Hen suddenly lethargic, shivering/shaking head, does not eat but drinks water

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by denz88, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. denz88

    denz88 New Egg

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    Jan 4, 2015
    Hi All,

    I made a post (link removed) to Reddit's BackYardChickens sub and someone suggested I post here. Thanks ahead of time for reading - any suggestion would be welcome.
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    We have a hen that's a half silkie breed that we raised from hatching- she's close to three years old now. Yesterday she looked all hunched up and wouldn't move much, but she still managed to jump to the perch. I assumed she was just cold as she kept shivering. She ate and drank fine. This morning she seemed significantly weaker, coming out only to drink water. I placed some of her feed, no go. Tried rice, bread, and watermelon, all to no avail. I moved her into the basement where it's quite a bit warmer. She slept in all day except for the few times I went to check on her. Each time she awoke her head would shake, shiver, and vibrate. I tried to see if I could place her on the edge of the box to get her to perch, but she seems to have trouble holding herself up.
    Didn't see any mites on her when I inspected visually but found a couple crawling on my hand. I've had birds with mites before and none of them ever deteriorated so quickly and so severely, so I'm wondering if something else is at play here? I've dusted her just now with poultry dust.
    Wondering if anyone else had seen similar cases. I'm in CT where it's been pretty chilly the past few days.
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    Summary details:
    - Crop is slightly soft, but there is no foul odor
    - Freshly dusted with medicated poultry this morning after discovering mites
    - No droppings after re-locating to indoors
    - No egg laid after re-locating to indoors
    - Slept most of the day
    - Difficulty standing up, not possible to perch anymore
    - No food ingested, only water
    - Shivering head- head movements to look around are stiff and mechanical
    - Vent seems OK on visual inspection, some droppings crusted on nearby feathers
    - Breathing on a "long" rhythm, as if meditating or maybe labored breathing, but not raspy
    - Waddle and comb pale
    - Not wormed (although safeguard is on hand to apply)
     
  2. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    We lost two of ours with the same symptoms although we didn't notice it until they were hours from dying. We wormed everyone right after we lost the first one and then a few weeks later lost the second one. We think they had worms and we just didn't get to them in time to save the second hen. The first was a RIR that was 2+ years old and an amazing layer. The second was a BO less than a year old and also laying consistently.

    Worm them all.
     
  3. denz88

    denz88 New Egg

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    Jan 4, 2015
    Steph, I'm sorry to hear that. We had another hen that was afflicted with worms, but the symptoms crept up slowly. We've avoided worming as we didn't want to contaminate the eggs with medication, but if worms can lead to death so quickly, I think it's better to forego the eggs than to lose our hen.
     
  4. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    Trust me in that it's better to lose some eggs than a hen. We were just out of the 10 day period when you can't eat the eggs when we lost the second one and of course the hens produced 30-40 eggs in that time and we had to toss them all. Oh it broke my heart to toss those eggs but it hurt much much more to lose that hen. They become little parts of the family very quickly.
     

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