Lethargic chicken, liquid coming out of beak, sometimes rattling when breathing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by magnacarta, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. magnacarta

    magnacarta New Egg

    Jul 4, 2012
    Hi all,

    An elderly neighbor recently (~3 weeks ago) gave me two of his barred rock hens since he could no longer care for them. One had just stopped laying and the other was laying infrequently. He wasn't sure how old they were, but guessed it was more than 4 years. They were seemingly in excellent health -- beautiful feathers, nice size, etc...They joined our flock and seemed to be doing well-- not at the top of the pecking order but not at the bottom either. A very easy introduction.

    Two days ago, one of his hens was just lying there in the chicken run. She had been (by all appearances) fine the previous day. I brought her inside, and noticed there was a fair amount of normal looking poop on her tail feathers (as though she had pooped lying down). We brought her inside and gave her some nice, long, hot water soaks to clean her off etc... she has been separated from the flock since. Since then, all the other hens seem completely and totally fine.

    She will drink water (which we have been mixing with garlic) and she will eat yogurt and yogurt mixed with layer mash (at first we had to dip her beak into it to get her to eat, but now she will eat it from a bowl) -- probably about 8-10 T of the mix a day. She won't eat dry mash, egg white/yolk, scratch, bugs or greens. Her comb is bright red and looks pretty healthy by those measures. However, she can only sort of move. She can adjust her position, but I don't think she can walk or stand. She is extremely lethargic, and while she will often be bright-eyed and staring at me, she also dozes off during the day (though she can be woken). When she breathes, there is a slight fluid sound (like a gurgle/wheeze/click?) when she exhales. Her breath doesn't smell strange to me.

    Her poops are yellow and thick (strange looking, though neither loose nor dry). They kind of look the color of pureed hardboiled egg, and are the texture of a normal poop if you stirred the poop up (if that makes sense). Her crop is emptying normally. When I feel around her body, there aren't any spots that seem to elicit discomfort, and I can't see any obvious wounds. Nothing seems broken, although she is sort of lopsided and tends to stretch out her left wing sometimes in a really funny looking way.

    Now, while she's in tough shape, I thought she had made a lot of progress today, especially since she began feeding and watering herself and had moved her position within her pen several times. Then, I brought her into give her a warm bath and soak and tipped her sort of upside down. Clear liquid came pouring out of her mouth! I had thought that she had maybe eaten something toxic or something like that, but liquid coming out of the beak? That can't be right!

    Any thoughts on what this could be? Any treatments to suggest? I'm worried that her lungs have fluid in them (from the sound she makes when she breathes and from the liquid coming from her mouth), but, of course, it could be practically anything. I'm interested in hearing about any ideas you have--I really want to save this chicken, and also want to have a sense of what's wrong with it, since I'm due to give birth tomorrow and don't love the idea of handling a sick chicken while pregnant/with a newborn without knowing what the problem is (though it is encouraging that the other hens seem fine).
  2. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 9, 2009
    Is it possible that she may have an impacted or sour crop?

    I only wish that I could be of some help - hopefully somebody on here can help you to help your girl.

  3. magnacarta

    magnacarta New Egg

    Jul 4, 2012
    I don't think it's (purely) a crop problem, largely because the crop is emptying normally at night etc.... and feels fine. Her chest is not hot or swollen. That was my first guess, too!
  4. gafferlv

    gafferlv New Egg

    Jul 30, 2016
    I know this is a little late, but I just am going thru the same thing. We found our hen on her side. She was lathargic and barley responsive. She also had clear liquid coming from her beak. I determined from much research that it was most likly a respiratory infection of some type. I started to force feed her water with a little juice mixed in for some energy. I then used Pediolite and water. I fed her about twice an hour. First day not much change. Her stool was clear with a little product and she could just hold her head up. By the second day she was able to easily hold her head up and and sit straight. She started to fight me and squawk when I opened her beak. It was a good sign I was in the right direction with treatment. My Idea was to help her stay strong as she fought the infection. I started to get ready on the third day to feed her a slurry of mash and pediolite. When I went in to see her she was standing on her own! Still not eating, but stable and preening herself. She is feeling much better. As this is the third day, I have no more information, but she seems to be improving. I am getting some broad spectrum anti-bionics to give her today. I will let you know how she is in the next few day. I hope you were able to save your hen as well.

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