hen lethargic, fluffed feathers, deep red comb

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by corrae, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. corrae

    corrae Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2009
    Hi all--

    I'm hoping someone has some advice for this. Yesterday my Buff Orp hen, 3 1/2 years old, didn't come in to roost. I found her in the horse barn, on a hay bale. SHe was panting/gasping--it didn't seem like a struggle, but her beak was opening as she took in air. Her feathers were/are fluffed. I brought her into the hen house and she settled on the roost. Today she is out w/the other hens, she took a small interest in the alfalfa hay I set out but is otherwise pretty quiet and I can tell she's not her usual self. Her comb is deep red. Any suggestions? It almost seems to me like she's in cardio-pulmonary distress--basically something like congestive heart failure. She isn't gasping/panting now, has eaten w/the others, scratch, rice and meat mix, etc..... Anything I can do here, or just let nature take its course?
  2. DaughterOfEve

    DaughterOfEve Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2009
    Montague, MI
    Make her comfortable, maybe vitamin in the water. Keep an eye on her and prepare yourself. If it is her heart it shouldn't be much longer. Could just be a bad day. Best wishes.
  3. corrae

    corrae Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2009
    Thank you so much.... The hen is better than she was, but not her perky self. One thing I've noticed/remembered: My hens have been kept in their run for the past few days due to snow.... When they are out, they help themselves to lots of alfalfa in the horse barn. It occurred to me this AM that alfalfa is a diuretic--if she does have congestive heart failure, missing her daily alfalfa fix for several days may have allowed the congestion to reach a point where she was panting and weak. Thinking that, I tossed a flake of alfalfa in the run this AM, and made sure I let the girls out early this afternoon to wreck what havoc they could in the horse barn.... The hen came out with the others, and while she was subdued, she did groom her feet/clear them of mud, and she got herself back into the hen house and on a perch tonight. I noticed a little labored breathing, but she felt good enough to whack her neighbor on the head while settling in, so I think she's feeling a bit better. I've lost 2 other Buffs this way--they looked like they were having some trouble getting air, and in the AM dead on the hen house floor. My neighbor also has found a Buff dead in the run--is this perhaps a breed thing?
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Do you think she could be eggbound?

    Also, do you think she could have worms or mites? I lost a roo to a dark red comb/worms.
  5. corrae

    corrae Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2009
    Don't think she's egg-bound...she's not been laying lately. Worms are a possibility--I'll read up on checking for them. Thanks for the advice.
  6. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    I've had chickens die from heart failure, cancer and peritonitis. It always takes awhile from symptoms to death. When they're alive, doing the diagnosis is mostly guesswork. I only know what really caused the deaths after doing necropsies. One thing about Buff Os, is that they are susceptible to getting fat. A layer of fat just exacerbates whatever other issues she has. There's one other possibility, and that's mold. I'm assuming that your alfalfa is clean and dry - mold can cause some of the symptoms you're mentioning.

    BTW, I wrote a blogpost about chickens, suffering and knowing when to euthanize. Tough topic, but you might want to read it.
  7. chikinfarmr

    chikinfarmr Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 27, 2011
    Southern tip of Illnois
    eating a lot of hay could cause a crop problem. I would worm them , and dust them with DE for mites.

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