I think my hen is dying...dry cough, feather loss..help


9 Years
May 19, 2010
Franklin, TN
We lost a hen yesterday (Bob, a GLW) and another of our hens (the other GLW) shows the same symptoms. I've had her at the vet and they tell me it's the dry dusty heat combined with a possible viral infection.
Symptoms are a dry barking cough, loss of feathers and a loss of appetite. She is still eating and drinking some, and moving around just fine. But this cough is awful sounding - makes her whole neck stretch out. And last night and this morning there were feathers everywhere in the coop and in the yard.
It got really bad last night and of course there are no vets open on the weekend, at least not ones that treat chickens around here.
We treated the water for the whole flock with antibiotics for a week to prevent secondary infections.
I don't know what to do at this point. They have shelter, shade, water, and a fan at night. It is very very hot (upper 90's) and dry but they have good conditions otherwise. I've put watermelon out, and plain yogurt to help with moisture as well as other fruits.
I just don't know what to do. When Bob died yesterday - we found her laying up in the trees. I fear Hootie is next. The rest of the flock does not show any of these symptoms. I was going to separate her but I don't really have a set up for this and they've been together the whole time anyway I doubt it would make much of a difference.
It started with just a little cough, then all of a sudden got really bad with the 2 of them, then Bob died.
Does this sound familiar to anyone, and if so, what can I do?
I'm really sorry to hear about the loss and that your hen is so sick. Even a dog crate or a large cardboard box could be used to sequester her for a while. You could add some electrolytes to the water, which could be helpful to all the chickens in hot weather.
I don't have a crate but I can borrow one - I'm just hoping she makes it through the night - I didn't see electrolytes at TSC when I was there earlier - where do you get those? Is there a brand name or something I could get at a health food store?
@ChickensAreSweet - no, I have not noticed gasping for air - she has been panting a bit but all of them have in this heat - she hasn't any more than the rest.
I was planning on worming the whole flock tomorrow (one of my other girls has had runny poop so I'm doing a preventative for all based on my vets recommendation). This hen seems to be pooping fine, and ate some plain yogurt & watermelon earlier today. But the feather loss and cough are pretty bad.
I did find a dog crate and a friend is dropping it by later. I am planning on bringing her inside where it is cool and keeping her quiet, hopefully.
I wish I knew what it was but I can't seem to find an answer. All the vet could suggest was the dry heat.
It does not seem like a productive cough which is what most of the stuff I've found online talks about.
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