Limp comb, water-like stool, feather plucking, trying to coo but no sound.

morganstig

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
21
16
26
Upstate South Carolina
Hello,

My 3,4 year old Golden Comet, Lucy, hasn't laid for the past few weeks. A few weeks ago, we had trouble with her getting runny, loose stools, her bottom became smelly and red, and she lost her feathers. I treated it as if it was vent gleet. The issue seemed to dry up and her skin seemed to be recovering, but she started pulling out feathers on her tail, chest, and abdomen a few days ago. Otherwise, no change. When I went out this morning, there was a huge change: her comb is completely limp, she is trying to coo but there is no sound, she has almost pure water stools, and just seems overall pretty listless. She wouldn't even come out of the coop to explore. Our weather has been nothing but humid rain for the past 2 weeks. Any advice is welcome.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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3,4 year old Golden Comet, Lucy, hasn't laid for the past few weeks. A few weeks ago, we had trouble with her getting runny, loose stools, her bottom became smelly and red, and she lost her feathers. I treated it as if it was vent gleet. The issue seemed to dry up and her skin seemed to be recovering, but she started pulling out feathers on her tail, chest, and abdomen a few days ago.
comb is completely limp, she is trying to coo but there is no sound, she has almost pure water stools, and just seems overall pretty listless
Welcome To BYC

Can you please post some photos of Lucy and her poop?

When treating her, did you feel inside her vent for an egg?
Check her crop is it empty, bloated, squishy, etc. Her abdomen between her legs below the vent is there any swelling or fluid?
Look for lice/mites too.
Trying to coo but no sound - look inside her beak for obstruction, lesions or canker.
I would work on seeing if I could get her hydrated, once she's drinking then offer her some food.

At 3-4yrs old and not laying eggs she may be showing symptoms of reproductive issues.
 

morganstig

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
21
16
26
Upstate South Carolina
Welcome To BYC

Can you please post some photos of Lucy and her poop?

When treating her, did you feel inside her vent for an egg?
Check her crop is it empty, bloated, squishy, etc. Her abdomen between her legs below the vent is there any swelling or fluid?
Look for lice/mites too.
Trying to coo but no sound - look inside her beak for obstruction, lesions or canker.
I would work on seeing if I could get her hydrated, once she's drinking then offer her some food.

At 3-4yrs old and not laying eggs she may be showing symptoms of reproductive issues.

Thank you for the reply.

I’ve gotten her to drink some electrolyte water today, but not eat much. Her crop was mushy when I checked this morning, but it didn’t look like she ate overnight, so maybe sour crop? Her overall behavior just seems extreme for it to be just that.

She is a very good layer but stopped laying about 3 weeks ago at the onset of the vent gleet. I don’t think she is egg bound. If so, we’ve already hit the 24 hour mark.

No swelling of the abdomen although she is featherless. It looks as if her feather are beginning to grow back as you can tell from the picture of her bottom. Runny diarrhea still. No noticeable parasites.
EE5AF214-434E-4303-94A3-9C783BE76096.jpeg
1A598162-9296-407F-97EB-CE786CFE6584.jpeg
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Her crop was mushy when I checked this morning, but it didn’t look like she ate overnight, so maybe sour crop? Her overall behavior just seems extreme for it to be just that.
She is a very good layer but stopped laying about 3 weeks ago at the onset of the vent gleet.
Crop issues and Vent Gleet can go hand in hand.
A sour crop can definitely make them very sick.

Her not laying eggs for 3 weeks is also a concern. I would be worried she may have a reproductive problem too.

I would treat for sour crop as outlined in the article below. Keep her hydrated.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/
 

Chickmama672

Chirping
Mar 28, 2020
69
75
53
Morgantown, WV
I'm not sure that I have anything to add that will help here, but I'd be surprised if it wasnt a reproductive issue. Golden Comets, because of their impressive growth rate, and their early and prolific laying rarely continue to produce at her age and tend to have issues with reproductive tumors and such.
 

morganstig

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
21
16
26
Upstate South Carolina
Thank you everyone that offered advice and information. It is always nice to know others want to share their knowledge and take.

UPDATE:

Quarantine Day 1: Her crop did feel squishy and she had a bit of an odor so assuming it is sour crop, even though her condition seemed extreme for it to be just that. I started treatment for sour crop with the micanozole method. Drinking a little but no food consumption.

Quarantine Day 2: Her crop went down in size and was less squishy, but she had almost no energy. She wasn't interested in food at all or drinking much, but I still got some water down when I splashed in a bowl of water. I just have a strong feeling that it is more than just sour crop. Although no blood in her stool, I also started treating for coccidiosis with Corid (amprolium) in her drinking water due to very wet, warm, humid conditions we've had for a few weeks paired with the listlessness, diarrhea, lack of food and water consumptions, and rough feathers. However none of the other chickens have it. The edges of her comb started to darken.

