Lethargic hen, Heat or something else?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tinyfarm, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. tinyfarm

    tinyfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 7, 2010
    Our 1-1/2 year old Speckled Sussex is lethargic, not moving around, not eating or drinking. She has her beak open quite a bit. This started yesterday. She just sits in one spot in the shade, didn't want to get off perch in hen house this morning, usually very eager to leave hen house to go free range in backyard. We checked for messy vent, parasites, worms, looked under wings, feet, everything looks fine. Her eyes are bright and alert, comb is bright red. She laid an egg yesterday. Poop is runny and mostly white with some yellowish/greenish. Its been hot recently, but not too bad yesterday or today. Our other hen is wandering around normally.

    I've started giving her water/sugar/electrolytes with a dropper, but she doesn't want it. I think I'm getting a few drops in, not sure how much to force it.

    Any ideas?

    Many thanks, Mia
     
  2. McKenley5

    McKenley5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2011
    Where do you live? I am having similar problems here in GA. I wonder if it is just the heat, or if they are sick.
     
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    All kinds of possibiliti shere but start with getting her out of the heat, if it is indeed hot. She should be in a comfortably cool quiet place with all her creature comforts close at hand. It is extremely important to do this quickly so you can hopefully avoid things getting worse and losing her.
    JJ

    (what temps have you been having there and has it been humid?)
     
  4. tinyfarm

    tinyfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 7, 2010
    It's only about 85 today, yesterday about 90, Monday was 100. I'm in Los Angeles area, so not very humid. The hens have access to lots of shade & water. I set her on a damp towel, thought that might cool her down some, but I'm not sure heat is the problem, unless its from several days ago, but she seemed fine until yesterday. Tried giving her some watered down yoghurt, she took a little. Not sure if I should try to get more water into her with the dropper or if there is a risk of choking/drowning her?
     
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you know if her poop is looking normal? Does her weight seem normal? Have the birds been wormed? Do you know the last time you saw her eating and drinking with vigor?

    A couple of years back I had a hen go major league lethargic in a matter of hours - she couldn;t even hold up her sweet head. Rushed her to the vet (no easy feat on Labor Day to find one that would open their office!). Blood work was consistent with infection and/or inflammation, unknown origin. Vet treated her symptomatically - antibiotics, fluids, tube feeding, and she came around by the next day (she was on meds for a couple of weeks).. I feel as though she would not have made it without that intervention. She's been fine ever since. We never knew what hit her.

    The trouble with diagnosing based on lethargy is that it could be so many different things. Hydration is very important in any case. See if she'll take some watermelon voluntarily..... You can also give her 3 drops liquid Polyvisol children's vitamins daily, administered gently along her beak line via dropper so she swallows on her own and doesn't choke. The stuff tastes like crud so try to see if she'll take something tasty afterward like a couple of cut up blueberries.

    What diet are your hens on?

    Is there any chance she ate something bad (there are remedies that may help).

    JJ
     
  6. tinyfarm

    tinyfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 7, 2010
    Thanks for your help and interest JJ. Yesterday she was a little sluggish, but I wasn't concerned until she didn't want any corn-on-the-cob, which she usually just tears into. We were gone all day last week, but in the evenings she seemed normal, although I'm not sure if she had her usual appetite. She's usually always on a mission for food. She has been returning to the henhouse each night, and leaving in the morning, that much I know, but today she just sat on the perch until we lifted her down, hoping she would go eat/drink. Their usual diet is layer mash, scratch, and for treats they get sunflower seeds, corn on the cob, leftover cooked grains, carrots, apples, grass...and they have the run of the backyard all day, so its possible she ate something bad but I can't think of what. The last couple times I saw her poop it was runny, mostly white with some yellowish green. Sounds like the description of heat stroke/stress poop I read. She hasn't pooped in a while though. Today she ate a couple of sunflower seeds and a few grains of corn out of my hand, and whatever drops of the water/sugar/electrolyte mix and watery yogurt I could get into her. I moved her into our screen porch where it is cool and I could keep a better eye on her. She is still on the damp towel, which I hope was a good idea. I'll get rid of that when the temp. drops a few degrees.

    Her weight seems fine, she looks perfectly healthy (except for just sitting there!) I doubt I've given you any new information that would help any, but I really appreciate your effort and the benefit of your experience.
     
  7. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi...I'm still here...still thinking about and sending good wishes for your feather-girl. Have family visiting and we're on our way out the door right now - will be back later to check in and see how things are going. Her diet looks good. Hoping she is faring okay this morning [​IMG] [​IMG]
    JJ
     
  8. tinyfarm

    tinyfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    JJ, you are a gem! This morning I made a mix of yogurt, vitamins, electrolytes & maple syrup, which Pearl ate quite a bit of on her own, and a little watery oatmeal. We set her on her perch for a bit, hoping she would poop. Then put her down and she slowly, and a little wobbly, walked about 15 feet across the yard, plopped down for a rest, pooped a little (green), walked another 15 feet and just sat. I put her back in her comfy box so I could better watch her and make sure she eats. Her head is up, she looks around, clucks a little, preened a bit, and looks perfectly healthy, except that she just sits there. Resembles the symptoms of botulism, except just from the neck down, and she seems to breathe fine. Maybe some other poison, maybe a mushroom? If she was egg bound, would she still be able to poop? Would broken egg peritinitus make her body weak? Her vent looks okay, and she doesn't seem to be straining or pulsating, except briefly when she pooped. There was never any discharge from her vent that I could see. Anyway, I'm happy that she's eating/drinking a bit, but I'd feel a whole lot better if she'd get up and walk around!

    Hope you are enjoying your day and thanks so much for checking back. Mia
     
  9. Maine-nugget

    Maine-nugget Out Of The Brooder

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    i have a speckled sussex who had a (perhaps?) similar problem a few weeks back--one day she just seemed very weak, I had to carry her from the coop into the house- poor thing couldn't even hold her wings up. We gave her some TLC for the next few days and kept her inside-- she gradually got over it. I knew she was feeling better when I found her trying to roost on the bathroom sink! She was still sluggish for a week or so--sat in the yard and pecked at the grass during free range time. She seems absolutely fine now. She wasn't egg bound (laid an egg the first day of illness, which really seemed to sap her energy even more). I never found any evidence of mites/lice or worms, although I have picked up some Wazine that I might use now that she seems healthy again. Sounds like you are doing the right thing--hope she gets better soon! We love our Speckled Sussex hens--they have great little personalities!
     
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi Mia - Hoping the rest of the day was a little better or at least no worse. You are giving her lots of love and she is no doubt greatly comforted by your TLC. Yes, they can become incredibly weak with peritonitis - hopefully it isn't that since she recently laid an egg (that I assume was normal?). That said, if it were peritonitis antibiotic could possibly bring her out of it. Eggbound hopefully also not the case since she recently laid an egg. She may have some kind of infection like Ellie had and thoroughly recovered from with meds. You wouldn't know if she's fighting anything like that without blood work.
    I would do the vitamin thing to help bolster her strength. The Polyvisol drops as described earlier. I use Avia Charge 2000 but likely you'd have to order on line and it'll take time to arrive. Some folks like a product called Rooster Booster. Baby parrot hand feeding formula may help her too.
    Will keep checking back..... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    JJ




    Just FYI ....... Peter Brown with First State Vet Supply (http://www.firststatevetsupply.com/) is very knowledgeable and does phone consults. There is a nominal fee but if meds or whatever are ordered that fee can be waived. Just a back up plan should you deem useful........
     

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