Lethargic Hen, can hardly stay awake...any ideas what it could be?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by veracity, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. veracity

    veracity New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2011
    Hi, I'm new to the forums, I've been searching online to see if I can figure out what may be ailing my poor Rhode Island Red hen. She's about a year old, went out today to their coop (I have nine Rhodies and one Aracauna) to feed/water and open their coop for free range and I noticed her in the corner of the coop head kinda buried down under her and very still, feathers also fluffed out a bit. I went over to check her and she didn't move much. I put her up in one of the not so favorable spots in their nesting boxes to keep her up and out of the way. She stayed there most of the day and then later this afternoon I found her again in the corner of the coop where she was this morning, same position. She had a runny white substance stuck to her tail feathers and I did read about the possibility of egg bound hens, so I put her in some warm water which seemed to relax her, but she kept falling asleep as she was sitting in there so I took her out because she wasn't keeping her head up very well and I didn't want her taking in water. I dried her off and let her stand in the sun a bit, she just stands there and closes her eyes. I also felt around her abdomen for any firmness or sign of a stuck egg, didn't notice anything like that really. I have her in a box with some bedding now, I'll probably keep her there for the night to keep the other hens from possibly picking on her or bothering her in any way. Her breathing sounds normal for a chicken I guess, this is my first time owning hens, so I'm not totally sure of that. It's a quiet airy breathing...nothing raspy. Her eyes are clear when they are not shut, no discharge from beak or eyes. I have dusted all my birds with food grade DE, but I haven't put any in their feed yet for the internal worming, and I'm pretty sure they've never been wormed, they're all either a year or just under. We bought them about three to four weeks ago. So, at this point, I'm pretty clueless as to what is wrong with her and what I can do for her. She's still not eating or drinking, absolutely no interest. I read about mixing some egg yolk, honey and oatmeal and force feeding...may try that?

    My girls have a big, regularly cleaned, airy coop with a nice cross breeze, they have access to outside free-ranging from about 9a to 6-7p before they're cooped for the night, so they get plenty of sunshine. Hopefully that's enough information and background that maybe someone has an idea of what could be ailing her? Thank so much!
     
  2. EquestrianGal

    EquestrianGal Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2011
    well, I don't know for sure what is going on with yours, but I had a rhode island red get sick about a month ago. no obvious symptoms except lethargy, ruffled feathers. I put into the bathroom off my mudroom b/c I didn't have anywhere else to quarantine her (the spare coop was being occupied by a broody hen).

    I gave her antibiotics, yogurt, and feed. After a few days she seemed to make a full recovery and is doing great.

    I have found that when they act sick, they really don't feel good.
     
  3. deanna&rich

    deanna&rich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    chimacum, WA
    I've found that when mine lose their appetite due to injury or illness, they can sometimes be tempted with a little bit of scrambled egg, or else some cooked rice soaking in milk. Liquid is more important than food, I've also given meat broth with a bit of meat in it.

    No idea how to help her otherwise, but keeping her separated, warm and hydrated is always good. sending good wishes....
     
  4. veracity

    veracity New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2011
    Thank you both for the advice, I managed to get her to sip a little bit of water earlier this evening, hoping tomorrow she can will herself to eat, will try your suggestions...thanks again!
     
  5. EquestrianGal

    EquestrianGal Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2011
    this time of year (depending on where you are) the heat could have gotten to her, as well. liquids are definitely the most important!

    Let us know how she is doing tomorrow [​IMG]
     
  6. Wdydk

    Wdydk New Egg

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    Feb 15, 2010
    Hi Verscity -

    Just a couple of things to check for (by way I am not a vet but I have had a lot of experience - somethings I recognize but unfortunately there are not always remedies or cures).

    I have had first hand problems in both botulism (simple sign is "twisted neck", "through back head", or head tucked under chest. Times the bird will continue to eat and drink BUt if not caught in time (hope yours/others have been) there isn't a whole lot to be done. Some cases but rarely simple meds like SULMET(tm) have helped. There are others like Teramycin that work but again very limited. I have even went and used the human Predisone/Selimum way and though had better success stil not a cure. You have to catch it early.

    Another thing I have ran into, especially waterfowl and pheasants, is the aflactoxins (spelling?) that has come about more so in that last few years. In ducks they drink alot, act/look just as healthy up yo day you find them dead (usually next day when doing chores), they look at food but don't necessary eat it (basically starve to death), and their poop is greenish/white diahrea.
    Tis toxin typically comes off corn (must be chemically tested) so the naked eye isn't going to catch it nor does it smell bad. If your bird turns a way (or if you have hogs they will do same) then you know it's in the feed. Not sure how you get yours but if it is custom ground at feedmill (whether they add minerals/protein, etc. to it) that toxin is still there. If caught early enough water soluted anti-bacterials will usually take care of it. BUT make sure you put bird into cleaned/disinfected pen first. Make darn sure old pen is examined for bad/moldy looking feed. That pen also needs to be disinfected and dried and disinfected again before putting another bird back in.

    Another thing is to research your area for any avian flu and potential of new strains coming on board. There is a lot of stuff out there on the internet about this nowdays.

    One is RE: Poultrymed.com/poultry/templates/


    In all "sick bird" cases, ISOLATE. ISOLATE, DIS-INFECT, DIS-INFECT. If you have a disposable apron/suit by all means use.

    Good luck.

    Signed been there and again and again. Raising birds is a high risk business even if it is only for home or as a pet. Eliminating common sense and following good "health" guidelines at least cuts down a lot of "lost time" researching the "what if's". Birds, by nature, susceptable to so much it is unbelievable. But yet they eat just about any type of junk on the ground. It's the new stuff or new insects or bad feed or corrupted feed or stuff coming in from foriegn lands that are killing us in today' world.

    Again just my 2 cents.
     
  7. veracity

    veracity New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2011
    Thank you for your responses, I will keep it tucked away for my other nine girls, I buried my sick hen yesterday morning...found her dead when I went outside to let the girls out. A bit heartbreaking losing my first one. [​IMG] The others seem to be fine so far, so I'm keeping an eye on them. The farmer I bought them from a month or so ago told me it could have been a weasel, he told me to look for a puncture mark on her neck, said it seemed from what I was describing she was suffering blood-loss...eh, not sure about that, plus she was buried before the suggestion was made and I don't think I'm going to dig her up to figure out if that was the case or not. I read that it's a myth that weasels have "vampiric" tendencies but my farmer friend claims he's had the same things happen to his flock. He has a large flock of 200 plus birds too though, so I just don't know. There was no sign of a predator, not saying there couldn't have been...who knows. I reinforced their coop and any areas that could be accessed by digging. I'm getting a rooster today just to help in case there could be any issues with predators, we live in Maine on ten acres with 100's of miles of forest behind us...so at some point I'm sure we will be battling nature's instinct. Again, thanks to all responses, at least it's providing some experience as to what to consider or look for next time. I just hope it wasn't something that I could have prevented or something, being a newbie and all. [​IMG]
     

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