Lethargic Chicken, not eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mamabirdbrain, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Mamabirdbrain

    Mamabirdbrain Hatching

    Jan 18, 2015


    We've recently moved to a third world country, so I don't have quick access to avian vets, meds, etc.

    We kept a few RIRs in the US before, but not for a long time (we had to move), and never had any major issues with them.

    We bought ten Orpington pullets--6 buffs at 11/12 weeks, and 1 lavender, 1 black, 1 white and 1 blue, all 14 weeks, three weeks ago. They came from a farm where they were kept indoors, but with lots of light and fresh air (basic but clean). They were vaccinated for Newcastle, but I believe that is all, and I'm pretty sure the feed wasn't medicated, but I don't know.

    They live in our back yard, with two separate runs (so we can rotate or separate as needed). The white girl had some swelling under her ear and kept her eye closed a lot, and another developed nasal discharge, so I started adding apple cider vinegar (and a drop or two of oregano oil). They both got better.

    As the girls live outside in a nice sized run, a LOT of neighborhood birds have been coming around to pick through any leftover chicken feed. I suspect that they are introducing nasty stuff into my flock, but there's not a lot I can do about that.


    The Blue stopped eating and has been fairly lethargic for 5 days now. She should be 17 weeks, and has not begun laying yet.

    For 3-4 days, her crop has been totally empty. On day 4, it seemed full of air (?!), today it feels empty again.

    I've tried offering all sorts of mash, easy to eat people food, etc, which she will not touch. I gave her some olive oil, in case something was stuck, and she did drink that. I have been unable to get her to eat anything at all (at least not when I'm watching).

    On day 3, she started gasping and gurgling, and when she drank, I could see some bubbles in her mouth so I suspected gape worms (I don't even know if they have them here. I assume so). They only worm medication we can find here is Piperazine, so I started that yesterday (day 4). Other pullets have had some lose poo in the last few days, so I figured it couldn't hurt, given my "wild bird" situation.

    Today she's gaping less, but sitting puffed up a lot. She still walks around, drinks, and will stand with the other chickens when they're eating. I have seen her "try" to eat, but she just pecks gently at things and doesn't actually take anything in her mouth. I have successfully gotten her to drink herbal teas (for the nutrients), a little sugar water (for some energy), tried broth (no go), tried oil again, (no go).

    She still acts fairly normal, except for the eating, and she's sleepier. I can't see anything in her mouth, except there MAY be a little sore on the edge of her beak (if so, it's small, and I'm not sure because she's the only blue, so it could just be that her beak color is a little different.

    I can't see anything else--no nasal discharge, no swelling, I can't see ANYTHING in her crop, or when I do a general inspection of her. Nothing visible in her mouth/throat. Her poo was dark and runny on day 2 or 3, but I haven't seen any since. No signs of eggs/worms that I could see.

    I have some products on order from the US (verm-x, electrolytes, DE--all to help with general health and upkeep) but they won't be here for a few weeks, and my options for "treatment" are limited.

    I assumed if it were something bacterial, the apple cider vinegar would help (as it did the other birds), and if its viral, there's not a lot I can do anyway. I've got them on the only worming option available.

    I'm very concerned that if she can't/doesn't eat soon, she's going to die. I've been so surprised that she's still so energetic, and that gives me hope, but I've tried everything I can think of.

    Any suggestions are welcome!! Thank you in advance!
  2. XxMingirlxX

    XxMingirlxX Songster

    Dec 12, 2013
    Lancashire, England
    Welcome to BYC :)
    Why don't you pm the symptoms to dawg53 (my bad dawg ;) ) he is usually able to give you an answer with cures that are easily accessible :)
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    You might want to get them started on amprolium or sulmet/sulfadimethoxine. Forget the apple cider vinegar, verm-x, DE...useless. Give them electrolytes after treating with one of the products I recommended.
  4. Mamabirdbrain

    Mamabirdbrain Hatching

    Jan 18, 2015
    Thank you. I'll see if those are available here. What are they intended to treat?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: