Hen not fully recovering from unknown illness

Lifewithchicks

Songster
Mar 11, 2018
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Texas
Hello, all! Our most beloved hen fell ill Thursday. She was suddenly lethargic and very puffed up, not eating or drinking. Tail tucked. Her comb didn’t look good and she had diarrhea. I gave her a warm bath and some acv water but she wasn’t perking up so I decided to take her to the vet. Her fecal test came back clean and they didn’t feel an egg. No mites or lice. Empty crop. Prescribed a wormer and antibiotic. She only weighed 4 lbs (buff orpington), she is so fluffy so it’s hard to tell, but skinny underneath all those feathers!

The only thing I can think of it Thursday am when I let them out she ran and immediately found a baby snake. Another hen came and grabbed it from her, and I saw that hen eat the whole thing. Could this tiny snake have bitten her and made her sick?

She has been sleeping inside with heat every night. During the day I let her out some but she doesn’t try to keep up with the others. She just isn’t her perky self. It’s like she tries but then gets exhausted. She is eating little bits here and there and drinking. Her comb is red again and her poops are more normal. I just want my happy girl back. I have to be away from home tomorrow and don’t know if I should leave her in her sick box all day or try her back in the coop.

1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
Buff Orpington, almost 3 years old, she is definitely lighter than the others- she only weighed 4 lbs at the vet.

2) What is the behavior, exactly.
Not perky. No running around. No scratching. She seems easily exhausted.

3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? 4 days. She has definitely improved since the first day, but I’ve never had a chicken be down this long. They’ve always bounced back within a day.

4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? No, the others are totally fine.

5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. No.

6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. She did pick up a baby snake right before I noticed she wasn’t acting herself.

7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. Water with acv. Wet cat food, scrambled eggs,yogurt, mealworms, some feed.

8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. It was very watery but is pretty normal now.

9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? Epsom salt, charcoal, acv and probiotics. The vet prescribed wormer and antibiotic. I have given the wormer but been leery about the antibiotic and she only had one dose.

10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? She is stable but not enough to go back to the coop. I would like to get her back to 100%.

11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

12) Describe the housing/bedding in use. She is normally in a large coop and run with 3 other hens. During the sickness she’s been inside the house in what was the brooder with heat.
 

Hen Pen Jem

Crowing
Sep 19, 2017
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Greetings Lifewithchicks,

The standard weight for a Buff Orpington is 8 lbs. Having said that, this is an average weight. Things are not always text book. I have two Buff Orpingtons, they are 1 year and two months old. One is 5.9 lbs. and her sister is 8 lbs., but, yes your girl is very underweight. However, this is not something that happened in just a week. It sounds more like your hen has had an infection for at least 2 or more weeks.

Eating that snake may have been difficult for your hen to digest, and has been lingering in the gizzard. This can make a hen very sick. I saw a thread over a month ago, a chicken pooped out and entire baby snake, undigested! Talk about biting off more than you can chew!

It sounds like the hen is improving, slowly. You should be consistent with the antibiotic treatment prescribed by your vet. Don't try to rush the healing, or your hen can relapse. It could take her up to 6 days before she is well enough to be more active. Healing is a process, once the hen is pooping better, you will have to get her weight up. She cannot compete for food right now, and is not strong enough to defend herself, if the other hens decide to harass her. And, you should be present when you re-introduce her to the flock.

If you have to be gone for the day, place her where she will have access to food and water, and especially where she will be safe. Turn on a radio for her while you're gone, it will be soothing and keep her company too.

Believe me, I know how inconvenient it is to have a sick hen. Having 5 sick hens and a sick rooster, is worse. That's what I'm dealing with right now. Be patient, she must have been so critically ill.

These are my thoughts on your sick hen, hope they are helpful.

God Bless :)

P.S. Don't forget a three day course of probiotics after the antibiotics.
 

Kiki

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May I ask why the vet prescribed a wormer when you mentioned the fecal test came back clean? I'm guessing the problem IS worms. What wormer did they prescribe? One dose of antibiotics isn't going to do anything...you should use it as prescribed.
 

Lifewithchicks

Songster
Mar 11, 2018
133
123
136
Texas
May I ask why the vet prescribed a wormer when you mentioned the fecal test came back clean? I'm guessing the problem IS worms. What wormer did they prescribe? One dose of antibiotics isn't going to do anything...you should use it as prescribed.

She said tapeworms wouldn’t show up. I think the vet prescribed both because she didn’t know what else to do. The dewormer is Panacur.

Another thing, she has had poopy butt. She did have diarrhea and now she’s been stuck in this box, but I’ve read if it’s vent gleet, you should never give antibiotics? I definitely don’t want to do more harm than good.
 

Lifewithchicks

Songster
Mar 11, 2018
133
123
136
Texas
Greetings Lifewithchicks,

The standard weight for a Buff Orpington is 8 lbs. Having said that, this is an average weight. Things are not always text book. I have two Buff Orpingtons, they are 1 year and two months old. One is 5.9 lbs. and her sister is 8 lbs., but, yes your girl is very underweight. However, this is not something that happened in just a week. It sounds more like your hen has had an infection for at least 2 or more weeks.

Eating that snake may have been difficult for your hen to digest, and has been lingering in the gizzard. This can make a hen very sick. I saw a thread over a month ago, a chicken pooped out and entire baby snake, undigested! Talk about biting off more than you can chew!

