putting her back outside, but I don't know what to keep her in inside.

    I know this is long, and if you are still reading this I appreciate it greatly!

    Thanks for your time and any advice you may have.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    22,060
    3,107
    506
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You'll definitely need to address the lice/mites or whatever the parasite is. I recommend 5% Sevin dust as a starting point but at least you put something on her. If she has them, all your birds most likely have them as does all the bedding. I would clean out all the bedding in the building, especially the nest boxes. Treat all the floor area, especially cracks and crevices with the 5% Sevin. Put down fresh bedding.

    A healthy bird can handle quite cold temperatures, even with a breeze. Ventilation is much more important than warmth.
    A sick bird however, will benefit from a warm environment.
    I would bring her in, bathe her (perhaps baby shampoo), put her on a towel and blow dry her. After she's dry dust her again with your permethrin stuff or the Sevin. Especially get it under her wings, around the vent, etc..

    To begin with the vent gleet, get her some probiotics, whole fat plain yogurt will work for now.
    Any free range chicken will have some worms but healthy birds can handle a light load. She likely has a heavy load. If you can get a solid fecal sample from her, get it to a vet to test for worm eggs. That will tell how bad the infestation is and what the best anthelmintic would be.

    Straw spread on the snow will let the other birds to walk outside.


    ETA

    Here's some more info for you
    http://naturalchickenkeeping.blogspot.com/2012/12/natural-way-to-rid-chickens-of-lice.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  3. TriciaAZA

    TriciaAZA New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Jan 10, 2014
    Thanks so much for your response. Once I have a pair of extra hands this evening I will bring her in and bath her and keep her inside overnight. I am afraid to use a blow dryer. I fear it will stress her out. Have you used a blow dryer on a chicken before? I will definitely buy some yogurt for her today.

    Thanks for the link. I read it and plan to use wood ash on all my chickens tonight. I am not familiar with the Neem Oil or Nu Stock. Could Vaseline or bag balm be used in place of the Nu Stock? Could white vinegar be used to spray down roost area instead of Neem Oil?
     
  4. TriciaAZA

    TriciaAZA New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Jan 10, 2014
    Today she is walking better and I didn't see the lice under her wing. She ate a little bit of seed that I put down but not a lot. Now that the arctic chill has passed I have opened the barn doors back up and there is a small covered area the birds can walk around in and dust bathe.

    BUT her poop came out as just a swamp-green liquid, quite foul smelling.

    So can the lice have made her ill enough to be having the messy vent issue? Or is that a separate issue altogether?
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    22,060
    3,107
    506
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Probably a separate issue. A chicken can fight off a lot of things but when one thing gets them down other pathogens and parasites are opportunistic and get a foothold as well.

    I dust the roosts with food grade DE. I don't think vinegar will do much for parasites.

    Unless there is something else going on, the probiotics should help with diarrhea and smell.
     
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    548
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Dust or spray the birds and coop like Chicken canoe said. Emulsified concentrates of permethrin or rabon for birds and premises are more effective and have longer residual than DE or any other powder. I would worm them 10 days apart with Valbazen or Safe-guard liquid 1/2 cc orally via syringe (no needle) each time, and treat them for coccidiosis with Corid for a week in between wormings. After the last day of Corid give vitamin-probiotic powder in the waterers for a couple days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    30,548
    4,915
    541
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
  8. TriciaAZA

    TriciaAZA New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Jan 10, 2014
    Thanks so much for responding so promptly! I thought I would give you an update. The day I started this thread, I wound up bringing Shyla (the hen) in and giving her a bath, as her vent area was such a mess. While bathing her I discovered her vent feathers were covered in lice eggs. I also realized that her feet were swollen and her legs and feet were scaly. So, I determined she also had scaly leg mites which I read about when I was trying to identify the bugs under her wings (the lice). And to top it off, when I was blow drying her, I found a little, skinny red worm on my hand. I did some research and learned it was gape worm. Ugh! So the poor thing had lice, mites and worms. I felt terrible! I think I take good care of my chickens, so I was so sad to see that one got so sick.

    Anyway, I dusted all of my chickens with wood ash for the lice. I have been coating Shyla's legs with Vaseline daily, as I read that will smother the scaly leg mites. And I gave every bird a dose of ivermectin for the worms.

    Shyla is still in a box in the house, but I think she is slowly getting better. All of the other chickens appear quite healthy.

    Oh, and I also removed all of the litter from the floor and all of the bedding in the nesting boxes. I sprayed the roost and inside the empty nesting boxes with Neem Oil to kill mites. Then I put down new litter and bedding. I also got some probiotic/electrolyte powder to add to their water.

    I've gotta say, I hope I never have to do all this again! Now that I've learned a lot over the past week, I will try preventative measures I was previously unaware of. I will worm everyone twice a year and I will put wood ash in the area they like to dust bath in. I will also check them closer every few weeks for any signs of lice or mites.

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness! Best wishes to you and your birds too! :)
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    30,548
    4,915
    541
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Ivermectin used to treat worms, but has lost it's effectiveness in recent years because so many used it for mites. SafeGuard or Panacur (fenbendazole) 10% is so much more effective as a wormer, and is available in horse paste or liquid goat wormer--most chickens get 1/2 ml for treatment. Lice and mites are most successfully treated with 5% Sevin dust or permethrin dust. Wood ash can work, but it takes days and days of treatment, and wood ash itself can be harmful. Some people on the Natural Chicken Keeping thread use Neem Oil and wood ash, but I have read the posts where they are not that effective, or they take diligent retreatment. I always prefer a natural cure to a chemical, but with worms and mites and lice, there aren't many that work according to studies.
     
  10. knightie

    knightie Chillin' With My Peeps

    341
    3
    93
    Mar 1, 2012
    I know this is old but I say you ask has anyone used a blow dryer to dry a chicken... Yes and she was a chicken that had been attacked by a dog a few days before... She didn't stress at all... Just leaned back and enjoyed it. I've also used the blow dryer to dry baby ducks that had gone swimming (when it was cold and they had just a brooder) and to warm up others that got a little chilled.
    Not one bird freaked out (and trust me I was sure the first one would, but she loved it!)

    Bathing and drying a chIcken is no big deal (surprisingly)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by