Lethargic, puffed up, head twitching hen, wondering whether to cull...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by anorthup, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. anorthup

    anorthup New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Jan 21, 2017
    Hi All,

    I'm new here (though I've been stalking the site for a few years now) and I'm hoping you hen gurus can offer some advice. One of our hens - she was given to us by a friend about 4 months ago, is very ill. She is an approximately one year old Australorp laying hen who, for the past 3-4 days has been extremely lethargic, puffed up feathers and roach backed, with her head pulled in and twitching. She started out walking aimlessly around the coop, but now she can barely walk and seems to fall over when she tries.

    Admittedly our coop conditions have not been ideal as I just had a baby and had a very dangerous pregnancy. Now that I'm back out there, I've noticed the coop has what seem to be lice, but otherwise is quite clean. This is the only hen affected out of our 13 member flock. We thought she may be egg bound so gave a calcium injection, and warm baths - though no egg is visible or palpable we know we have one that lays softies on occasion so thought it might be her?? Otherwise I am at a loss as to what is wrong with her and I can't stand to see her suffer. She is not breathing heavily, has no discharge from her eyes or nose, is still drinking - but not eating, and her crop feels fine. She is obviously suffering and uncomfortable but I don't want to dispatch her if there is a simple solution I am just missing. With my google sleuthing I am thinking it may be egg peritonitis, but my husband is not willing to spend money on "just a hen" and won't allow me to take her to the vet. Does anyone have any suggestions for me that could help? What do you use for electrolytes for the water? Is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable if we wait it out a few more days? Thank you in advance for any help anyone can give!

    Ashley
     
  2. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,447
    505
    221
    Jul 19, 2016
    Iowa
    [​IMG]

    Check for mites and lice on her neck,vent and wings.Neck flicking is a attempt to fling off mites/lice.
     
  3. anorthup

    anorthup New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Jan 21, 2017
    Would lice or mites explain her other symptoms and rapid decline?
     
  4. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,447
    505
    221
    Jul 19, 2016
    Iowa
    Yes,Lice do not just live in a coop.If you see lice that means that there feasting off your chickens feather shafts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    9,816
    3,040
    386
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Welcome To BYC Ashley.

    What does her poop look like?
    Do you have any photos?
    Does her abdomen feel swollen or bloated?

    The puffed up feathers, roached back, loss of balance and lethargy make me think Coccidiosis. If your vet can test a fecal sample that would be good (have them test for cocci and worms). Otherwise you can treat her with Corid which is found at the feed store.

    It's possible it could be Egg Yolk Peritonitis or some other internal laying/reproductive disorder. The mites/lice would definitely play a role when a chicken is weakened by illness/disease - you may want to inspect her well to see how bad the infestation is-then treat her with a Permethrin spray or powder. If you don't think it's Cocci, then offer some poultry vitamins and keep her hydrated. Give her some egg or tuna for extra protein and keep her as comfortable as you can.


    If you decide to treat for Cocci, don't give vitamins until after course of treatment is finished.
    Corid dosage for Cocci is 1 1/2 teaspoons Corid powder per gallon or 2 teaspoons of 9.6% Corid liquid per gallon
    Give for 5-7 days - make sure this is the ONLY water available during that time period. Mix a fresh batch at least once a day.
    After you finish treatment offer some poultry vitamins and probiotics/plain yogurt.

    Just my thoughts.

    Cocci:
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/2/Coccidiosis Management/43/symptoms-and-diagnosis/

    Peritonitis and internal egg laying issues:
    http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/egg-laying-issues/index.aspx
    http://scoopfromthecoop.nutrenaworld.com/tag/laying-issues/
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. anorthup

    anorthup New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Jan 21, 2017
    Well unfortunately she didn't make it through the night.

    I will de-worm the flock today. Should I treat the rest of the flock for Coccidiosis even if no one else is showing symptoms? The lice infestation is not severe, but we dusted the coop and the rest of the birds last night when we noticed a few on this one. A friend of mine who used to work at a poultry disease lab sent me a spreadsheet last night with symptoms and diseases and I thought Coccidiosis looked like a possibility. Thank you for the information and the help even if is a little too late for this poor hen, it could help with the rest of my flock so I absolutely appreciate it.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

    29,945
    4,194
    521
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Sorry for your loss. It is hard to tell exactly what was wrong. Sometimes we can do a necropsy at home, and by looking at the abdominal organs including the intestines, crop and gizzard, get an idea if there was coccidiosis or egg yolk peritonitis. I have lost birds who also laid softies to what I believe may have been peritonitis. Your local vet may be of help if you take in some fresh droppings to test for worms and coccidiosis. Crop impactions can also be common.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    9,816
    3,040
    386
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I'm sorry for your loss.

    As @Eggcessive mentions, the only way to know what was wrong is through necropsy. Taking a fecal sample to your vet for testing is a good idea.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by