It sounds like the hen is improving, slowly. You should be consistent with the antibiotic treatment prescribed by your vet. Don't try to rush the healing, or your hen can relapse. It could take her up to 6 days before she is well enough to be more active. Healing is a process, once the hen is pooping better, you will have to get her weight up. She cannot compete for food right now, and is not strong enough to defend herself, if the other hens decide to harass her. And, you should be present when you re-introduce her to the flock.

If you have to be gone for the day, place her where she will have access to food and water, and especially where she will be safe. Turn on a radio for her while you're gone, it will be soothing and keep her company too.

Believe me, I know how inconvenient it is to have a sick hen. Having 5 sick hens and a sick rooster, is worse. That's what I'm dealing with right now. Be patient, she must have been so critically ill.

These are my thoughts on your sick hen, hope they are helpful.

God Bless :)

P.S. Don't forget a three day course of probiotics after the antibiotics.


Thanks for your reply! I was researching last night and wondering if it could be vent gleet. She has had a gross poopy butt (but with diarrhea and being stuck in the sick box, I thought that was why). I’ve given a second bath to try to clean it up and am going to trim her butt feathers today. Also, my daughter mentioned that first day she started feeling bad that another hen was pecking at her butt. I’ve read you do not want to use antibiotics with vent gleet, and honestly my gut is just saying not to.
 

Lifewithchicks

Songster
Mar 11, 2018
133
123
136
Texas
Greetings Lifewithchicks,

The standard weight for a Buff Orpington is 8 lbs. Having said that, this is an average weight. Things are not always text book. I have two Buff Orpingtons, they are 1 year and two months old. One is 5.9 lbs. and her sister is 8 lbs., but, yes your girl is very underweight. However, this is not something that happened in just a week. It sounds more like your hen has had an infection for at least 2 or more weeks.

Eating that snake may have been difficult for your hen to digest, and has been lingering in the gizzard. This can make a hen very sick. I saw a thread over a month ago, a chicken pooped out and entire baby snake, undigested! Talk about biting off more than you can chew!

It sounds like the hen is improving, slowly. You should be consistent with the antibiotic treatment prescribed by your vet. Don't try to rush the healing, or your hen can relapse. It could take her up to 6 days before she is well enough to be more active. Healing is a process, once the hen is pooping better, you will have to get her weight up. She cannot compete for food right now, and is not strong enough to defend herself, if the other hens decide to harass her. And, you should be present when you re-introduce her to the flock.

If you have to be gone for the day, place her where she will have access to food and water, and especially where she will be safe. Turn on a radio for her while you're gone, it will be soothing and keep her company too.

Believe me, I know how inconvenient it is to have a sick hen. Having 5 sick hens and a sick rooster, is worse. That's what I'm dealing with right now. Be patient, she must have been so critically ill.

These are my thoughts on your sick hen, hope they are helpful.

God Bless :)

P.S. Don't forget a three day course of probiotics after the antibiotics.

Just took these of her. Set her right off the back porch to eat and stretch her legs and she ran out (quite a way and through a fence) to see her sisters. A good sign, hopefully!! She doesn’t look like 4 lbs does she?!
 

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Eggcessive

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I will just point out that chickens can suffer from a variety of illnesses and conditions, and the longer they live, the more of these we can see. I had no sickness in my flock for the first few years, but as they got over 2 or 3, I began to see an occasional death or reproductive problem. I have never seen coccidiosis or Mareks, so I feel lucky. At 5 years I saw my first crop problem. My flock now is 5-7 years old, and I have lost 4 in the last 2 months to various causes during a severe winter. Most have had ascites or suspected internal laying, and another has had a crop problem for several weeks. Doing a necropsy can help you learn a lot.

Some chickens suffer from egg binding, prolapse which I have not seen, but respiratory and intestinal diseases can be common in backyard flocks. Crop problems can occur on their own or can accompany other diseases.

Years ago, most people killed their chickens and ate them at some point, and raised new chicks from their best layers. Today many of us want to treat our backyard flocks until they die of old age, but as they grow older, we will see more problems.
 

Wyorp Rock

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suddenly lethargic and very puffed up, not eating or drinking. Tail tucked. Her comb didn’t look good and she had diarrhea.

fecal test came back clean and they didn’t feel an egg. No mites or lice. Empty crop. Prescribed a wormer and antibiotic. She only weighed 4 lbs

eating little bits here and there and drinking. Her comb is red again and her poops are more normal.

How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. It was very watery but is pretty normal now.

Epsom salt, charcoal, acv and probiotics. The vet prescribed wormer and antibiotic. I have given the wormer but been leery about the antibiotic and she only had one dose.

she has had poopy butt. She did have diarrhea and now she’s been stuck in this box, but I’ve read if it’s vent gleet, you should never give antibiotics? I definitely don’t want to do more harm than good.

One thing I don't see you mention is if she is still laying eggs? When was the last egg-are her eggs normal (hard shell/no problems with soft shell)?
Does she have any swelling/bloat or feeling of fluid in the abdomen?
Can you post some photos of the vent - what you think may be vent gleet?
Is her crop emptying overnight?

At 4years old, she may be developing some reproductive problems or she may have been having trouble with a soft shell egg (a lot of time you don't see those if they are deflated/the other chickens will snatch and eat those). Since you notice the others were picking at her vent - have you examine it for any injuries?

What antibiotic did the vet prescribe? It's totally up to you whether or not you want to use them. It sounds like your vet was trying to cover all bases - worms and infection, so if you feel she does not need them, then save those for future use;)
 

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