hen with heavy breathing and leaning

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by seaside chickens, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. seaside chickens

    seaside chickens New Egg

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    Jan 1, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    This is the first post that I've made to the forum. I have a nine-month old white rock hen who has started to show some strange behavior over the past couple days. Today, she has stayed in the coop, is breathing heavily (not panting or gasping, just deep breaths) and is leaning to one side with her leg out (note that I have noticed that she rests like this quite often since we've had her). She did a little of this yesterday but was also outside some of the time, walking, eating, acting normally. I have not seen her walk or tried to make her walk today. She's one of 7 hens...all free range with lots of space. None of them ever really stay in the coop during the day unless they are laying. We have never found any eggs from this hen either. Not sure if she has a hidden spot outside of the coop that we haven't found yet since that has happened with two of the others (we got them to start laying in the coop). Anyway, any suggestions of what this behavior might mean or any additional things to look out for would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much!
     
  2. TheNewMrsEvans

    TheNewMrsEvans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If she is of laying age she could be egg-bound. Feel her body (gently!!!) from behind her ribs and further back...it should be soft, give when you feel it...if not or you actually feel a hard thing in there she is likely egg-bound. We've had success in bringing them in the house to warm up...make her a cosy box/kennel in a warm part of your house where you can watch her. Give her a few teaspoons of veggie oil with a syringe...don't really understand why this works but it seems to help them push it out. Sometimes it won't come out whole and you actually see some yolk coming out their bum before the smooshed shell does.
    Keep us updated.
     
  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you know if she's eating and drinking? What does her poo look like? It would be a wise decision to separate her, put a heat lamp on her if it's cold, and monitor her, which is easier to do if she's separated. If she's sick, she needs the quiet time to heal.
     
  4. seaside chickens

    seaside chickens New Egg

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    Jan 1, 2009
    Thanks to both of you. I will keep an eye on her today and check for signs of being egg-bound. This morning, she remained on the perch when I let the other out, exhibiting the same behaviors. Thanks!
     
  5. TheNewMrsEvans

    TheNewMrsEvans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any discharge or weird poos? Hard abdomen? Did you try giving her the oil...sounds weird, I know, but it wouldn't hurt her anyway...
    At least she perched! Good luck
     
  6. seaside chickens

    seaside chickens New Egg

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    I just spent some time with her outside. I moved her out of the coop - initially she reluctantly walked around a bit (seemed normal), then she just laid down, fluffed up in the sun and stayed. About an hour later she was walking around the yard and she readily ate some cracked corn that I threw to her. I watched her for a while and she only pooped once...the tiniest chicken poop I've ever seen. Literally like the size of a pea...no blood. She has a bare patch on her abdomen...it looks like a brood patch in a wild bird but I think it's because she's been laying down so much on that spot. The lower part of her abdomen feels very hard and does seem a little swollen but honestly, I don't know what to look for really. I compared how she feels to my other white rock...I don't feel anything like an actual egg further down towards her vent. She continues to walk around the yard but leans on just about everything she brushes up against...always to the same side. Breathing seems to be normal now. No other discharge or anything. Thanks for the input...I will continue to monitor her.
     
  7. seaside chickens

    seaside chickens New Egg

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    Update on the leaning hen - we found her dead this morning in the coop. She seemed to be improving yesterday but I guess not. I've done necropsies on wild birds before, so I'm going to give it a try on her and see if I can tell what might have happened. I'll keep you posted. Thanks.
     
  8. williesgirls

    williesgirls New Egg

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    Jan 11, 2009
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    I feel your sadness. I found our famous "Hedi" acting very slugglish this afternoon. I went to check on her again and she was gasping for air every third breath and she was lying on her side in the run. I took her into the hen house and made up her bed and laid her in it and sat with her for a while and she did drink some water for me. I checked back later and she had passed. [​IMG] We have seven other chickens and they are fine??? there was no bloody poop, bare butt, nothing? What is wierd she was the biggest out of the group?

    SO I had a mini funeral this afternoon with the seven chickens and my two girls and we made a "burial area" including head stone. It was sweet but very sad to loose "Hedi".
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  9. luvarabhorses

    luvarabhorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What was the result of your autopsy?
     
  10. TheNewMrsEvans

    TheNewMrsEvans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think most of the time they don't show any problem until it's too late. That's the way prey animals are...The leaning hen may have even had a stroke, and there's nothing you could do for her.

    I'm also sorry you lost Heidi...sometimes you just can't do anything for them, something internal just turned off. Any high production chickens have weak hearts, that's why most die early. Just be proud you provided them a happy life while they were here, unlike most chickens in this country. [​IMG]
     

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