My chicken looks depressed / puffed / naps standing during the day / doesnt eat and socialize

Mayabarabi

Hatching
Mar 9, 2018
5
0
2
Hey im an owner to 10 chickens, three of which are Plymouth rock hens, i own a rooster too (giving any detail to make sure i dont miss anything). Theyre all year and a half old. One of the Plymouth rock hens about two weeks ago started looking kinda "depressed", was standing with eyes close "napping" in some corner and looked puffed up like a bulb of feathers not moving (not like they do when they are broody and really puff up but just looked round and stood still). Week later i came home and my dad told me he thinks shes unwell bc she kept being that way and barely eats and drinks. I read for eggbound but the first three symptoms match but it says they do for almost every sickness and we kinda checked and it doesnt feel that way. Few days later my dad said she eats now and maybe shes fine but sometimes she still looks sick, and today she literally DID NOT STOP drinking water like for an hour she kept standing near it and drinking? ? All the other chickens are fine and i think her poops is fine because i didnt see any unusual droppings so unless she doesnt poop which i doubt since she does kinds eat now its fine. Sorry its long im new to this and worried. Also maybe related: we moved them to other part of the yard and blocked the other, the move also included a night with light rain that we did n realize they dont have proper cover for two hours? Maybe 3? Before we moved them. light rain tho.
 

Hen Pen Jem

Crowing
Sep 19, 2017
1,677
5,456
352
Southern California
Greetings Mayabarabi,

When a chicken stands around with it's feathers puffed, eyes closing/sleepy, lethargic, these are symptoms that should alert the chicken keeper. But, when a chicken also stops eating, is drinking water - more than is normal, or not at all, then the keeper can be sure that the chicken is sick. The chicken's poop, is also, an important clue in determining what the problem is. So, if you can upload a photo of the chicken's poop this will be helpful for the members here at BYC.

Since she has been sick for two weeks and not given any medical care, she may already be in critical condition. And may not survive, even with care. But, you should do everything you can to help her.

She may have a fever, and that would explain the excessive water drinking. This means she possibly has an infection, and may need an antibiotic.

You need to isolate the hen in a dog crate, large tub or box, with bedding, paper or a mat or towel. Place her in a warm quiet place out of drafts. Provide clean water and food (make sure the water can't be knocked over). Having her isolated, will enable you to monitor her eating, drinking and poop, properly. It will also, be easier to medicate her, and it will give her the safe, warm place, she needs to heal. She cannot compete for food while she is sick.

In order to get an idea of what may be making your chicken sick you'll need to stay calm, and observe the chicken for a few minutes.

Now answer the following questions:
  • Is the chicken active? You say she just stands still.
  • Is the chicken walking normally?
  • Do the feathers look normal? Or, are they scruffy, or broken?
  • Does the chicken look fluffed up? You describe feathers are fluffed.
  • If the chicken is a hen, is she laying eggs?
  • Is the chicken eating? You said she is eating some.
  • Is the chicken drinking water? You said she is drinking more than normal.
Now, examine your chicken:
  • Feel the crop in the morning, is it hard or squishy, with a bad smell?

  • What do the poops look like? Watery or mucousy? What color?

  • Look under the feet, make sure there are no sores, cuts, or scabs.

  • Look at the legs, are they smooth? Are the scales lifting?

  • Feel under her belly, check for blisters or swelling.

  • Look for mites and lice under the feathers, neck, under wings, vent area.

  • Look under the wings, check for lumps or sores.

  • Check the chicken's vent, is it clean and pink? Nothing hanging out?

  • Listen to the breathing, do you hear any rattle noise?

  • Look at her nostrils, any discharge or bubbles coming out?
  • Look at the eyes, are they bright, clear and round?
After you have examined her thoroughly, report back with the details. Don't take too long in following up.

These are my thoughts on your sick chicken. I hope they are helpful.

God Bless, hope to hear from you soon. :)
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,607
51,313
1,302
southern Ohio
Welcome to BYC. Hen Pen Gem has given some good advice. Do you know if she may be starting to molt? She is at the right age for her first molt, and are you seeing feathers lying around in and outside the coop?
 

