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I hope I didn't just Create an Emergency!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by yeye5, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hen, Lucy, who is def up there in age but to give a perspective she recently (I can't believe it!) started laying about one egg every 7-10 days.
    She's slow to get moving...never fights over food or whose turn it is to get the 1st (exactly same) nibbles of food...
    This morning I opened up that coop, everyone else came rushing out and I noticed Lucy not coming out (of the night pen--that coop has a fully enclosed night pen and a free range area connected). I distracted the others tossing food everywhere then went to check on Lucy. I went over every inch of her body--no injuries or anything different that I could see. I checked her vent, nothing odd that I could notice. Yet she was in a "hunkered down" position and when I tried to set her on her feet she didn't want to stand up, just to sit back down--not falling over--just wanted to be on the ground.
    Immediately I got a shallower water dish and placed it in front of her, showed her. I brought normal food (laying pellets) and added a bit of crumbled graham cracker which she ate happily.
    Of course I took into account the various things, anything different...it's been much hotter here in the day than last week, jumped from the 80's to 90'd in no time. I changed the water yesterday. I can only see that as a good thing...
    The bottom line is that she seems uninjured yet weak...acting like the "old lady" that she is in terms of years old, but nobody gets old over night.
    So I'm trying to puzzle thru what has set this off.
    This evening when I went to close up that coop, she was in the same place.
    To make matters worse, one of the roos in that grouping actually tried to mount her and do the "dance"! Lucy was too weak or beyond it to put up any fight.
    That told me right then and there, that if it was possile to help her feel/get better I had to move her away from the roo who was "insensitive" to say the least. So...crazy me.
    I got the others situated and their pen closed. Meanwhile I had an arm full of Lucy.
    The only other place I could think of that would be either neutral or maybe benefit her was with the chicks that are borrowing the guest bathroom!

    My title to this post is that I hope I haven't created an emergency. That is very true.
    I am going on the assumption that whatever happened to Lucy was a matter of her co-inhaitants rather than a disease process.
    What I did?
    I put her on top of the heating pad in the little enclosure I made for 10 chicks I'd gotten (hatched end of march so now 3 1/2 weeks old approx).
    My thinking? The chicks are still of an age to interact with Lucy, maybe tucking themselves under her feathers etc.
    My fear: if something is going on with Lucy that is other than age and over breeding by the male(s) then it's safe for her.

    That is such a too-long narrative.
    But I think it gets my point accross.
    Lucy has been on the heating pad in the same enclosure as the "bathroom chicks" for aout 1 hour.

    Have I put the chicks at risk?
    Does anyone have recommendations for Lucy--to help her recover her good health?
    I really need and wou;d appreciate as much help and advice as is possible!

    I thank anyone ahead of time for their feedback.
    I'm just so worried...about Lucy, about the chicks. I am looking to learn what to do and not do in the future (knowing I've acted in a sort of wreckless way).
    I just need help. That's the whole of it.
    Thank you for reading this unnecessarily long post!
     
  2. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you were right to move Lucy to a quiet warm spot to recover but I think it always best to err on the side of caution with a sick animal and I would separate her from the chicks. It might not be anything communicable so you may not have any issues with them together but better safe than sorry.

    Any warm quiet spot will probably be fine. If she is really that lethargic and out of it, a quiet place to rest might be just what she needs. Keep giving her water and food and monitor her condition. I have a 6 year old lakenvelder who suddenly became lethargic and lost her appetite this spring. It was an infection, but she fought it off on her own with a little TLC.

    I hope Lucy recovers quickly!
     
  3. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for both your critiques and your compassion!
    You touched upon a few issues which I'd like to follow up on What IF Lucy has some sort of bacterial or other infection? How could I find out? Then, what can I do--if anything--about that?
    And if that would e so, how could that be negotiated?

    At present, they are together but they're not interacting much at all...
     
  4. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It can be difficult to determine the specific cause of illness in chickens. It's really a treat-and-see kind of venture in most cases. Start with the simplest problem and work your way toward the rarer more serious issues.

    Discolored or runny poop can be an indicator of infection. Contact with contaminated fecal matter would be my biggest concern with having the chicks near by. I eventually took my hen to a vet for a fecal test and blood work. Fecal tests were negative but the blood test showed a low white cell count and some deformed red cells consistent with an infection.However, by the time I got the results she was already on the mend.
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    How old is she?
    What breed is she?
    You mention that she has recently started laying egg again?
    When you inspected her, did you feel her abdomen - any bloat, swelling, feeling like it has fluid in it, etc.?
    Is she pooping?

    Being hunched and she's started to lay eggs, it's possible that she may be having trouble passing an egg or have an internal laying/reproductive disorder like Peritonitis, Ascites, cancer or tumors.

    Keep her separated. If she is lethargic acting very ill, the chicks may stress her - not sure about that - you would know better about her temperament/behavior than I would. Provide her with some poultry vitamins and try to keep her hydrated. Extra protein like egg or tuna in addition to the normal feed is usually welcomed when a hen is not feeling well.


    Keep us posted.
     
  6. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lucy passed away during the night.
    Based on the suggestions I got here, I did move her away from the chicks. I had wondered about some egg related issue but I felt nothing swollen or different about her abdomen. RE appetite she hadn't lost her appetite, she was just lethargic and not seeking food. She ate treats when I brought them to her.
    I sort of suspected this would be what happened. A dive from old-lady normal to the way she was yesterday is never a good sign.
    She was a buff Orpington. I got her 2 1/2 to 3 years ago and was told she was old then. The person I got her from said she might lay an egg here and there but not to expect it.
    One thing I can say...Lucy enjoyed her life with me. She had great buddies and a huge area to play in. I will miss her very much.
    As for the chicks they seem fine. I'm glad I posted and got this feedback bcs right after reading the post from @Hishigata I move Lucy so I feel we dodged a bullet if it was infection of some sort.
     
  7. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do have one more question:
    It looks like another of my hens is about to go broody. Given that I don't have any facts about what happened to Lucy, would it be a bad idea to put one of her eggs into the clutch?
    On the one hand I'd love to have her offspring. On the other hand, could an egg she laid be contaminated in some, therefor risking the other eggs, hen etc?
    Thank you.
     
  8. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like Lucy lived to a ripe old age and had excellent care. She was a lucky girl to be adopted into your home.

    I have never hatched eggs as I cannot have roosters where I live. Usually hens stop laying when they are ill so it doesn't seem likely that her eggs would be contaminated. Maybe make a post in the "incubating and hatching eggs" forum and see if anyone there has more experience with these things. It would be cute to have baby chick from Lucy so a bit of her would continue on.
     
  9. yeye5

    yeye5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your kind words and sentiments! It's very comforting to have ppl who really do understand how much a feathered family member can mean. I'll always be in love with Lucy. She was an amazing being!
    I really appreciate it.
    I'll go ahead and ask this question on the thread you suggested.
    Thank you for the idea and kindness!
     
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm sorry for your loss.
     

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