Lethargic, standing with eyes closed, was only drinking and not eating...help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mother Bird, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Mother Bird

    Mother Bird Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2012
    Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
    Penny is an older RIR around 3-4 years old. She and her sister joined my flock after they had been laying for a little while but I was told they were fairly young, so I'm guessing on the age. Recently she is withdrawn and stopped eating much, her crop was full but soft and malleable and I did see her drinking often. She now is standing all the time, not roosting with the others as usual. She keeps her eyes closed and is a little unsteady on her feet. She now only take a couple sips and a peck or two at food offered. I approached this as egg bound and bathed her lower half last night and massaged her abdomen for about 40 mins, then used the blow dryer on low/warm till she was mostly dry and kept her in the house last night. She seemed a little more alert and did peck at a banana laced with coral calcium powder this morning, but she's still standing with her eyes closed and is very lethargic still. She did poop a couple times in the night...so it's going through her ok. I'm at a loss though and don't know if it's egg bound or what. Anyone have similar experiences? Is she just old and it's her time? Is there anything I can do for her. I put a heat pack under her abdomen a little while ago, but I don't know what else to try...
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    This actually could be many things and you may not figure her out without an expensive vet visit, sometimes even then you don't get answers. But once a bird is showing signs of illness that are visible to us they are very sick indeed. They hide their illness until they just can't do it anymore.

    I would check her over very carefully. See if she has lost weight, check to see if her lower body/abdomen feel distended. Check her over carefully for lice/mites. Are they on a regular deworming schedule? You always want to rule out the most obvious and easily treated things first and internal and external parasites is always what I mark off the list first. From there it gets more complicated. Is she making any odd breathing noises, gurgling, wheezing? How is her comb color? Pale, bluish, yellow or normal?

    Another thing to consider...how long have you had these hens? If they are new to your property and you've had chickens there before then it's possible she's got coccidiosis.

    Other then that chickens do get tumors/cancers and other diseases. Older hens commonly develop egg laying/reproductive tract problems, the list goes on. Sometimes they also come down with infections. I don't normally ever recommend antibiotic's unless a person knows what they are treating but I saved my favorite barred rock hen last summer by doing exactly that. I don't know what was wrong, probably never will, but it was clear she was on the way out, gave her the meds, she recovered and is doing well to this day. Sometimes all you can do is try. Start by ruling out what you can and go from there. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  3. Mother Bird

    Mother Bird Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2012
    Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
    I've had her for a couple years on this property. No worming schedule. Don't see signs of mites. Weight doesn't seem affected much if any, but hasn't been eating much for a few days. Comb is a little pale, but not too bad.
    There do seem to be some swallowing issues and some gurgling sounds. If I do try antibiotics...what and where can I get them? I only have something for coccidiosis on hand.
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    If you suspect she may have some kind respiratory bug you could try some Tylan 50, you can find it at most feed stores including Tractor Supply. It is an injectable and works best that way but can also be given orally, 1/2 cc per day x 5 days if giving shots is not for you. You can use a needless syringe to give it orally. Duramycin and others can be added to their water but I have little faith in meds added to the water supply as dosing is variable at best depending on how much the bird drinks.

    I would certainly consider worming her if she starts to feel better. Or having a fecal sample tested.
     
  5. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    The gurgling sound, does it happen when she breathes? If so it could be respiratory illness. You can purchase tylan50 at your local feed store along with syringes. Many poultry owners including myself have had great success with tylan50. Dose for large birds is 1/2 cc small birds 1/4 cc given into the breast muscle for 5 days. Do not worry that the bottle says for cattle and swine . As I mentioned many poultry owners choose tylan50 with great success. The injectable is best now be cause she is not drinking as much and a water soluble antibiotic dose is contingent on amount drank so the injection will give her a more stable dose. Tylan50 is the antibiotic tylosin and it's specifically geared toward respiratory illness. The tylan50 is carried at most feed stores and is about 12 dollars a bottle. So if your hearing the gurgling or wheezing I would start with the tylan50. I hope this is helpful and wish you the best.
     
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  6. Mother Bird

    Mother Bird Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2012
    Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
    The gurgling is mostly just after she takes a drink...like there's air getting in, but a little when she's just breathing too.
    I went to a farm store before seeing the last post, and ended up with penicillin as the Tylan50 was marked cattle and swine. I pulled up penicillin online and saw it was ok for chickens, so I went ahead with that to be safe. I gave the injection in the breast muscle, which wasn't as obvious as I had thought it would be. I guess laying vs meat birds are a lot different in that regard. She has seemed a little better this afternoon and is drinking more. Still very lethargic, but more alert at times. Do you think I should switch over to Tylan 50, or stay the course with penicillin?
    Thanks very much for your input. I appreciate the help :)
     
  7. Mother Bird

    Mother Bird Out Of The Brooder

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    0
    29
    Feb 18, 2012
    Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
    The gurgling is mostly just after she takes a drink...like there's air getting in, but a little when she's just breathing too.
    I went to a farm store before seeing the last post, and ended up with penicillin as the Tylan50 was marked cattle and swine. I pulled up penicillin online and saw it was ok for chickens, so I went ahead with that to be safe. I gave the injection in the breast muscle, which wasn't as obvious as I had thought it would be. I guess laying vs meat birds are a lot different in that regard. She has seemed a little better this afternoon and is drinking more. Still very lethargic, but more alert at times. Do you think I should switch over to Tylan 50, or stay the course with penicillin?
    Thanks very much for your input. I appreciate the help
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    It's hard to say which antibiotic would be better since you don't know the exact reason she is sick, but penicillin would treat egg yolk peritonitis, which sometimes is a part of the disease of internal laying. That is common with older hens. It could also treat some of the intestinal infections that chickens get, so it might be worth it to stay with the penicillin. As for Tylan 50, I would always keep a fresh bottle of that on my shelf as long as I had chickens. It will treat many of the respiratory diseases. After you give a 4 day treatment of penicillin, I would give her some probiotics to help her gut bacteria get back on track.
     
  9. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Penny needs to be wormed as well as the rest of your birds.
     
  10. Mother Bird

    Mother Bird Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2012
    Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
    I will be worming her and the others. I've hear diamataceous earth is good...any opinions?

    Penny is still quite lethargic. She's drinking and pecking a bit at food, but I wouldn't call it eating. When she does drink, there are very loud and bizzare sounds comming from her like her "stomach" is growling. Any thoughts? I know I need to give probiotics and electrolytes and have added a little salt and sugar to her water. Will yogurt be enough or do I need something more specific. She did peck at the yogurt. Her pecking is odd too...it's as if she cant see quite right and goes to the edge or where the plate shows through the food. Still open to suggestions for her and hope to pull her through. She inside and kept quiet with a heat pack under her. At least she's sitting down more and does get up and take a few steps from her "nest" of coiled towels.
     

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