Hen won't eat, very thin, lethargic ... gurgling sound!


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 21, 2008
Mill Valley CA
I got some good advice from Cammy last night (Thanks) and today I have been alternately giving her yogurt or ACV diluted, with a dropper. She drinks willingly when I do this, but otherwise sits or stands with her head and tail low, just staring blankly. She won't eat oatmeal and yogurt or bannanas, or her feed... I thought she might be egg bound, but do not feel an egg in her abdomen, and she is so darn skinny, I can't imagine that I wouldn't feel it. I did wash her rear in a warm bath twice this week, it was messy, and this morning held her on a heating pad..... any other thoughts ? Thanks!! Oh yeah, and I have noticed a gurgling sound when I feed her.... her crop is empty
Gurgle or crackle sounds are lung or sinus issues. If you can here it in the chest it's lung, in the head - sinus. Lun usually needs an antibiotic to clear it up. Fairly common but can get worse and cause death if not treated. Terramycin I believe will help (it's an antibiotic). If it's sinus use Sulmet. Better prognosis if it's that. Make sure she's drinking. Even if you have to get water into her with a syringe. Put her in a warm quiet place. Good luck
The gurgle is only when I am force feeding her water and ACV or yogurt mash.... there is no labored breathing, no gook or snot, no sneezing, her eyes are clear and bright .... Am I wrong in thinking that there would be some sort of cold symptom too if it were a lung or sinus thing ??
If the gurgle is only when you force feed her she is getting it in her lungs and it will surely kill her. She might have pneumonia. Can you get her to a vet for an x-ray?

Please start from the beginning. What are her symptoms? When did they start? Is there a problem with her crop? Give us everything you can so we can help.
She is one of three hens, they share a large coop, with wood shavings, and run with dirt, where I occasionally dust with DE or ag. lime... a constant supply of crumble and water, oyster shell, they free range for a varied amount of time every day, and get healthy leftover table scraps, and a scoop of scratch. They have all been extremely healthy and active....

She is about 8 1/2 months old. About a week ago, I noticed that she was less aggressive about eating. At that time her crop was visibly full. Her comb was reddening and she was starting to squat for us, so I thought she might finally give us some of those chocolate brown eggs we are waiting for.
A couple of days later I saw that her rear was poopy, so I gave her a warm bath, the poo was very yellow, I thought maybe it was egg? Her vent seemed healthy, but more messy rear and another bath two days later..... Stopped eating, unless it was oatmeal and granola... but never enough to fill her crop. She stopped going out of the coop to play, just stands there, or sits with tail low. When I checked on her at night, she was sleeping in the shavings below her roost...

I brought her in, got hip to Apple Cider Vinegar, have been administering liqiuds and yogurts with dropper... Not exactly force feeding her, just letting her lap it off the dropper slow and steady, she likes it.... last feeding tonight, she actually gobbled some up that spilled on the towel. But still just stands there.... Poo is less watery and more yogurt like....

The gurgling sound only happened a couple of times, I thought sounded like a rumbly tummy ? Her crop is empty.

Oh, and when I checked on her right before bed, she was panting slightly... It's been cold out and we have a fire warming the house tonight, she is not next to the fire, but in a warm room.

Sorry for the lengthy post, and Thanks so much for any advice !!!
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A lengthy post about what is going on is better than a short one. Don't need to apologize.

What does her crop feel like? Is it empty, hard, does it feel like there is wadded up grass in there?

Any odor coming from her mouth?

Think back to the yellow poop. Could it have been an egg?

I'm trying to find out if she has a crop problem or an egg broken inside her.
So got up the nerve to stick my finger in her vent to check for shell fragments.... did not feel any.. wondering if I went deep enough ( past my first knuckle, maybe an inch and a half ?? ) So if that was done correctly, no internal broken egg.

I recall her crop being very full at the onset to this illness... but unfortunately did not really pay too much attention at the time.... Now her crop is so empty I cannot find it.

She is now having trouble standing.

I am continuing to administer liquids and soft watered down food....

No signs of respiratory distress ( last night she panted for a little, but it was warm in the house..)

Still yellow green watery sick looking poops

Should I get antibiotics ? just as a maybe? Where does one get chicken antibiotics? Other than paying loads of money to the vet.

Thanks for your support

oh... and the gurgle really only occurs when I give her mash or liquid... she burped too
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If you have someone who can help you, open the birds mouth and look down inside her throat. (Just like the real doctors do when you go in for a physical)

You might want to wear rubber or latex gloves especially if you decided to look into another birds mouth to compare.

Did your bird have any changes in her behavior before the these symptoms. Vomiting or water falling out of mouth, twitching of the head, stretching neck and yawning, runs to eat but then pretends she is eating, standing and sleeping in the day.

Your in Mill Valley? Where do you buy your birds? or chicks?
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OK... I'll look down her throat... but what am I looking for ?

I got her and another at Ranch Hag Hens in Petaluma... my first batch of girls at Penngrove Hay and Feed...

Prior to the messy rear and not eating no symptoms, but since sleeps alot and not on her perch or roost
Hi. Sorry to hear of your sick girl. Do you worm your chickens? Worms can make them quite poorly. Since the first symptoms you noted were gastrointestinal, I'm thinking that way first. Wazine in the water works very quickly, and you'd see results (literally) quickly. The "chicken doctor" Peter Brown from first state vet supply gave me a great sick time food recipe. Blend hard boiled egg, plain yogurt, warm water and some electrolyte powder in a blender, and feed that through a dropper or syringe. I guess bright, grass green diarrhea can be bile from them not eating, so green can be misleading. Keep us posted. Laureen

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