Hen Lethargic, Not Eating or Drinking, Eyes Closed, Laying In Box

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Shananigan, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Shananigan

    Shananigan New Egg

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    Nov 26, 2013
    Hello Everyone,

    So it may be too late already, although I'm hoping it's not...

    One of our three hens is very sick!

    Over the last few days, one of our hens has been progressively getting more sick.

    Symptoms:

    Lethargic: Will stand wherever you set her, won't move at all. Even when it gets dark outside, and the other chicken's go in their coop -she still stands (hunched and puffed up) in the same spot.

    Not eating: We feed chicken food (can't think of the name, just an all around food), corn, and oyster shell. She has not been interested in eating at all.

    Not drinking

    She has gotten worse this morning, we currently have her in a box, and she is just laying in there with her eyes shut -very mellow, not very responsive. Our chickens are reasonably friendly, but not this friendly.

    She is definitely sick, but I am not versed on chicken illnesses. They have a large coop, and outdoor run (dirt, concrete, wood). Clean water (changed frequently AND we just scrubbed them down last week.) We keep shavings in their coop, and clean out the coop / yard frequently.

    I just don't know what this could be, or how to help the poor thing.

    Doesn't seem to be any discharge -breathing is shallow but no rattling or perceived difficulties.

    I don't know what her poo is like, I'm hoping she goes in the box -but at this point I doubt it.

    Any ideas / suggestions?

    Thanks
     
  2. luvmigrls

    luvmigrls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does sound serious. Have you read under other post for similar symptoms? You can also search under this forum by typing key words describing her condition. Could she have gotten into anything toxic or ate something moldy? There are certain people foods that chickens should not have. You could also Google poultry disease/illness and find some help there. Best of luck. I am sure help is on the way.
     
  3. Shananigan

    Shananigan New Egg

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    Nov 26, 2013
    @luvmigrls -Thanks for replying! Yes, I have done all of the above -but really can't pin-point anything. She has such general, yet severe, symptoms there is no tale-tell sign that clues me in on anything specific. Unless their was something wrong with their food, she hasn't had access to anything else. They do not get fed scraps, and they're not let out of their coop or have access to anything else. I can't find any external variables that have changed to cause this. The weather has not been extreme (starting to get chilly at night -but nothing they aren't used too. Plus, they are completely closed in at night.) The food is stored in completely sealed, dry, containers in the garage. And the other hens are not showing any other symptoms -seem to be perfectly fine.

    I posted because I was just hoping there were some things I could check that would help clue me in. I can deal with sick horses and dogs -this is totally new to me though! You know, the little tricks like for horses -checking for gut sounds, temperature, gums (hydration), heartbeat, ect.. and what the variations could mean.

    Any chicken tricks that the novice wouldn't know about? We've never had a chicken get sick, and we've had chickens for close to 5 years now. I'm lost..
     
  4. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Does her abdomen feel hard? Has she been laying? When a chicken is egg bound, they sometimes act lethargic and puffed up.
     
  5. Shananigan

    Shananigan New Egg

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    Nov 26, 2013
    I doubt she has been laying, can't say for sure though. My little sister usually gathers the eggs, however she flaked -then collected them (so we're not exactly sure if she has or not.) My best guess is 'No', she definitely hasn't laid any eggs today and I don't think she laid any yesterday.

    More details.

    She pooped in her box, just liquid -slight yellowish tinge, quite a lot it would seem though. SUPER smelly. Poop doesn't normally bother me, I have owned all kinds of animals my entire life. (Horse, pigs, dogs, cats) I have zero problem with poop, and know what different types of poop smell like. This is absolutely RANCID. I had to step away and prepare a bit before approaching. I went ahead and felt the 'vent' area. I applied gentle pressure and I actually heard some gas, expel.

    I'm not sure if her abdomen feels different, I don't know what a normal one would feel like. I can't test the other chicken's either, because I just brought her up to my Dad's. I'm thinking we may have to put her down, she seriously does not want to move. She won't stand, and won't even open her eyes unless your picking her up -and even when she does it's just for a second. I feel so horrible, but I don't want to see her suffer any longer.

    I'm trying to look into everything, I can -but like I said, I don't want her to suffer anymore (especially if it is something I can't fix). :(
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Could she be broody? That is when a hen wants to set on eggs to hatch them. They kind of go into a trance, sitting in the box for hours, only getting up once of twice a day for a few minutes to eat and poo. If you pick her up and take her outside the coop, she may run back to the nest box if she is broody. If she is not broody, then I would check her for mites. Also she could have coccidiosis. Most birds are immune to this by 20 weeks, but can still get it if they are exposed to a new strain. Corid (amprollium) is the best treatment, and available in the cattle section of the feedstore.
     
  7. GoldenChicks16

    GoldenChicks16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hold up her wing and blow the skin. If you see little red mites or blonde/brown lice run around, that's what the problem is. I had this happen to my chicks recently. With them being so skidding I just attributed it to the cold weather and a late hatch. It may be to late for this one bird but immidiatly get some Diatomacous Earth and give your chickens a nice dusting. A lot of people don't know this but if enough mites or live bite a chicken it can be fatal. These external parasites are extremely toxic to the birds and can come from outside and other wild birds.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Shananigan

    Shananigan New Egg

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    Nov 26, 2013
    Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions!


    So after checking your suggestions, and looking up some chicken anatomy and palpating around, I am 99% sure she is egg bound. :( I can see that it is treatable, but she has been bound up for 2 maybe 3 days now. I can feel the egg towards the upper part of her left leg. Round, hard, and will move around a bit if you gently push on it. Can something like this be treated an this stage? Like I said, she is super lethargic. Doesn't move, eyes closed. You can gently roll her on her side and she will stay like that. If I try and treat this I want a decent chance of survival because I don't want put her through all of that -then still have to put her to sleep.

    What do you guys think?
     
  9. GoldenChicks16

    GoldenChicks16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You will want to be extremely careful when trying to remove the egg, if that's what you decide to do. If the egg is fragile it may break inside of her and cause even more damage. Can you slip fingers into her vent (maybe one finger) and feel it? How far away is it from exiting the body?
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    If she is eggbound give her a Tums or a 1/2 a calcium tablet. The calcium will help her release the egg. Get her into a hot tub of water to soak. This will relax the muscles to lay the egg. Most hens can't tolerate being egg bound for more than 2 days I have read.
     

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