Mayabarabi

Hatching
Mar 9, 2018
5
0
2
Hello! First of all, thank you so much for this detailed and thoughtful reply. We are new to raising chickens and so far our only tragedy have been with chicks in heavy summer heat when we just started - no sickness related whatsoever. Also i think that for the first year they had been vaccinated when we took them, but we didnt redo it since we were told that its not necessary by the person who sold them to us and he is like the first/biggest backyard chicken owner in the country since there's rarely any bird specialized vets arnd here if any! So the risk of the long drive etc is bigger. I will do all as you said and update what i find tomorrow, and the answers to the questions are:



1. She used to stand still mostly, as if she were depressed / napping standing still but she did MOVE. It was more of a not socializing much thing while the other sun bathed and looked for food she just didnt much. Noe she does way more though and stands way less.



2. Walks completely normal.



3. Totally normals feather. Healthy.



4. I was wrong for saying fluffed feathers, my english is slightly broken but fluffed i see now is just the Broody thing that they do when you get close to them and all the feathers separate and they grow : its not what she looks like. Im sorry for giving wrong information! She is just very like, into herself she doesnt open her wings she kinda sleeps on 2 feet. Ill send pic on tomorrow's update when she wakes up and does this and watch how often.



5. She doesn't lay eggs as much as we know, but none of our other very healthy chickens but two (silkie and aruacana) and one that is brooding do. I suspect it's because they layed in the front yard and we blocked their access to stay in the back, or maybe we just didnt find their new laying spot but i doubt it. They layed there first but the broody chicken also disturbs them. But no she doesnt. We had one unkown shelless egg found earlier last week. The others are very healthy normal looking though.



6. She is eating some for sure, just less, more so now. Will watch her habits and update tomorrow.



7. Im pretty sure she drank LESS water, but yesterday my dad saw her drinking for literally an hour straight when the others long finished drinking she stayed by the water to drink.



Will update as soon as possible with all the checks and the new environment you told us to do and a picture of my baby (her names podoke!). And i'm sorry if it seems like we are irresponsible owners, we love our chickens so much we sit with them hours daily to play, we really care for them and you cannot imagine how much we appreciate the help you've given us! Thank you.
 

Mayabarabi

Hatching
Mar 9, 2018
5
0
2
Welcome to BYC. Hen Pen Gem has given some good advice. Do you know if she may be starting to molt? She is at the right age for her first molt, and are you seeing feathers lying around in and outside the coop?
Sadly we dont see any and i hope its not something worse.. Thank you
 

Mayabarabi

Hatching
Mar 9, 2018
5
0
2
An
Greetings Mayabarabi,

When a chicken stands around with it's feathers puffed, eyes closing/sleepy, lethargic, these are symptoms that should alert the chicken keeper. But, when a chicken also stops eating, is drinking water - more than is normal, or not at all, then the keeper can be sure that the chicken is sick. The chicken's poop, is also, an important clue in determining what the problem is. So, if you can upload a photo of the chicken's poop this will be helpful for the members here at BYC.

Since she has been sick for two weeks and not given any medical care, she may already be in critical condition. And may not survive, even with care. But, you should do everything you can to help her.

She may have a fever, and that would explain the excessive water drinking. This means she possibly has an infection, and may need an antibiotic.

You need to isolate the hen in a dog crate, large tub or box, with bedding, paper or a mat or towel. Place her in a warm quiet place out of drafts. Provide clean water and food (make sure the water can't be knocked over). Having her isolated, will enable you to monitor her eating, drinking and poop, properly. It will also, be easier to medicate her, and it will give her the safe, warm place, she needs to heal. She cannot compete for food while she is sick.

In order to get an idea of what may be making your chicken sick you'll need to stay calm, and observe the chicken for a few minutes.

Now answer the following questions:
  • Is the chicken active? You say she just stands still.
  • Is the chicken walking normally?
  • Do the feathers look normal? Or, are they scruffy, or broken?
  • Does the chicken look fluffed up? You describe feathers are fluffed.
  • If the chicken is a hen, is she laying eggs?
  • Is the chicken eating? You said she is eating some.
  • Is the chicken drinking water? You said she is drinking more than normal.
Now, examine your chicken:
  • Feel the crop in the morning, is it hard or squishy, with a bad smell?

  • What do the poops look like? Watery or mucousy? What color?

  • Look under the feet, make sure there are no sores, cuts, or scabs.

  • Look at the legs, are they smooth? Are the scales lifting?

  • Feel under her belly, check for blisters or swelling.

  • Look for mites and lice under the feathers, neck, under wings, vent area.

  • Look under the wings, check for lumps or sores.

