Lethargic wobbly rooster with darkened comb and nodules in comb

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by madwomn, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. madwomn

    madwomn Out Of The Brooder

    16
    5
    24
    Jun 26, 2012
    My Belgian bantam rooster Noodle has some kind of unspecified illness. A week ago, he was:
    *lethargic
    *not eating
    *not drinking

    So I brought him inside, used the eyedropper to give him tetracycline- and electrolyte-laced water. I finally had to put him back outside with the girls because he recovered like lightning and was so rowdy and noisy that I just couldn't stand it any more. He had 5 excellent days (chasing songbirds, terrifying my dogs, doing the man dance, etc.) and crashed again on Saturday morning.

    Now, two days later, he's:
    *lethargic
    *not eating (he's pooped twice in two days, and though his poop is a little darker than usual, it's not really odd)
    *not drinking
    *wobbles like a drunk, though he's not having neck problems and he can move his legs
    *dips his head and smacks his lips as if he's eating, but his beak never touches the food or water
    *his comb is darker than usual
    *his comb has 5 lighter-colored nodules in it the size of a pencil lead (sorry, but I can't get a picture that shows them, but I can feel them)
    *no injuries
    * normal breathing
    *not crowing, clucking, etc.
    *everything (dropper feeding, dropper drinking, me lifting the towel to see how he is) exhausts him

    All of this is exacerbated by the fact that Noodle is cataleptic: even when he was perfectly healthy, he passed out when I picked him up, so there's no way to tell if he's more limp than he was before, as total limpness doesn't have degrees of severity.

    He's just miserable, and that makes me miserable. Tonight, for the first time, he really seems distressed.

    My flock has had a bout with feather mites this fall, but the flock's last treatment was in December. Noodle has 6 bantam girlfriends, all of which love him. They free range in my yard. There are no new chemicals or structures or plants. I have returned to feeding them 16% mini-pellets with added oyster shell because I couldn't get it for a couple of weeks, but all of the girls eat it, too, and they're fat and sassy. My birds also get warm breakfast every morning with spinach and oatmeal and fruit, as well as layer crumbles and the occasional scratch, sunflower seeds, and meal worms. I do have dogs, but they have reached a detente with the chickens. I haven't wormed yet this spring, but nobody seems to be suffering.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. bbsnooks

    bbsnooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    252
    18
    101
    Nov 14, 2012
    Hello.. I just read your article.. thought i'd see what else.. you were up to..

    I'm sorry no one.. replied.. here.. but there are places to post in already started.. threads..
    and possibly use the word "Help". .02$ <grin>

    I'm fond of the Natural chicken keeping thread.. for things like this..
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/newestpost/729605
    they go at quite a clip.. but have .. a good mix of new and ol'time chicken raisers.. pop in if you like.. and do post there if you need some help.

    How did noodle.. turn out?

    I'm just starting with 2 jersey giant roosters.. 6 & 7 mo. old.. now ( to do hawk patroll ) only one.. is visiting the girls next door.. ( teen agers.. ) to keep them safe..
    and 21- 3 week old's.. 6-Samon Favorells , 5-red laced blue wyandotts , 2 EE easter egger's., 2 white crested Polish..
    6 black Jersey giants.

    so.. I laughed my self to tears.. on your article.. - ceacle poop.. who knew it was normal. i was wigging out thingking they had some disease.. and were going to die. and one of them was breathing heavy.. ((( shaking head back and forth)))

    sure hope to read more about the chicken life at your neck of the woods.
    Debra
     
  3. drgs

    drgs New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 20, 2013
    Dallas, Tx
    I have a hen showing exact same signs. Did you ever figure out what was wrong?
     
  4. madwomn

    madwomn Out Of The Brooder

    16
    5
    24
    Jun 26, 2012
    I never figured out the problem, but several things worked in my favor, and he did recover and none of my other girls got sick!

    First, I figured out that his comb darkened because he had a temperature. He had such a high fever that he had febrile convulsions. Luckily, at that point, he was living in my laundry basket on my dining room table, I was on spring break (I'm a teacher), and my husband was unemployed.

    You'll see why all of that is important:
    1. If the chicken's hot and you have her inside, get her wet. She will be able to better regulate a high temperature if she's damp, especially around the head and neck.
    2. Lay hands on some Tylan and some tetracycline powder. Give her the full dose of both (you can find the correct dosage on BYC). This means you're going to have to treat her for at least 10 days.
    3. Every 2-3 hours, use an eyedropper to give her all the water she can and will drink. Lay hands on one of those big droppers pharmacies give to parents to dose their kids with amoxicillin. Whenever you have your hen in your arms, give her a couple of those droppers of gruel. I make my gruel out of finely chopped scrambled eggs, regular chicken food, oatmeal, yoghurt, and applesauce. That gives protein, vitamins and minerals, and enough roughage to get through their gut, but also counteracts any diarrhea they might get from the antibiotics.
    4. Keep her clean, dry, at a steady temperature, and in a calm space.
    5. Make sure you have food and water available in her cage and that it's as tempting as possible.

    As you can see, I have no compunctions about using the nuclear option when it comes to medicine. I grew up on a farm and worked for vets five years in two countries and I know one thing for sure: If you give an animal a chance, unless there's some kind of awful disease in action, it will recover. Kill off the harmful bacteria, replace it with good bacteria, supply enough nutrition, enough quiet, enough rest, and wait. Measure the animal's quality of life against your will to persevere. My rule is that as long as a chicken's pooping, it's got hope. My Noodle kept pooping, so through the seizures, through the partial paralysis, through all of the other awful things, my husband and I persevered. And then, on the last morning of my spring break, Noodle leapt up on the edge of the laundry basket and crowed. Scared the heck out of me. I opened the sliding glass door, he flew down onto the floor and strutted past me out into the yard, where he promptly man-danced everything in sight.

    Be hopeful and patient.

    After much, much comparison to photos of different diseases, I think that Noodle had either Mareck's (+/- 10% survival) or Avian influenza.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. I don't know much, but I'm happy to share speculation!
     
  5. drgs

    drgs New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 20, 2013
    Dallas, Tx
    Thank you. I noticed today she has a lot of fluid in her belly. I started tetroxy yesterday and did a dewormer, so lots of diarrhea today. She ate some scrambled eggs yesterday, but nothing today. Thanks again for your tips.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by