Today: Absolutely no interest in water or food and absolutely no energy so I've been getting the medicated water into her with a syringe. She has developed watery diarrhea with some yellow foam and dark green material. Her comb is still dark near the edges.
***
I do have Amtyl (amoxicillin/tylosin) on hand if may be a bacterial infection as opposed to coccidiosis but am unsure if I should switch treatments? At this point she has only been on Amprolium for a little over 24 hours with little consumption of the medicated water.

Even if it turns out to be a tumor or other deadly issue that no one could help, I still want to know that I did what I could given the symptoms.
IMG_3454 2.JPG
 
Last edited:

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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I'm sorry she is not doing any better.
As mentioned before, with her stopping laying, her age, breed, etc. she may be suffering from a reproductive disorder. Cancer, tumors, Salpingitis, Egg Yolk Peritonitis, Internal Laying, etc. can be common in laying hens.
Often Crop Issues accompany reproductive disorders due to inflammation in the body/reproductive system.

The comb darkening on the edges - I saw the photo you posted on the other thread that was started today. I've seen that in hens that have reproductive problems. Sadly, I have not found a cure (nor has anyone else that I know). Darkening of the comb is generally thought to be caused by reduction of oxygen and/or stress on the heart/organ dysfunction - this is often seen, ime, when hens are in a state of decline.

Supportive care is all I've found to give. Sometimes a hen may improve for a period of time and seem happy within herself and do fairly well. Sometimes I've had hens that continued to decline no matter what I have tried. At that point, I put them out of their misery and perform an informal necropsy just to try to figure out and learn more about the"cause" of the symptoms I was seeing. (yes, my birds do have names and I consider them more pet than livestock) It sounds a bit morbid, but when you can actually see - you begin to put things together so you can recognize subtle symptoms/differences and *hopefully* catch things a little early and begin offering extra care - this may help/may not, but for me worth a try.

Supportive care for me can include treating for crop issues, Cocccidiosis, worms and IF I think an antibiotic may help, then I have administered those as well.
 

morganstig

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
21
16
26
Upstate South Carolina
I truly appreciate all of your feedback. It really is comforting and encouraging to have another mind thinking about what I can do to help her.

At this point she has developed lots of fluid or swelling on her abdomen. I am still giving her water by syringe. I’ve been setting her in the yard once or twice a day, and until yesterday she just sat there with her eyes closed. Yesterday she started pecking around and got a few bugs and blades of grass. I also coaxed her into mealworms after scrambled eggs and moistened crumble have failed.

I don’t think a backyard autopsy is morbid, even though mine are lap chickens. However, if I don’t find any evidence of tumors or cancer I will always think I may have treated her incorrectly. So I’m on the fence on whether or not I will open her up to look if her end is near.

She still isn’t quite right. I’m hoping if all treatments fail she can at least live somewhat comfortably until she goes. Only time will tell.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
40,024
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1,362
Southern N.C. Mountains
At this point she has developed lots of fluid or swelling on her abdomen. I am still giving her water by syringe
OK So you are feeling fluid in the abdomen?
I have never drained a hen, but some folks do to offer supportive care. While not a cure, draining some of the fluid (if what you feel is fluid) can help them breath easier and be more comfortable. The fluid is called "Ascites" - sometimes fluid accompanies reproductive problems as mentioned and/or organ dysfunction. There are risks to draining - it's possible to introduce bacteria through the needle stick, if drained too fast some have had a hen die from cardiac arrest. My understanding from talking to those who have drained is go slow with your draw and even make a few other "holes" and let gravity help the fluid drip, if that makes sense. Administering an antibiotic when drained is something I would consider as well to help with any potential infection and help with inflammation.

Hens can continue to have fluid and some drain as needed. Draining may get her over this crisis moment and you may be able to try detox to see if that will help manage fluid.

I'm very sorry!

Here's where @coach723 outlines how she gives detox
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...-breath-if-you-hold-her.1284253/post-20750855

Here's a good video on draining - there's quite a few on youtube.
 

morganstig

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
21
16
26
Upstate South Carolina
Thank you to everyone who gave advice! Lucy ended up getting about 85% better after treating with a broad spectrum antibiotic. Her comb regained most of its color, she isn’t quite as skinny, her abdomen is holding much less fluid, and she is acting mostly normal. She still doesn’t lay eggs, but that’s way ok as long as she is a happy chicken!
3B3C3ACC-1C7F-457F-AB62-6FFC22686130.jpeg
 

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