Last-ditch attempt as saving my hen


6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
Hello. I was hoping you could give me some advice about one of our hens.

Athena, two years old, is starving herself to death. She first looked tired and puffed up about three weeks ago, and been to the vet twice, and there is nothing clinically wrong - no worms, infections, blockages or anything. She has just stopped eating and drinking and is now literally skin and bone.

For the last week we have given her warm baths to try to rehydrate her. She refuses all food (even mealworms!) and I’ve started syringe-feeding her with a high protein recovery diet from the vet. She will only take a few ml at a time.

She mostly sits with her head in her neck and closes her eyes. She’s getting too weak to stand. The other two are totally healthy, and they are not picking on her, but she doesn’t interact with them any more. This evening I had to put her into the roosting box as I think she was too weak to climb the ladder.

So, my question is, do you have a miracle cure?! anything I haven’t thought of, absolutely any last-ditch attempts to get her back? I am open to any and all suggestions!
Did your vet have any thoughts on the possibility of cancer? That is very common in chickens. It is easy enough to tube feed a chicken if you get the tube and syringe, along with the food. You can make a temporary tube out of aquarium air tubing or oxygen tubing and a regular syringe. A catheter tip syringe and a red rubber tube is larger and more easy to use with thick feed. KayTee baby bird feed is a common feed to use. They can be fed 2-3 times per day.

When I have one that is obviously sick and going down hill, I don’t usually tube feed them because I feel there is probably a good reason they are not eating. I usually put them down if they are suffering. Most of my sick chickens have had reproductive disorders, where their crops stopped working. A couple with cancer starved themselves, until I put them down.

You could try some vitamin B complex tablets—crushing 1/2 tablet daily and adding it to her food to see if that helps. Hopefully tubing her, she will respond and put on weight. A kitchen gram scale is helpful to keep tract of weight. If you lose her it would be good to do a necropsy or have your state poultry vet do one.
Thank you so much. Sadly Athena didn’t make it. I feel terrible but I helped her along a bit. She was my 11 year old’s pet and he was in bits about her suffering. I will get a bunch of bits for tube-feeding in case it’s needed in future. Thank you so much.

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