Lethargic Chicken who puffed her feathers out and tucked head down into body

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Justicedog, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. Justicedog

    Justicedog Out Of The Brooder

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    I've got a sick chicken. First sick chicken in my vast [​IMG] 2 1/2 years of having back yard chickens. I've got 6. My crew is going through a molt and I've not had eggs for a couple months now. I'd started giving them black oil sunflower seeds.

    Yesterday, my husband noticed our light brahma, Feather Feet, standing outside the coop while he was mowing the yard. She just stood there, with her feathers all puffed out and her head tucked down into her body. Not like under her wing, but more like a turtle.

    Today, I found her in the coop lying on the floor. She'd kinda shake her head some, but then kept it tucked in her body - fluffed out feathers still.

    I ran around, borrowed a dog crate, set up an area in the basement for Feather Feet and brought her inside. She didn't move when I picked her up, she did open her eyes some when I brought her inside, but really, not too much.

    I put her in the crate and she just is lying there. Head isn't tucked in, she's just lying with her head on the shavings.

    Should I try to get her to drink or eat? (not sure how to do that) Or just leave her with water and food and let her rest?

    It's been in the high 20's at night, but nothing horribly cold.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Julia62

    Julia62 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if that is Wry neck or not, but it sounds similar. I have a 33 week old hen right now with Wry neck and we do hand feed her and put her beak into the water so she will drink. We also leave food and water available to her but I don't think she would eat as much if I wasn't holding the bowl to her face (she can't control her neck/head well). She does have an appetite though. It's been 10 days of TLC in our bath tub!

    I would try to feed her and get water into her for sure. We chop egg up fine and mix it with her food, moisten with water and give her Vit E, Selenium, Poly Vi Sol (baby vitamins), and now some turmeric. She has put on an ounce of weight, but it doesn't seem to be making the Wry neck go away.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Did she look like the first chicken below yesterday? If she is lying down with her head on the floor, I would suspect that she may have a flaccid paralysis of the neck which can occur with botulism, poisoning from lead, plants, poison, or moldy feed, and Mareks disease. Does she free range where she could have eaten a toxin . Botulism comes from eating dead animals or fish, or plant material or maggots that has been breaking down under ground or under water. If a chicken with botulism lives for 2 days, they will usually survive. Mareks disease can affect one or both leg or wings and the neck. The chicken may be perfectly awake and alert, but can't move whichever extremity is affected. Sorry about your chicken, but if she dies, it would be good to get a necropsy by the state vet to find a cause of death. Also if it is botulism, you would want to search the ranging area so that other chickens don't eat the toxin. Needless to say if botulism is suspected, the body should be buried deeply away from other animals, or burned. In the meantime, I would try to offer electrolyte water containing vitamins, with a dropper to keep her hydrated, in case it is something much less serious, or just molt-related . Here are some links to read about botulism and Mareks disease:
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/19/botulism
    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/#/disease/Marek's_Disease


    [​IMG]
    Coccidiosis--Puffed Up
    [​IMG]
    Botulism--limberneck or neck paralysis


    [​IMG]
    Mareks disease with neck paralysis
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  4. Justicedog

    Justicedog Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the responses.


    Eggsessive, yes, I believe it was the golden chicken that she looked like yesterday. This morning she looked like that, except was lying down. After I got all I needed and prepared her crate, in the afternoon, she looked like the black chicken, except she was completely lying on her body - legs weren't supporting her. Though she did move legs some when I was carrying her.

    I've left water in her crate, my daughter says she thinks she drank the water as she'd moved a little bit and the water was down (this was a 12 year old reporting though, so who knows).

    My chickens do free range in our less than 1/2 acre. I can't imagine that there's anything toxic back there. It's been raining the past couple days, so I haven't looked around. Ok, truth is I wouldn't wander around looking at my yard if it weren't raining. I will try tomorrow though.

    When you say give her water with a dropper, does she have to be somewhat alert for this? I'd be scared I'd drown her.



    Julia, is wry neck something that develops later or is it something that's been there always. I've never noticed her having a problem.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    southern Ohio
    Yes, she should be awake and alert to swallow water from a dropper or she could aspirate. She would also need to be held upright to swallow. Holding her upright with a small cup of electrolytes in water to offer her a drink, or dipping her beak into the cup may get some fluids into her. Crop or tube feeding is also possible. Could she have severe dehydration from an illness such as coccidiosis, or from being kept from her water and food? Sometimes chickens suffering from lack of fluids may exhibit this type of extreme weakness. Here is a link on crop and tube feeding: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/805728/go-team-tube-feeding
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Head tucked into body could be a sign of capillary worms. Get a feces sample from your hen and take it to a vet and have them look at it under microscope for worm oocysts.
     
  7. Julia62

    Julia62 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens wry neck just popped out of the blue at 32 weeks old. She does also have some sort of tumor under her waddle prior to that so don't know if that caused it or not.
     
  8. scribsfarm

    scribsfarm New Egg

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    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure if my RIR (7 weeks) has wry neck or not. She won't lift her head any higher, I took her out while cleaning their box when i picked her up she put her head on my fingers under her breast and was rubbing her head on the ground. She just looks depressed to me! She is still eating and drinking and no one is picking on her. I'm going to get her some polyvisol tomorrow morning.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I hope my little droopy girl is ok, her new coop is just about ready!
    Thank you so much!
     
  9. scribsfarm

    scribsfarm New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Jul 19, 2014
    Washington
    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure if my RIR (7 weeks) has wry neck or not. She won't lift her head any higher, I took her out while cleaning their box when i picked her up she put her head on my fingers under her breast and was rubbing her head on the ground. She just looks depressed to me! She is still eating and drinking and no one is picking on her. I'm going to get her some polyvisol tomorrow morning.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I hope my little droopy girl is ok, her new coop is just about ready!
    Thank you so much!
     

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