Lethargic chicken, red comb (dark at the tips), low energy, doesn't talk, help!?

blondietheloml

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
9
0
30
Hi, all! After years of scrolling through this website in times of interest and need, I've finally made an account.
I have a problem:
My sweet Buff Orpington (who's a little more than five years old) has some kind of problem and I have no clue what it is. I've looked at other threads of lethargic chickens and chickens with dark combs and such, but I haven't found any symptoms that fit my Buff's yet.

Type of chicken: Buff Orpington
How long I've had her: a little over five years
Background information: she's a fat, soft and fluffy, favorite yellow chicken of mine. She's kind of the flock leader. She's very very very loud and vocal and always demands me to hold her (she prefers being held over getting pet). She is rarely ever idle; she is always running around digging up holes to bathe in, finding insects to eat, always yelling at the exact same time everyday when I get home for me to play with her, and she is always, always busy. My chickens (all a little over 5 years old) usually get chopped up lettuce or cabbage every single morning. They sometimes get various treats throughout the day -- bean sprouts, rice grains, cooked rice, corn, etc. They used to get A LOT of treats back then, but I realized the chicken problems that occur from too many treats all the time (obesity, probable heart failure, etc. etc), so we started cutting off the treats. Their water is mixed with apple cider vinegar water. They're very happy chickens and they still lay ~4 eggs a week each (used to be a constant 5). My Buff Orpington has NEVER had any sickness or problem in her entire life besides Bumblefoot.


Earlier this week:
Blondie was quiet this entire week, which was a little strange but she was spending some time up in the laying area of the coop, sitting on our plastic Easter egg we leave in the boxes to encourage laying. Staying in the laying area is regular behavior for Blondie.

PROBLEM:
Two days ago on Thursday, May 21st, 2015
I found Blondie roosting on her favorite log, hunched up, tail down. That was the first time her tail has ever been pointed down. I said hello to her and she didn't reply back to me at all. And that was the signal that something is wrong because my Buff yells like a maniac and always, always loves to talk (back) to me. I pulled her down from the log and she started walking REALLY slowly. It looked like a slow motion video. When I put her on the grass to watch her walk, I noticed that her right leg was also shaking. She was quiet the entire time. She didn't talk. I became really numb in worry and foolishly put her upstairs in the laying box for her to sleep without giving her time to drink and eat, as it was already the evening. She also laid that day; I found her egg in one of the boxes.



Friday, May 22nd
Her comb started to droop. It still had the healthy color of a rich red, but for the first time in my entire life, parts of her comb were flopping over. She wouldn't eat. For almost the entire day, she would just stand on her favorite log and barely even sit. I felt her tummy and checked to see if she was eggbound, but I am positive she's not. She just stands normally but she puffs herself up and doesn't do anything else. I put her favorite treat -- Asian noodles -- in a plate next to her, but she would slowly pick some pieces up and have them drop right back out of her mouth. I ended up using a syringe to give her water and also mashed up some of her chicken pellets in a bowl, and that's when she started to eat by herself. She still didn't talk the entire day. She stopped shaking. She still walked really, really, really slow.



Today, May 23rd
She's been sitting in one of the laying boxes all day long. We pulled her down for a bit, but she walked right back up so we decided to let her settle there. She has a bowl with water (mixed with apple cider vinegar) and a bowl of mashed up pellets in the other box. We also cut some corn and put in a plate and put it in the same box, too. She decided to roost on the barrier between the two boxes and eat all of the corn from the plate. I've noticed that her comb, which was really floppy yesterday, has straightened back up a little bit. Her face is still red but the tips of her comb are darker than usual, but not yet purple. She still isn't talk. No shaking today. She just stands and sits still in her box. Her eyes are clear.





TL;DR:
Blondie's lethargy occurred so suddenly since it appeared to have come out of nowhere on Thursday.
Blondie is very lethargic and is staying in the laying box. She stands a lot and she stands normally. She can walk except it is really, really slow. Comb is red, changed from floppy yesterday to a little straight today (probably after we gave her a lot of easily accessible food). She has lots of diarrhea but I haven't seen any worms. I've checked for any bites, mites, or other parasites, and I've found none. There are no lumps on her body. Her crop doesn't feel different. Her belly doesn't look or feel different. Her eyes are clear but her pupils are dilated. It seems like nothing is wrong except the fact that she's really, really low on energy.

Is there anything else to check for? Do you know what Blondie may possibly have? Is Blondie dying from old age? (Which hurts me since five years seems so young and I thought she could last another five, or maybe a decade more.)

I've read that lethargy and a darkening comb may mean heart or liver failure, and I guess I wouldn't be surprised since Blondie's a bit of a fat chicken. The only other things I've seen are worms/parasites, but I've seen no sign of that.

