Lethargic hen with weak leg

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by craftyshanna, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. craftyshanna

    craftyshanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I have a hen who is less than a year old but mature (was laying) who has been lethargic and weak. At first she was sitting down a lot and had her head tilting to the side a bit. I gave her vitamin E oil and she didn't get any worse. She has been sleeping on the floor of the hen house though instead of getting up on the perch with the other girls. This has been going on for about 2 weeks or so. Now in the past two days she has been rolling over on her side a bit and then getting stuck. She can't get her feet back under her if she rolls to the side. Her right leg seems to be the weaker of the two.

    Unfortunately I just had foot surgery, so I haven't been able to be out with the girls much. My daughter reported that her poop was "runny", but whether that is bad runny or ok runny, I have no idea. My husband said she was eating stuff from the ground (scratch probably) when he went out to look at her. I have been making a liquidy chicken food porridge for her and have been force feeding her some to make sure she is still getting food in her. She will eat some on her own (maybe about the equivalent of 1/2 tsp of pellets), but then I force her to eat a bit more just to keep her strength up.

    Oh, she also stopped laying, but I don't feel eggs in there that I can tell.

    Does anyone have any ideas about what might be wrong with her and/or things I might try to help her? I lost my first 4 birds in just over a year (different ways, so it's not like I have a single disease wiping them out), and she is the first of the new batch to now be ill. If I start losing these girls, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to continue to replace them. I get too attached. :'(
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  2. craftyshanna

    craftyshanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    She can't stand up but her legs are actually pretty strong (she kicked me when I picked her up). She is now panting. She raises her neck forward each time she breathes and then lets it relax back down. Her right eye is closed much of the time, but the other seems alert.

    I am continuing to give her food mixed with water. She will occasionally eat some herself, but usually I have to spoon bits of it into her mouth and then she swallows it.

    Does anyone have any ideas for me of what might be wrong and/or what I should do?
     
  3. bnb2108

    bnb2108 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    I had a chicken with similar symptoms (about four months old) who was diagnosed with coccidosis. I would recommend treating with corid as soon as possible. You may need to syringe feed the first dose or two, if that's what she has she probably won't want to eat or drink at this point. I'd also recommend bringing her inside for a few days so you can monitor food and water intake. If the corid does the trick you'll need to treat the whole flock so she doesn't get reinfected.
     
  4. craftyshanna

    craftyshanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Thank you! I'll try that!!!
     
  5. bnb2108

    bnb2108 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Good luck!! I hope it works. Keep me posted.
     
  6. craftyshanna

    craftyshanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    It seems to have been too late. She declined really fast over night and early yesterday, so we put her to sleep. I'm going to take her in to the vet for a necropsy so I can find out how to keep any of the other girls from getting sick with whatever it is. [​IMG]
     
  7. bnb2108

    bnb2108 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Oh, I'm so sorry to hear. Were you able to figure out the cause?
     
  8. craftyshanna

    craftyshanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I'm waiting to hear whether any diagnostic tests turn anything up. Gross anatomy didn't show anything but that her heart was smaller than average. It wasn't coccidiosis or vitamin deficiency, which were the two things I tried treating.
     
  9. craftyshanna

    craftyshanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I got the report back from the vet's necropsy. The cause of death was suppurative pyelitis. Searching for this term on Backyard Chickens yielded absolutely nothing. According to Wikipedia, it is apparently a bacterial kidney infection leading sepsis. So antibiotics probably could have saved her if I had figured out the problem early enough on. :(
     
  10. bnb2108

    bnb2108 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Oh, I'm so sorry. It's a hard call to make when you're only guessing at the problem.
     

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