listless hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by txnovicefarmer, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. txnovicefarmer

    txnovicefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2015
    Batson, Texas
    Last week I noticed my adult hen (five years old) hunched over in the barn away from the flock. I immediately brought her inside to examine her. No signs of trauma. Her feathers look fine, cone is nice and red and her eyes are clean. No crusting on her vent and it looked fine as well.She seemed alert, but would not eat or drink. I gave her a spa treatment; a warm soak in water mixed with about a half cup of Epsom salt and a good dose of olive oil. I dried her well with the hairdryer (which she loved) and left her in a dog crate inside. The next day she still looked fine, but the food and water I'd left for her were untouched and she had not pooped. I gave her another spa treatment and the olive oil. She seemed fine otherwise ... alert and in no distress. I left her isolated in the coop that day and away from the flock. It's been this way all week. It was chilly last night so I kept her inside, after her spa treatment. Still not eating or drinking. This morning I gave her another liberal dose of oil and offered her bread, which she ate after I gently pried her beak open a bit. I didn't give her too much ... maybe a heaping teaspoon. I also made her drink water. She immediately pooped. I put her back into the coop, isolated from the flock (my chickens are free range, but they do roost in the coop at night). The other hens are not picking on her, but since she's been sick I bring her in at night to sleep in the dog crate. She hasn't laid any eggs since the onset of this strange illness and seems to be feeling okay. She is not molting. I feed a grain mix ... not a medicated or laying pellet and they eat bugs. All the other chickens are fine. I don't know what could be wrong with her. Does anyone have any advise. This is my favorite chicken ... Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  2. DwayneNLiz

    DwayneNLiz ...lost... Premium Member

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    could be eggbound, i would try dosing with tums/calcium

    keep her warm, sick chickens like to be 80-85*, hence why she liked the blow dryer

    if she is pooping that is a good sign, how did her poop look?
     
  3. txnovicefarmer

    txnovicefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2015
    Batson, Texas
    It was a little runny ... but I've been giving her olive oil. I've put her in the coop for the day. It's warm here in southeast Texas. She's been staying in a nesting box. At least that's where she's been every time I've checked on her. She's alert and greets me. Her eyes are still clear. She does not seem stressed. I'll bring her in tonight since it'll be a little chilly and I want her to be away from the other hens. I'll continue to give her the spa baths and oil. They seem to be working. Thank you for the advise. I'll try it after her bath.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi

    I would be very concerned if she is not eating and drinking on her own. What does her crop feel like? Check last thing at night and then first thing in the morning before she has access to food and see if there is any difference. If she really is not eating then her crop will be empty at night and in the morning....she cannot survive if that continues. If her crop feels full evening and is still full in the morning then she has a crop issue, probably impacted and you need to massage it regularly along with the oil to help break it up so that it can pass. If all she will eat is bread, then give her bread, but you might try soaking some pellets in warm water and see if she will eat that as a warm mash or make her some porridge. It is better to give her wet mushy food rather than anything dry or hard.
    What does she feel like condition wise? Does she feel skin and bone and feathers or quite heavy? How does her keel bone feel....pronounced and sharp or well padded or somewhere in between?
    Does she have any abdominal swelling? Compare with your other chickens.

    Am I right in understanding that you just feed grains and not a compound feed like pellets or crumbles? Grains are high in calories but not so high in protein and can lead to excess fat deposits which put a strain on the internal organs. Do your hens have access to plenty of grit?....this is particularly important if you feed whole grains. I soak my grains for several days to help digestion. It really is best to feed a formulated feed, so that they are getting the right balance of nutrients.

    Good luck with her. I would go easy on the spa treatments.... you can get too much of a good thing and if she isn't obviously struggling to pass an egg or need a poopy bot cleaning up, then a heat pad will be more beneficial to warm her up.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
  5. txnovicefarmer

    txnovicefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2015
    Batson, Texas
    Thank you so much for your advise. I will put my hens back on a pellet tomorrow. Someone suggested offering dried meal worms to my sick hen. My hens love them and I use them as a treat only, but I'll try to feed my sick hen some tomorrow. I have been giving her water soggy bread. Today I added calcium ... very wet. At first I had to force her to eat, but this evening she took the food willingly. She hasn't pooped much today, so I'm giving the oil again and will begin massaging her. She is alert with clear eyed and does not seem stressed. She is thin, but she's a little chicken. I do see her breast bone, but she's still fleshy. I'm keeping her warm in the dog crate and will introduce moist pellets tomorrow. Thank you again.
     