Also, what is it like when a chicken dies naturally from old age?

Please help my sweet, sweet chicken. Any help at all will be so greatly appreciated.
 
Last edited:

MrsBachbach

Songster
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
2,045
343
236
Arkansas
Hi, all! After years of scrolling through this website in times of interest and need, I've finally made an account.
I have a problem:
My sweet Buff Orpington (who's a little more than five years old) has some kind of problem and I have no clue what it is. I've looked at other threads of lethargic chickens and chickens with dark combs and such, but I haven't found any symptoms that fit my Buff's yet.

Type of chicken: Buff Orpington

How long I've had her: a little over five years
Background information: she's a fat, soft and fluffy, favorite yellow chicken of mine. She's kind of the flock leader. She's very very very loud and vocal and always demands me to hold her (she prefers being held over getting pet). She is rarely ever idle; she is always running around digging up holes to bathe in, finding insects to eat, always yelling at the exact same time everyday when I get home for me to play with her, and she is always, always busy. My chickens (all a little over 5 years old) usually get chopped up lettuce or cabbage every single morning. They sometimes get various treats throughout the day -- bean sprouts, rice grains, cooked rice, corn, etc. They used to get A LOT of treats back then, but I realized the chicken problems that occur from too many treats all the time (obesity, probable heart failure, etc. etc), so we started cutting off the treats. Their water is mixed with apple cider vinegar water. They're very happy chickens and they still lay ~4 eggs a week each (used to be a constant 5). My Buff Orpington has NEVER had any sickness or problem in her entire life besides Bumblefoot.


Earlier this week:

Blondie was quiet this entire week, which was a little strange but she was spending some time up in the laying area of the coop, sitting on our plastic Easter egg we leave in the boxes to encourage laying. Staying in the laying area is regular behavior for Blondie.

PROBLEM:
Two days ago on Thursday, May 21st, 2015

I found Blondie roosting on her favorite log, hunched up, tail down. That was the first time her tail has ever been pointed down. I said hello to her and she didn't reply back to me at all. And that was the signal that something is wrong because my Buff yells like a maniac and always, always loves to talk (back) to me. I pulled her down from the log and she started walking REALLY slowly. It looked like a slow motion video. When I put her on the grass to watch her walk, I noticed that her right leg was also shaking. She was quiet the entire time. She didn't talk. I became really numb in worry and foolishly put her upstairs in the laying box for her to sleep without giving her time to drink and eat, as it was already the evening. She also laid that day; I found her egg in one of the boxes.

Friday, May 22nd
Her comb started to droop. It still had the healthy color of a rich red, but for the first time in my entire life, parts of her comb were flopping over. She wouldn't eat. For almost the entire day, she would just stand on her favorite log and barely even sit. I felt her tummy and checked to see if she was eggbound, but I am positive she's not. She just stands normally but she puffs herself up and doesn't do anything else. I put her favorite treat -- Asian noodles -- in a plate next to her, but she would slowly pick some pieces up and have them drop right back out of her mouth. I ended up using a syringe to give her water and also mashed up some of her chicken pellets in a bowl, and that's when she started to eat by herself. She still didn't talk the entire day. She stopped shaking. She still walked really, really, really slow.

Today, May 23rd
She's been sitting in one of the laying boxes all day long. We pulled her down for a bit, but she walked right back up so we decided to let her settle there. She has a bowl with water (mixed with apple cider vinegar) and a bowl of mashed up pellets in the other box. We also cut some corn and put in a plate and put it in the same box, too. She decided to roost on the barrier between the two boxes and eat all of the corn from the plate. I've noticed that her comb, which was really floppy yesterday, has straightened back up a little bit. Her face is still red but the tips of her comb are darker than usual, but not yet purple. She still isn't talk. No shaking today. She just stands and sits still in her box. Her eyes are clear.



TL;DR:
Blondie's lethargy occurred so suddenly since it appeared to have come out of nowhere on Thursday.
Blondie is very lethargic and is staying in the laying box. She stands a lot and she stands normally. She can walk except it is really, really slow. Comb is red, changed from floppy yesterday to a little straight today (probably after we gave her a lot of easily accessible food). She has lots of diarrhea but I haven't seen any worms. I've checked for any bites, mites, or other parasites, and I've found none. There are no lumps on her body. Her crop doesn't feel different. Her belly doesn't look or feel different. Her eyes are clear but her pupils are dilated. It seems like nothing is wrong except the fact that she's really, really low on energy.

Is there anything else to check for? Do you know what Blondie may possibly have? Is Blondie dying from old age? (Which hurts me since five years seems so young and I thought she could last another five, or maybe a decade more.)