  • Check the chicken's vent, is it clean and pink? Nothing hanging out?

  • Listen to the breathing, do you hear any rattle noise?

  • Look at her nostrils, any discharge or bubbles coming out?
  • Look at the eyes, are they bright, clear and round?
After you have examined her thoroughly, report back with the details. Don't take too long in following up.

These are my thoughts on your sick chicken. I hope they are helpful.

God Bless, hope to hear from you soon. :)


More informative update i can give already right now! I checked her for all the signs, on one hand:
  • Under the feet: clean!

  • Smooth legs

  • Underbelly is fine as much as i felt

  • No mites that ive seen

  • No underwing lumps or sores

  • Clean vent

  • Calm quiet breathing

  • Clean nostrils

  • Eyes are bright, clear and round! Gorgeous baby.

She also reacts well she doesnt feel off when em i check her - doesnt struggle too much to leave but its night time and she kinda did.

But on the OTHER hand:
Saw her poop and realized for the first time why i didnt see any odd poop, its completely clear. Ill add an image but its water like, barely anything on it! She pooped while i checked her. Its completely unnoticeable thats why i thought her poop was like the others since i saw nothing that was odd. Is that worrisome? I was so relieved of seeing no signs of illness but not im terrified. Could it be she was sick and didnt eat but is now better and thats the result?
 

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Hen Pen Jem

Crowing
Sep 19, 2017
1,677
5,456
352
Southern California
Greetings Mayabarabi,

You did a great job, examining your hen, Podoke!

I could tell you not to worry, but, we keepers do worry anyways, when our precious chickens get sick.

A hen can expel a watery poop when they are frightened. For instance, when you suddenly pick them up, especially at night.

This is why you should always isolate a chicken, that you suspect is ill. You can observe them and the kind of poops they are making when they are in a crate, and calm.

Also, you need to have nest boxes for the hens. How do you collect eggs? Do they have a coop to live in?

You report: no respiratory symptoms, no lumps or sores, no mites, the vent is clean, the feet and legs are clean.

She may already be getting better. But, don't rely on this, a hen can suddenly go down hill very quickly and die. Here are the things that concern me about your 1.5 year old hen.
  • Watery diarrhea?
  • a shelless egg found
  • excessive water intake
  • low appetite
I believe she has an infection. It is highly probable that the shelless egg was hers. That may have happened because her body's resources were fighting infection. I cannot tell you what is causing the infection, or if it is viral or bacterial. Being out in the rain without shelter is not good. Her symptoms are not consistent with worms. But, I would have a fecal float (poop test) test done on the flock to see if it could be a contributing issue.

What to do?
  1. At this point, I would keep her separated, out of drafts and cold.
  2. Provide good nursing and supportive care: keep her crate clean, provide feed, fresh water.
  3. Diet: offer cooked egg, diced meat protein, cooked or fresh vegetables or greens, cooked whole grains like (brown rice, wheat berries, barley, oat groats, etc.), a bit of diced fresh fruit.
  4. Administer a vitamin supplement for poultry
  5. Add electrolytes to her water for a day, two days if diarrhea continues.

Medical care: If she was my hen, I would administer a broad spectrum antibiotic.
If her infection is bacterial, the antibiotic will take care of it. And, if it is viral, then the antibiotic will protect her from any secondary infection that may come up. It is common for a sick chicken to have a couple of things that are causing illness. So you will have to be vigilant with her, and, the rest of the flock. If your girl has something infectious, they may have been exposed, or not.

Remember to provide three days of a probiotic supplement, for poultry, after any antibiotic course.

I can tell you really care about your chickens. It takes a few years to learn how to better manage and care for chickens. They are so funny and entertaining, plus they give us all those great eggs! But, when they get sick...it can be heartbreaking and very stressful, if we don't know what to do for them. Ideally, it is good to have a veterinarian that can diagnose and do tests on the sick chicken. But, sometimes there isn't one nearby or a keeper cannot afford one. There are also, good books that will help you learn how to care for your sick chickens.

Since I do not know what your location is, I cannot advise on where to get medication. But, if you need help with this, just let us know here on BYC.

These are my thoughts on your hen's situation, I hope I have been helpful.

Other members will give advise, please consider these too. There are many great chicken keepers here on BYC, with a lot of good experience.

Please keep us updated on your hen's progress.

God Bless and peace to you. :)
 

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