I think Ellie may be sick- heavy molt, no energy, 1/2 hearted appetite

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jjthink, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    At first I thought it was the heavy molt - for the past few days she has been ejecting feathers like her life depended on it. Looks like a major pillow fight around here. Hundreds and hundreds of feathers. So I expect somewhat less energy at this time.

    While she is eager for mealworms and gobbled up some cut up grape, her usual gusto for other foods is waning, today being the worst (she has regular chicken food available at all times, of course, but I can tell her appetite is off because she is not her usual eager self about sunflower seeds and other things that she would normally squeal with delight over). She and BJ snuck some cat food in the past few days when they managed to get into the kitchen - I didn't stop them because of the added protein being good during a molt, and it's very high end catfood. Usually I don't allow a whole lot of this because of concerns that salt content might be too high in catfood. She doesn;t like eggs or I'd give her some protein that way.

    Mostly Ellie just stands inside her building in a dark corner, her buddy BJ roo loyally and quietly at her side (he's further along in his molt - has stopped dropping feathers and is in the porcupine phase right now). This afternoon happens to be gorgeous and it's very odd that they're not outside and that she's not sunbathing. She did a little of that yesterday though. But mostly just sat around.

    She stopped laying eggs a few days before she began molting, as I expected she would, and as she did last year, so hopefully it's not an egg issue. I did think I saw the teeniest bit of sulfur colored material on her butt feathers yesterday but all poo has been pretty much normal. She is not, however, pooing as much since she's not eating as much. Did make me wonder if she might have an infection needing meds.

    Avia Charge 2000 is in their water.

    The day before yetserday there was a terrible windstorm all day. A branch came down right where Ellie was standing and I thought she might have gotten hit but then I saw she was several feet away; whether she moved before or after the branch came down I don't know. She seemed okay. So I am also supposing that if she got hit, she might have a bad headache. 99% of that day they spent indoors because the wind scared them. This incident happened in the 5 minute timeframe they were outside (naturally). If this is her problem, I don't know what to do except wait. Possibly pain relief though I would have to hope she didn't have any internal bledding from being whacked.

    Whoever said chickens were easy must have been on antidepressants! They are such a worry sometimes!

    So this note is just to commiserate with those who understand. Not really sure what to do except watch and wait. And doesn't it just figure that I have to be out much of the next 2 days a distance north of my place. Has to do with helping my folks with something important or I would stay put. Will be here each end of the day to tend to the birds and kitties but that's about it so I hope Ellie will not get worse as I won't be able to watch her very closely (and of course, nor will vets be open)....

    Ugh, going to go check on her.
    [​IMG]
    JJ

    Edited to say p.s. a couple of times in the past few days she's made kind of a goose honking sound, as though something she swallowed got caught. Today she did it shortly after I hgave her several mealworms so I thought it might be that some flakes of wheat bran were an irritant. Gave her some cut up grapes to "wash it down" - it subsided a little while later. Probably nothing - who the heck knows.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  2. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

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    [​IMG] Bless your heart!
    Hopefully Ellie is just tired and worn out from feathering stress, and will be fine.



    I have a hen that honks like a goose from time to time. Almost a cough but not quite. She's fine. Coincidently, she's molting at the moment too. But seems to be eating okay and does NOT want hugs or attention unless bread is involved.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  3. bwebb7

    bwebb7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just wonder if bread/olive oil wouldn't soothe her and moisten her throat and stop the honkin?
    I hope she does well while your away.
     
  4. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Take a look down her throat with a good light. Check as far as you can see for lesions or odd color spots. Hope you figure this out quickly. Sending good vibes to you and her.
     
  5. beckt

    beckt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Judy, I know where you are coming from. So many of mine are molting right now to. They seem to just go and hide as much as they can. Poor girls. I would just keep an eye on her and see how it goes. That BJ is such the gentleman I must say. Huggs to them both.
     
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you kind folks. [​IMG]
    Ellie and BJ were ready for bed when I got home but I'm planning to give bread and olive oil before leaving in the morning, in addition to the usual stuff. I try to do that at least once a week and it's time.
    Will update hopefully with better news over the weekend.
    Many thanks.
    JJ

    Theresa, it's interesting and comforting to hear that your girls hide too - I don't hear of that so much so I'm glad you mentioned it. Maybe, just maybe, it's the molt. And thanks about BJ - he is the consumate gentleman - stands next to her not moving a muscle, her reliable guy. She wouldn't have it any other way, and this was a hen that had never met a boy before she came to live with BJ. At first she had no use for him - didn't know what he was, really - and now she's in love!
     
  7. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    Awww JJ ...I think when a bird goes through a molt, they get very sensitive about everything....I have a hen going through one right now, and she's so unsure about things, that she didn't want to go into the coop at night, suddenly she wanted the crabapple tree!! I had to get her out of that habit right away. She's good now and goes into the coop with the others....

    You never know how they're going to react.....As long as you give them comfort and love....which I'm sure you do! They should be fine. And of course the goodies that help them out is good too! Mine love the extra protein...black sunflower seeds, salmon (from my cesar salad, including the salad I couldn't finish) ([​IMG] bonus!) a little cheese, and whatever meat scraps that don't offend....[​IMG] It's all good!

    Hope Ellie will feel fine soon! And of course her trusty boyfriend can relax also! [​IMG]
     
  8. bwebb7

    bwebb7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How is Ellie today? Hope she is a little perkier.
     
  9. vnploveschickens

    vnploveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Hi JJ, I hope Ellie is feeling better today. I hope you and BJ are ok too.
     
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi and thanks so very much for checking in on little Ellie. [​IMG]

    I don't know what to make of her situation.... yet. The lack of eating is the most worrisome. This problem began, along with her reclusive behavior, when she dropped feathers like crazy. The molt would be consistent with everything other than the lack of appetite, which is why I am concerned that something else may be going on.

    I was able to get her to eat some mealworms today but she almost rejected them too. She picked up and dropped the first one several times before getting into the swing of things and then she gobbled a bunch (she normally inhales them). She had a lackluster reaction to sunflower seeds, normally a favorite. I didn't offer more than a few anyway, in case she has a crop issue and needed to go easy on all but easy-to-digest food. I put ACV in their water today and yesterday. She had some olive oil soaked bread yesterday and the day before, in case of crop issue. But she didn't want much of it. BJ gobbled down some soft defrosted and warmed cut up cherries today (given periodically as treat and for possible gout) and she normally would too but was barely interested today. Doesn't look like she is touching the chicken food available 24/7. I withdrew access to cat food the last couple days in case she was having any issues from that (as she had snuck some in the few days prior), though this means protein is reduced (except for the mealworms, I suppose..funny, you'd think mealworms would be essentially wheat bran because that's what they eat...though that would mean I am essentially comprised of chocolate)

    The weather was gorgeous when Ellie started getting strange like this (hiding inside during sunny warm weather tipped me off right away) but now it's cold and gloomy, which doesn't help. To attempt to cheer her I put a fresh new straw slice on the floor of the building within which their coop building resides. She went to town today exploring the straw, so that was good.

    I just don't know.

    I'm supplying a little supplemental heat these last few nights so she doesn't have to exert energy to stay warm on top of whatever is going on. It's also kind of cold and she has a bare bum and other spots from the molt. She dropped fewer feathers today than the previous days so will see what happens as that process winds down, though she has a lot of feather growing to do. She has just the beginnings of what I like calling the "porcupine quills".

    BJ has still not left her side and she draws comfort from him standing or lying right next to her at all times.
    JJ
     

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