Lethargic, weak acting hen. I'm afraid she is going to die.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by coffeeshopgirl7, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. coffeeshopgirl7

    coffeeshopgirl7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2012
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    Info: The hen is approx. 18 months old, she lives with 26 other hens and one roo, nests are straw, yard is dirt (rain the past few days has made it a bit muddy), allowed to free-range several times a week, food is layer pellets, scratch grains, and veggie scraps for treats. I've had these birds for about a month and I have not treated them for worms/mites/fleas or anything else. I don't know if the previous owner ever did any of that. I don't know if she has been laying since I have so many I can't tell who lays what, same for poop.

    This morning while all the others were at their first feeding she was off to the side by herself, standing real still and closing her eyes like she was sleepy. Later in the day when I checked on them again she was on the bottom shelf (our nesting boxes are a re-purposed canning shelf) just sitting in some straw, sort of limp, not like she was about to lay. I picked her up and she just cooed a bit like she was in pain. I'm not exactly sure what I should have felt for but I felt her all over, she does not seem to be egg-bound but she feels very light and limp. I looked for evidence of mite and such but I didn't see any. Her vent seems normal, her comb seems normal, around her eyes is a little pink but I think they are all like that. She's breathing fine, not coughing or wheezing, no runny or discharge in eyes or nose. She's just lethargic and slow, uninterested in the evening treats, and she didn't join the others at roosting time, she just closed her eyes and laid on the bottom shelf.

    Here's the thing: I've read about 30 threads on here about hens with all the same symptoms. In every single one after a few hours or a couple days they come back and say the chicken died. I lost my duck to a predator a couple weeks ago, but something like this will break my heart. If I don't see vast improvement tomorrow morning I'm going to isolate her from the others, although she is already avoiding them. I probably should have done that tonight but I just didn't have the heart.

    Does anyone have any helpful advice, besides checking for worms/mites/fleas. I have a hard time believing that there is this silent killer that drops chickens with no apparent reason and nobody knows why. Like I said, I've read a ton of posts and the only thing anyone offered was condolences. I'm probably going to bawl like a baby if I lose my poor little hen.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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    did u check her feet for bumblefoot infection? maybe egg bound?
     
  3. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is a page on my website (linked in my sig below) about internal fungal conditions that can sometimes cause chickens to become emaciated. It's not a complete page & I don't know if your hen is likely to have such a problem, but you could read over it for ideas.

    Have you checked around her vent to see if there are mites there or diarrhea?

    I feel for your struggle & caring for her! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  4. coffeeshopgirl7

    coffeeshopgirl7 Out Of The Brooder

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    I saw no evidence of bumblefoot and even though I've never felt an egg bound hen, I felt her down pretty good and didn't feel any eggs in there. Tomorrow I'll done some gloves and gently check her vent a little more thoroughly. Thanks for the ideas. If it is one of those I hope it manifests itself soon so I can begin treating her right away.
     
  5. coffeeshopgirl7

    coffeeshopgirl7 Out Of The Brooder

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    That sight is very helpful, if a bit over my head. I suppose it's possible that one of those is her problem. None of the other 27 birds are displaying her symptoms, and I try to keep everything as dry and clean as I can. They get fresh clean water several times per day and we don't buy feed in advance to keep from storing it and it getting stale/moldy. One of the things mentioned on your sight is to feed them fresh apples. I have quite a few apple trees and when they free range they get plenty to snack on. If they are spending the day in the pen and I don't have other treats I'll chop up a couple for them. Not exactly medicine, but it's good to know that it's good for them.

    I did check her vent. No sign of diarrhea, when I isolate her tomorrow I'll have a better poop report. I barely know what I'm looking for with mites, but I didn't see any of the signs. I inspected a few other birds (one has been pecked on her tail), and they didn't seem to have mites either.

    Thank you for the kind words. I know that losing some chickens is part of the job, but losing my first one is going to give me a big sad. And my DH will be more tore up than me.
     
  6. nancypo

    nancypo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My two urban hens that I lost to worms acted like that- fine then within 2 or 3 days went downhill fast. I caught one early, wormed her and she bounced right back. I would try that right away, keep it inside and go to soft foods. It won't hurt if it's not worms, but could save it if it is. Most feed store carry a broad spectrum wormer you mix with water... Now I use an all natural wormer in their feed and no more worms!
     
  7. LakeBird

    LakeBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just spent about 5 weeks trying to save a pullet like that. We Once she is in isolation you will be able to check her poo and see if she is eating. I used a small cat food bowl and leveled the feed everyday. It helped because I could see if the feed was getting lower or moved around because she was eating. In the meantime, I would suggest force feeding her because you don't know if she has been eating or drinking while she was with the flock. I used a syringe to give her water with electrolytes to start and scrambled eggs and meal worms for protein. Do you a chicken emergency kit? I got mine over the last 5 weeks because of my sick chicken
     
  8. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I see you have 27 hens and they are 18 months old? Where did you get them, when did you get them?

    For now, I would separate her, and give her some water and mush (feed and water). This way you can keep track of what she's eating. If it's hot by you, I would bring her in to air conditioning if you can. They don't like being separated, but I have found that when they are sick, they don't care, or like it better because it's peaceful.

    I'm not sure this could be the problem because it's usually found in young birds. But I have had 2 in the past that were older and got coccidiosis. They just had a poor immune system, and there's several strains, and you said it was wet. It won't hurt, but I would treat her for coccidiosis.

    I would also check her crop and make sure it's empty when it should be. Right now, I'd be giving her mush and some pieces of bread just for the calories.

    Corrid or Sulfadimethoxine are good for cocci. Lately I use Corrid and Tylan in the water together for 5 days. Corrid is not supposed to be used with any antibiotic together, but Tylan is one of the few that you can use.
     
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    X2
     
  10. coffeeshopgirl7

    coffeeshopgirl7 Out Of The Brooder

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    I got them about a month ago. Long story - short, my dad found a craigslist add and he didn't want to pass up the opportunity for free layers. He made me think I'd be keeping them until he could make arrangements to expand his setup, he already has a small flock, but instead he decided I should keep them. The guy who had them got them from another person, so I don't know where they came from originally. They all appeared very healthy and the coop and yard he had for them made me envious, mine is functional but not pretty. I have no idea if they've ever been treated for anything and no way of finding out since my dad dealt with the guy. You know how craigslist is.

    I have separated her from the others. She isn't eating or drinking so I'm going to try feeding her like you suggest. Should I worm and treat for coccidiosis? I guess I should treat all the birds and only worm the sick one?

    I was also planning on dusting them for mite prevention this weekend, will to many treatments be bad for them? It's been hard to get around to doing all this stuff but now that one is sick I want to do it all at once. Also, how will this affect the eggs and production, specifically will I be able to eat the eggs?

    Thanks for the helpful reply!
     

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