Lethargic hen, pullet recently died - what can I do? -FINAL UPDATE

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Tuppemor, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. Tuppemor

    Tuppemor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Norway
    Last week one of my gold brahma pullets died. She was the first one to hatch of my first ever hatching eggs, she hatched a day before the others. Eventually they outgrew her, and when she died she was thin. I saw her on the coop floor acting lethargic and was going to put her down the next day if she hadn't improved, but she died in the night. The same day I euthanized a cockerel who had been generally under the weather for a while, I had no use for him and did not want to pass on a "faulty" animal to someone else.

    Today I went out to feed the chickens and my Light Brahma hen was sitting on the floor, apparantly resting. She always hangs with her "boyfriend" the LB rooster, so I immediately understood something was wrong. I picked her up and she opened her eyes and looked at me. She felt heavy and well filled out, unlike the two others. I put her back down and she sat down and closed her eyes. I brought her out to the others, but she took only a few steps eyeing the food before settling back down.

    I took her inside and placed her in the bathroom with heating in the floor. I gave her (syringe in the mouth, she swallowed on her own) some tempered water with maple syrup, a bit of salt and some apple cider vinegar. I checked back in later, she was a bit more alert but sometimes opened her mouth and panted. I thought she might be overheating so I placed her in the bathtub and doused some water on her. She stopped panting, and I placed her back down on the floor without drying her, so the moist feathers would help lose excess heat.


    She just recently started laying (at 39 weeks) and laid for three weeks straight and stopped. She is molting - all her long tail feathers are gone. Not a severe molt at all, she is fully feathered besides the tail.

    I have not found anything wrong with her. Her crop is empty, I can't feel any sign of being egg-bound, she has good color in her face/wattles and comb (although a slight bit paler red due to molt and no eggs?). She can walk and stand. The inside of her mouth looks normal. I am not trying to feed her anything at this point.

    I noticed she might be dizzy or fighting going asleep, because when she rests with her eyes closed, her head jerks slightly up. Just barely, and not forceful, but still.

    She has not pooped yet today, it is now noon here.


    No one else is showing signs of illness. They are fed pellets and various leftovers (no chicken no-nos, I've read the lists). I don't know of any poisonous plants in the yard, and we have no immediate neighbours.

    Winter came yesterday with frost and minus degrees (Celsius, so below freezing).


    She is one of my favourite hens, and I don't want to put her down or watch her die. Does anyone know what could be wrong with her and/or what I can do to help her? I don't have the finances to take a chicken to the vet, but if there's anything I can do I will try.

    Please notice I live in Norway, so recommending US brand remedies will not help me much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    During molting the hen needs extra protein, so things like scrambled eggs and yogurt are helpful- some hens like moist cat food. Continue offering her feed, moistened with the other things.
    It also helps to offer a multivitamin dissolved in water. You could use baby vitamins without added iron.

    She sounds very stressed, so keep her segregated. Did you save the other bodies? Does your country provide free necropsy for livestock?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
  3. Tuppemor

    Tuppemor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Norway
    Quote:Thank you for you reply. I think you meant relaxed and segregated and in the warm calm bathroom. She stopped panting and more awake and have pooped. Watery with a little and normal color seems to be have eaten yesterday. I will give try to give youghurt and scrambled eggs.
    I don't have the any bodies left and any opportunity for a necropsy.

    PS: I am sorry for difficulties able to express because I have a problem with my language center sometimes. Hope you can understand me.
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Your English is very good! [​IMG]
    I know it is late there but when you check back please let us know how she is doing.
     
  5. Tuppemor

    Tuppemor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Norway
    Hi again. It's not my English I was referring to, but thank you. [​IMG] I'm feeling better now. Sometimes I get migraine-like headaches that give ataxia (I think it's called) that makes the language center in my brain fail. So most everything comes out as jibberish and often I do not understand language either. Along with vision loss, very unpleasant.

    The hen is mostly the same, unfortunately. No more panting, and I turned the heating down a bit. She is dry now. I have syringe-fed her sugar water, salt and clear water (to counteract the stickiness) and also scrambled egg and youghurt mashed with water to make it fluid. I will keep checking her crop to see when it's time for more and monitoring her and she will of course stay the night.
     
  6. Tuppemor

    Tuppemor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Norway
    Update:

    I have been continuing force feeding water (opening her mouth and spraying it onto her tongue, she swallows by herself) and whipped a whole egg and did the same. I gave her about half an egg. She was still the same.

    I just checked on her now (9.30 PM here) and she started pecking my finger, so I though I'd try some bread (she wasn't interested in the egg), and she just lit up and had away with it! [​IMG] Yummy, apparantly. Then she let a huge splash stinky poop. I'm guessing it was the blueberry youghurt and egg combo from yesterday - it had green (!) chunks in it and smelled awfully sour. Mostly water, so at least I'm giving enough of that. Haven't been sure of how much to give, so I just kept going until her crop felt a bit filled up.

    She is now resting again, but she was fully alert and pecking away at the bread. I guess she ate about half a slice, which is quite a bit considering I eat one slice for breakfast and am considerably bigger than her. [​IMG]

    So far so good.
     
  7. Tuppemor

    Tuppemor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Norway
    Another update. Hen is doing good, today she has been preening and pecking at things, eating on her own and also finally drank on her own. Pooping lots.

    One thing that still concerns me is that she keeps one eye closed most of the time. She can open it, she just chooses not to. I can't see anything wrong with it, or any other part of her. Same color on both sides of her face and no protrusions or swelling.

    Why won't she open her eye?
     
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    She's doing well thanks to your continuing care.
    I understand now what you mean by the language- not English but expression in general, thanks for clarifying.

    Is there any discharge from the eye? If it is otherwise healthy it might be a nervous thing from being ill, kind of being stressed.
    She might also have bruised the cornea when on the ground.

    Watch it of course, but it's more important now to get some weight on her.
     
  9. Tuppemor

    Tuppemor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Norway
    Thanks for your reply.

    I can see nothing wrong with the eye. When she is alert she keeps both eyes open and I can see no redness or discharge, nothing at all. She is better today, I have stopped all forceful feeding, she does everything on her own now (except clean up after herself, but that is asking too much [​IMG] ). If she continues like this I will put her back with the others in a day or two.
     
  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well done! She is lucky to have you! I would expect this bird to become very attached to you even when back with the others. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009

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