  6. txnovicefarmer

    txnovicefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2015
    Batson, Texas
    This morning my hen is doing better. She's still not eating very well, but I'm offering her water soggy bread and soggy oatmeal with a bit of calcium added. Her crop is empty. She pooped twice, but there was no poop in her crate from last night. The first poop was a little runny, but the second was sold and dark. I'm going to start her on baby food (fruit and veggie) today and offer her meal worms and try to keep her hydrated. She looks fine. She's alert and resisted my examination this morning. That is good. She's been sedate and listless for the past week and now she's doing some better, but still not very interested in eating. I hope that will improve once she's in the coop and can see and hear her friends. I've been keeping her inside at night and putting her in the coop by herself during the day (my chickens are free range, but they roost in the coop at night). Her eyes are still clear. Nose is clear. Cone is a nice bright color. She does not seem overly thin, although she is skinny. She is still fleshy and does not seem dehydrated. I've been making her drink water and she gets plenty of fluids in the soggy meal and bread. I am going to start my chickens back on a pellet today. I've been throwing out a good mixed grain that they love and they eat plenty of bugs, plus I give them fresh veggies; lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers ... stuff I cut away from our salads. They love it. Often I give them melons and apples... so they eat lots of stuff besides the grains. All my other hens (I have 8 total) are doing well. Today my hen is standing up while previously she's been laying in a corner, quite listless. She has not laid an egg since the onset of her illness. I see she's starting to molt a bit. Thank you for the great advise.
     
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Pleased to hear she is looking stronger and brighter and that you intend to start giving them pellets rather than just grains. It's also good to hear that her crop is not impacted. I would not expect her to lay an egg when she is sick and it doesn't sound to me like she is egg bound. It is important to monitor how much she is eating and get plenty of good nutrition and fluids into her. Your description is a bit confusing....
    "She is thin, but she's a little chicken. I do see her breast bone, but she's still fleshy." What parts are fleshy? If you can see her breast bone through her feathers I would be concerned!
    "She does not seem overly thin, although she is skinny." To me that sounds like she is underweight.

    Once they get too skinny they start to feel the cold and lose the will to eat and their digestive system starts to shut down.

    Whilst all chickens love grains, it needs to be rationed because it does not contain enough protein....just mostly carbohydrates. Chickens need a high protein diet to produce eggs. Veggies and fruit fill them up and provide vitamins and minerals but they have even less protein content, so that dilutes their protein intake even further.

    I would suggest you give your sick hen some scrambled egg(which is high in protein, mixed into the soggy bread or oatmeal mash, rather than baby food. She needs plenty to eat not just a teaspoon or two. She isn't pooping much because her system is empty....it can't come out if it doesn't go in the other end first!! Also important to keep her warm until she is eating well otherwise she is just using up more of her body reserves.
    There is little point putting her in the coop through the day if the other hens are out free ranging. Better for her to be in the warm in the house all day unless you have a heating pad you can use in the coop and important to have her isolated so you know how much she is eating and of course pooping. It would be a shame if she slipped back now that you are making some progress. I appreciate that chickens don't eat when they get depressed and having companionship of other chickens encourages them to eat, but you have to get them to a point where they are strong enough to cope with that and by the sound of it, your girl is a way off that yet.

    Good luck with her. I hope she continues to improve.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
  8. DwayneNLiz

    DwayneNLiz ...lost... Premium Member

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    glad that she is perking up

    BUT she needs more calcium, like 1/2-1 tums, and lots of protein

    an egg contains 6g of protein in a 50g egg so only 12%

    Tuna on the other hand is approximately 29% protein, you should mix some layer pellets/crumble in with some tuna, and chickens LOVE meat and fish so she may it it voraciously
     
  9. txnovicefarmer

    txnovicefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    35
    Mar 6, 2015
    Batson, Texas
    Thank you so much for your advise and comments. I will bring my hen in and keep her warm. She just stays in the nest box anyway. She is a puzzle. I donr know what's wrong with her. I feed her often ... still having to force her to eat. But she us eating. She's fleshy. I'm sorry for the confusion. I see little difference in her from when she was healthy and mingling with the flock. I'm perplexed. I just want her to be okay. This is my favorite chicken. She is very sweet. I'll keep her warm and comfortable. I've stopped the spa baths. She is alert and clear eyed. I will try the scrambled eggs now. Just want her to be okay. Thank you for your concern.
     
  10. txnovicefarmer

    txnovicefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    35
    Mar 6, 2015
    Batson, Texas
    My hen is back to normal. I've had her inside for the past several nights and I've been feeding her tuna and scrambled eggs. At first I had to force her to eat and drink, but then she began to eat on her own. I placed her back into the coop this afternoon and she's doing well. I'm not sure what was wrong with her, but she's better and for that I'm thankful. I'm also thankful for all the great info. I'm not sure my hen would've recovered without it.
     

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