I've read that lethargy and a darkening comb may mean heart or liver failure, and I guess I wouldn't be surprised since Blondie's a bit of a fat chicken. The only other things I've seen are worms/parasites, but I've seen no sign of that.

Also, what is it like when a chicken dies naturally from old age?

Please help my sweet, sweet chicken. Any help at all will be so greatly appreciated.


The diarrhea is a symptom along with the lethargy. If she hasn't been losing weight, then it may not be worms. Has it been wet where you are? Lot's of things can cause diarrhea. I would think coccidiosis or some type of bacterial intestinal infection. Or could be fungal or viral. I would try some antibiotics for an e coli type infection and possibly treat for coccidiosis. If you want to do a more natural treatment, try adding garlic to her water along with the organic acv. 1/4 tsp of garlic powder per gallon. I'd treat her for at least a week. Make sure she is drinking enough since she has diarrhea. I think something is going around. Many people are seeing similar symptoms in their older birds. I'm wondering if all are in the wet areas of the country.
 

unbaked pegga

Songster
6 Years
Nov 22, 2014
391
161
181
Mt Juliet Tn
My buff is acting the same way. Walking real slow, bad diarrhea. I took her to a vet that treats birds. He checked a stool sample and she had coccidiosis and Aspergillus. I gave her the medicine he gave her, took her back and everything was cleared up.but she is no better. Still really bad diarrhea. Eating very little if at all. She does drink water but I watched her today while I was working inThe yard. She was laying on the ground, with her eyes closed. When I took her to the vet last week she weighed 3 1/2 pounds and she should weigh six. She is only a year oldI so badly want her to live. But I don't know what to do. I am bereft
 

blondietheloml

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
9
0
30
UPDATE (6:27pm, 5/23/15):

I inspected Blondie again shortly after creating this thread, and I felt a lump at her belly. I didn't feel it yesterday but I felt it today. I lifted her down from the box and let her stand. She was standing like a penguin, which she wasn't doing yesterday. Then she pooped out yellowish diarrhea with some kind of white solid -- and I knew it was an egg.






I soaked her in warm water while also massaging her belly. The bowl wasn't big enough for her to sit down in, but she seemed very relaxed. (Before I got the bowl of water, I was massaging her stomach while she was standing and she sat down on my hand.)


I'm surprised at how sudden this was since she was standing and walking perfectly find (disregarding the speed) yesterday. After talking to a well-experienced friend, we've concluded that Blondie has a broken egg inside of her.

I may possibly feed her a calcium pill (after calculating the right amount) by crushing it up and putting it in a treat she really likes, i.e. scrambled egg.

I'll keep the thread updated.
 

blondietheloml

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
9
0
30
My buff is acting the same way. Walking real slow, bad diarrhea. I took her to a vet that treats birds. He checked a stool sample and she had coccidiosis and Aspergillus. I gave her the medicine he gave her, took her back and everything was cleared up.but she is no better. Still really bad diarrhea. Eating very little if at all. She does drink water but I watched her today while I was working inThe yard. She was laying on the ground, with her eyes closed. When I took her to the vet last week she weighed 3 1/2 pounds and she should weigh six. She is only a year oldI so badly want her to live. But I don't know what to do. I am bereft
I think I've figured out what's going on with my buff -- mine actually has an egg problem after all. Try going to the vet again?
And read this: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/coccidiosis-how-to-treat-it ,
BYC is a really amazing website with so many chicken experts and so many stories, so don't lose hope yet. Keep researching and reading when you aren't in contact with your vet.
I'm not as experienced with chickens as much as I'd like to be, so all I can say is make sure she stays hydrated and eats every single day too. I'll keep your girly in my thoughts. Good luck! xx
 

MrsBachbach

Songster
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
2,045
343
236
Arkansas
My buff is acting the same way. Walking real slow, bad diarrhea. I took her to a vet that treats birds. He checked a stool sample and she had coccidiosis and Aspergillus. I gave her the medicine he gave her, took her back and everything was cleared up.but she is no better. Still really bad diarrhea. Eating very little if at all. She does drink water but I watched her today while I was working inThe yard. She was laying on the ground, with her eyes closed. When I took her to the vet last week she weighed 3 1/2 pounds and she should weigh six. She is only a year oldI so badly want her to live. But I don't know what to do. I am bereft


I think many poultry owners are experiencing similar symptoms. It's been wet for quite some time around here, after years of dry weather and I think some of my birds are just now being exposed to things they didn't have to deal with before. I had two with similar symptoms. It took weeks and throwing everything in the book at them trying to get them back. Diarrhea is gone, one is laying again, one is not, but noticed the silent gasping last night in the thinner bird. Both first year laying birds. I think Aspergillus is a real possibility here. Unfortunately, nothing much can be done from what it says. It does explain some of what I am seeing though. I may try some herbal remedies.

