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Hen Possibly Dying

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tenderkat, May 18, 2011.

  1. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, here I go again, fumbling through another post.

    It appears as though Lily is in a state of decline. I guess I should fill in on some history. I have been dealing with some flock issues for quite some time, and I have been trying to address them as best I know how. Basically, I have deloused the girls and their coop two weeks ago, and I gave them Wazine on Mother's Day. This Sunday they are due for their dose of Albendazole. I have been giving them ACV several times a week for months, and I have also been puting a garlic infusion in one of their waterers as well. I have switched their feed to a mix of Layena and Flock Raiser, and I've stopped offering scratch and cut down on extra treats and human food.

    A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Lily was sitting huddled with her tail down. Her belly also seemed a bit swollen. She had been having some greenish/white diarhhea off and on for about a month, with no other symptoms. Eating and drinking fine, active and alert, bright-eyed, no sneezing or disharge, everything normal. Upon inspection, I realized that she was infested with lice, so this is when I treated the whole flock. I also tried to palpate her abdomen as best I could, but I really don't know what i'm feeling around for. After the lice treatment, she seemed to perk up and was a bit more normal with her stance. I assumed that it was the lice making her so uncomfortable, and thought that I might just be imagining a larger belly, as I'm not really sure what size a chicken's belly is supposed to be. I did the first stage of worming, and I was truly hoping that with this coming Sunday's worming, everything would get better.

    So, the day before yesterday I was spending some time out with my girls, and there sat Lily. Huddled again, and her breathing seems labored. No noises, just like she's having a harder time breathing. And her belly is DEFINITELY larger than what it should be. I have done about as much research as I can, and 'too much information' is setting in. I have explored the possibility of Lymphoid Leukosis, salpingitis, peritonitus, and various other disorders. Nothing seems to fit exactly. Obviously, her abdomen is extremely distended with something, but I'm not sure what. I had thought that her ascites could be attributed to our higher altitude, but wouldn't the whole flock be suffering? Also, her comb and wattle look good, not cyanotic. I suppose it could be peritonitus, as I have been having egg production issues since last summer, and I have not caught lily in the nest boxes for as long as I can remember.

    There are not any avian vets locally, and I honestly couldn't afford to take her in even if I found one. A friend of mine was having chicken issues a while back, and called around everywhere. She found one vet that agreed to see her chicken, but she said he really didn't seem to know what he was doing. And, attempting to drain Lily's belly is not an option. I don't have the supplies, and I can't find anyone who has the time or stomach to help me. I don't at all feel confident in attempting this on my own. I've spent all my money on the wormers, so purchasing any type of antibiotic is not possible either.

    Please know, that I am trying my best to make everything right with my girls. I feel horribly helpless in doing anything for Lily. And I'm sure that the panting and labored breathing is a sign that she's on her way out. Please, if there is anything that anyone can suggest, I would be so appreciative. I guess anything that might help Lily along more comfortably, I don't want her last days to be so painful. Are there any signs that she might exhibit indicating severe pain? Am I going to have to 'euthanize' her? I have no idea how I would do that!!

    I had thought that I might need to remove her from the flock. I have a cat carrier I could put her in, but it would be tough to find a safe place in our tiny little house away from the cats and dogs. Plus, if she is going to die I don't her to be alone away from her sisters when she does.

    Please, any advice?!!
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  2. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry this is happening to you and lilly. has she been laying lately? could see be egg bound or worse internal laying. if egg bound a warm bath would help her, even if she is not a warm bath may relax her. I don't know if I could kill one of my girls either, if it is necessary could your vet do it with an injection? I hope someone here has some advice for you, I wish you and lilly well
     
  3. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, unfortunately I can't take her to a vet.

    I have not seen Lily in the nest boxes at all this year, but I have been having egg production problems for a very long time. Alot of soft-shelled eggs on the droppings board, and I'm not sure who is laying when. How would I know if she is eggbound? Could she be eggbound for a couple of weeks? I've felt her belly, but I don't feel any solid masses in her. Would it be worth it to give her a bath anyways, just to see if anything comes out? I'm more inclined to think it's internal laying or some form of other ascites.

    One thing I forgot to mention was an incident back at the end of March. I had posted about it, but didn't get any answers as to what might be causing it. For several days I had some fleshy, shell-less bloody 'eggs' and masses on the droppings board. I never found out who it was, and it seemed to resolve itself. Might this have been Lily?

    Gosh, I'm still on the fence about trying to drain her!! I have no idea how to do that, and I have nobody that is willing to help me. Can I do this by myself? How do I get the fluid to come out? What size needle and where do I get it? Do I just poke her and let her run around the coop as it drains?! Is it possible for me to do more damage and hurt her if I do it wrong?
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd recommend you start with the eggbound threads linked on the FAQ page, and I'll give you a link to a good thread about internal layers. If you want to do a search, Speckledhen has had a lot of problems like this and has been kind enough to write extensively about them here. And yes I'd try the bath, if only to relax her and clean her up, and examine her a little more closely.

    You could do the draining if it is ascites. You'd need to get a firm football hold on her; feed stores carry syringes and needles; you'd probably want an 18 guage needle and about a 6 ml syringe for this. You'll most likely have to pull the fluid out yourself, gently. But keep in mind that what may be in there is a tumor or mass of internally laid eggs, which will not have fluid to drain, or very little. Perhaps you can tell better after a bath whether it is fluid or solid in there.
    I have not dealt with this stuff myself but have read a lot of info on here about it. Good luck.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=79443&p=1

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=413688 (graphic, necropsy photos)
     
  5. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks so much! I've read through some of Speckled Hens posts, and she did give alot of info. It seems like such a discouraging possibility, but perhaps if I can get the draining thing right she'll be a bit more comfortable.

    If I give Lily a bath, would the cat carrier be okay to keep her in afterwards? It is cold and drizzly out for the next couple of days, I don;t want her to catch a chill. I could keep her in my son's room with the door closed against the cats and dogs, but will she get lonely or scared by herself? I don't want to traumatize her any more than necessary.
     
  6. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes you must keep her warm until she dries. They really like a bath, most hens anyway, I have one that acts like you are trying to kill her with a bath, the others love it, she will let you know, make sure the water is not to hot for her. if you decide to drain her don't insert the needle to far, the fluid should be just below the skin/fat layer, if you see green, blood, stool in the syringe you are probally in the intestines, good luck
     
  7. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ohhhh, just looked outside. The poor girl is just hunched up on the ground, breathing really heavy. I need to go to work, and won't be back until after 2 pm. Should I just put her in the cat crate, and bring her in?! How would I leave water for her? Might she freak out? Or, would she be better off outside with her sisters? The other girls are all up off the ground on the outside perch. It is so chilly and damp out there right now!!
     
  8. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    are they attacking her? seem very interested in her new behavior? if so, I would put her in the crate in the coop so she can see the others but be safe, put a small dish with water in the crate and a hand full of feed, put shaving in the crtae so she has a nest to keep her warmer, maybe put a towel over the top holes, keeping the front open so she can see the others
     
  9. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, they are leaving her alone. They seem to be oblivious to her condition, so maybe it's not as critical as I think it is? I guess I'll just leave her out with them, and do the bath thing when I get home. After the bath, should I keep her inside overnight?
     
  10. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes, you must keep her warm until she dries, she is already weak so you don't want to add another stress for her to deal with, also I would give her some electrolyte solution in her water for added strength
     

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