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Lethargic Chicken, Extremely Underweight

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by EastViewChooks, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. EastViewChooks

    EastViewChooks Hatching

    Sep 12, 2014
    Hello! I'm new to this forum and straight away I'm posting for help and advice!

    I have a Rhode Island Red that is 3½ to 4 years old. She's one of four chickens that we acquired when they were all 16 weeks old (a Blue, a Golden Line and a Black Rock). She became very hunched and lethargic, so I took her to the vet who weighed her and said she was severely underweight (1.6kg), but couldn't offer a reason why. Her temperature was fine, she was otherwise in good condition, nothing wrong with her crop, no mites etc. I have examined her droppings and can't see any worms. The vet said there was probably no coming back, but said we could give her antibiotics to see if that helped. So I've had her on Synulox for four days and put her in a little hospital coop overnight, giving her lots of food, water, cucumber, small bits of cooked chicken, sugar paste, and a bowl of raw egg, egg shell and yogurt padded out with bits of soaked bread. She looked like she was improving a bit. She drinks the water, eats the yogurty concoction with some enthusiasm, loved the sugar paste, but wasn't interested in the rest and really hasn't touched the pellets (which were dusted with poultry spice, garlic and mint). However, today she seems worse than ever. When i gave her the antibiotic, the syringe stuck and when I put more pressure on it, I shot the liquid out really quickly, and I'm worried I may have got some down her trachea. She's not 'rattling' but I can hear a solitary 'click' when she breathes out. This morning I let her join the other chooks but she was very slow, not interested in the food and kept heading to the wall of the house. I wondered if she was cold, as the weather has turned, and she's got no meat on her bones, so brought her indoors, wrapped her in a towel and put food and water in front of her. If I stroke her, she seems to wake up and take some of the yogurt or water, but then her eyelids drop again. Her breathing seems to tire her out, and when she tries to stand, she sometimes seems unbalanced and topples over. I have let her out again, as it has warmed up a bit outside, and thought that being with her fellow chooks may encourage her to forage or compete for food, and so far she hasn't toppled over, but she's wandered off to sit down. I weighed her again and she's lost another 100grams since the vet weighed her four days ago. I'm worried she's hit a downward spiral and now doesn't have the energy to eat, so won't ever get better. Has this happened to anyone else, and if so do you have any tips on how I can bulk her up and give her some strength back, or at 4ish, is she just approaching her time? Thanks in advance.
  2. blkjak

    blkjak Songster

    Apr 18, 2014
    Manitoba Canada
    We had a roo this summer that this happened to. It happened really fast. Noticed that he was lethargic sunday afternoon but he went into the coop and roosted that night. He never liked being touched. Next morning he was on the floor. I picked him up and he was so skinny. He died within an hour. Never woke up. I know he was eating. We had only bought him 2 weeks before that and he was a year old.
  3. AshleyI

    AshleyI In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2015
    Fort Collins, CO
    I'm experiencing this very same thing right now with one of my hens (10 months old) except that she has been having diarrhea and appeared anemic. I was wondering if you found a solution for yours or what the outcome was. If she passed, was she necropsied? TIA
  4. EastViewChooks

    EastViewChooks Hatching

    Sep 12, 2014
    Sorry to hear about your chook. My one lasted another 18 months before dying in her sleep last month after developing another rattle, and not having much of an appetite. The vet said she wouldn't last long, so the extra 18 months we had was a bonus! She was quite a character. It was a slow process, getting her well again. I would grind up the medication the vet gave me, and mix it with water, then drop it into her mouth (with some resistance on her part!). She stayed in a coop I set up indoors, so I could keep an eye on her, and we just kept giving her things like meal worms, bits of ham, corn and chick crumb - sometimes she'd eat, sometimes she wouldn't but she soon gained enough weight to go out and join the others and remained robust and healthy until about January this year. I know chickens can get colds, so I think it was something like this but the vet was at a loss to explain it. Not sure any of this helps, but if you can cope with having her indoors, so she's not at risk of predators or the other hens, then I would do this, and that way you can monitor what she's eating and drinking. If she's losing weight, might be worth trying growers pellets instead of layers pellets. I was worried mine couldn't swallow easily, so recall mixing up all sorts of potions, including porridge, pudding rice, yogurt with chick crumb, even scrambled egg! Hope she recovers soon.

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