Here is some info on it:

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/7/aspergillosis/
 

MrsBachbach

Songster
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
2,045
343
236
Arkansas
UPDATE (6:27pm, 5/23/15): I inspected Blondie again shortly after creating this thread, and I felt a lump at her belly. I didn't feel it yesterday but I felt it today. I lifted her down from the box and let her stand. She was standing like a penguin, which she wasn't doing yesterday. Then she pooped out yellowish diarrhea with some kind of white solid -- and I knew it was an egg. I soaked her in warm water while also massaging her belly. The bowl wasn't big enough for her to sit down in, but she seemed very relaxed. (Before I got the bowl of water, I was massaging her stomach while she was standing and she sat down on my hand.) I'm surprised at how sudden this was since she was standing and walking perfectly find (disregarding the speed) yesterday. After talking to a well-experienced friend, we've concluded that Blondie has a broken egg inside of her. I may possibly feed her a calcium pill (after calculating the right amount) by crushing it up and putting it in a treat she really likes, i.e. scrambled egg. I'll keep the thread updated.
You can pop the pill right in the back of her throat. I do that with a few of mine who won't eat the oyster shell and don't eat much layer feed. I usually just cut it in half and give to them, Mine are smaller than your bird. If you think she has a broken egg in her, best put her on some antibiotics to treat infection. I read one post on here where the member said she used Duramycin 10 to treat her bird that was suffering from peritonisis.
 

unbaked pegga

Songster
6 Years
Nov 22, 2014
391
161
181
Mt Juliet Tn
I haven't been as despondent as I am today. It is a beautiful day but my buff, L
400
ilac, has been laying right where this picture shows for the last two hours. I bring her water to her she doesn't seem interested. She is just so lethargic, and is beginning to appear wasted. I have taken her to vet twice and he felt of her abdomen and listened to her lungs and he did not say anything about an egg or anything like that. he said her keel bone was very sharp which was an indication of weight loss. I know I have no control over this, but it is killing me
 

MrsBachbach

Songster
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
2,045
343
236
Arkansas
I haven't been as despondent as I am today. It is a beautiful day but my buff, L
400
ilac, has been laying right where this picture shows for the last two hours. I bring her water to her she doesn't seem interested. She is just so lethargic, and is beginning to appear wasted. I have taken her to vet twice and he felt of her abdomen and listened to her lungs and he did not say anything about an egg or anything like that. he said her keel bone was very sharp which was an indication of weight loss. I know I have no control over this, but it is killing me


Really sorry for you and your bird. Do you know how to tube feed a bird? Garlic is a very good anti fungal and anti bacteria food from what I have read. I found an article online that suggested 1/4 tsp of garlic powder per gallon of water. I used that but also added about 1 1/2 tsp of organic acv to it also and was giving it to my birds. It cleared their mushy poops they were having up in three days. Maybe it would help her with her fungal problem. Since she isn't drinking, you would have to tube it into her, a few times a day, at least four or five ounces of water a day until she drinks on her own. You can search "crop tubing" on this forum and it can tell you how.
The link I gave you did mention one drug that might treat it, but you would have to get that from a vet.
 
Last edited:

blondietheloml

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
9
0
30
Hi again!

I'm here to update but the news isn't so swell.
I gave Blondie another spa treatment (she was sitting down this time in the blue bowl of warm water) for forty or so minutes. Her stomach felt less hard than it was yesterday. After the time was up, I pulled her out, dried her, and then gave her 250mg of calcium via syringe. The calcium was very very finely crushed and mixed with water. After two hours, nothing had happened. I started worrying while reading so many threads because all the success stories have chickens getting their eggs or shells out within thirty minutes to one hour. So I put Blondie in another bath but only for twenty minutes. After pulling her out and drying her, she started wobbling and walking really slowly by herself, like seven feet or so, and pooped out a small amount of yolk. Then I gave her three small syringes of apple cider vinegar water. (I just extracted water from their jug of acv water in the coop since that's already correctly balanced.) I've put her back in the laying box. It's 5:10pm now, and I put her back in the box at about 3 o'clock. I very recently checked back on her and she was sitting down. There wasn't any yolk near her, and still no shells.

I'm really afraid my little Blondie girl is going to die. Nothing has really changed despite the baths and calcium. I'll give her another 250mg of calcium tomorrow, though.

Anything else I can do? I haven't given her mineral oil up the vent (I don't have mineral oil though, and also her vent looks perfectly normal to me), and I also haven't actually put (cool?) water... into her vent via syringe.
 

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