My chicken won't eat, and looks very sick (Update; Cars passed away)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by clothcanoemama, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. clothcanoemama

    clothcanoemama Hatching

    Jun 12, 2009
    Hi everyone, I'm new around here [​IMG] . I've been checking out this board for a while now as a lurker and just now finally registered. I'm Genevieve, I have 4 laying hens, and I've grown so attached to them these past months. So now with one of them not doing well I'm worried, and since this is the first time I've had chickens I need some expert help.

    Cars (which is my son's hen) has been looking lethargic for the past 6 days, so I've been looking at her closely to see what's the problem. She;

    Doesn't eat
    Sleeps all day
    Is not interested in being with the other three hens
    Is not interested in the bugs the kids find for them, doesn't pick at the grass anymore
    Has a bald patch in the front on her chest (which feels grainy inside, like there is a blockage or something and her food is getting stuck there)
    Her poop is like mustard yellow goop
    Her wings droop
    Her color around the eyes is more of a grainy white and not red like the others
    Weighs absolutely nothing, she is all bones which are protruding from everywhere
    Her tail is always down

    This is her yesterday, after she had eaten a little;

    And today, she didn't touch her food, and you can see the yellow poop (sorry to be gross in showing you this but everyone's seen chicken poop here I imagine);

    I've looked for a break in the wing with no luck, as well as a backed up egg. I've tried feeding her yummy stuff to no avail, I've made her mush with her food/water/egg and although she did take some last night when I brought her in, she is not interested tonight. She did have a normal poop this morning, and then tonight her poop is back to mustard yellow goop.

    What could be the problem? Her skin around the eyes is fine, but apart from that she looks like a mighty sick chicken [​IMG] . Help?
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  2. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

    May 15, 2009
    How old is she? Has she ever been wormed? Is her crop impacted? I would keep her separate from the others so she can rest. Mix a little of her feed (crush it if it is large pellets) with yogurt. If she is having digestive issues this might help clear them up. Try to get her to eat scrambled eggs mixed with cottage cheese. Scramble one egg let it cool and add maybe a tablespoon of cottage cheese. Give her a teaspoon full every hour. Always have fresh water and food for her. Hopefully this will perk her up. Keep us posted. Good luck
  3. clothcanoemama

    clothcanoemama Hatching

    Jun 12, 2009
    She's about a year and a half, we bought her 3 months ago from farmers who have fed her organic feed, I don't "think" she was wormed, but I could ask. It really does look like her crop is impacted, it's hard to the touch, slightly warm, and you can feel the grains through her skin. There's also a bald spot right there. She doesn't move much, like in the pic she'll lay down and stay. I kept her in my room last night to keep an eye on her (in a cage), and this morning I saw she was finally drinking. Last night I had to hand feed and give her water, she would have none of it on her own.

    Thanks, I'm going to try your suggestions and hope this passes!
  4. dmdhart

    dmdhart Songster

    Jun 12, 2009
    Millwood, VA
    I know how heartbreaking this can be. You might want to try giving her some vitamins in her water. Poly Vi Sol is a good one. I am lucky enough to have a "bird vet" locally. You might try looking in the yellow pages to see if you have one. Usually one that is good with exotics can help. If you're going to take her to the vet, I would do it pretty quickly.
  5. If you're convinced the crop is impacted (which would explain the poop - the colour might be caused by the fact that not much food is getting through and so she's only pooping bile) you should act fast.

    You need to get some olive oil (or similar vegetable-based oil) down her, and gently massage her crop to break up the mass inside it. If she will willingly take the oil a little at a time, great, but if not, you need to drip it onto the top of her beak so that she is encouraged to swallow it once it runs down the side (don't ever try and force liquids down a chicken's beak - it is incredibly easy to drown them if it goes down the wrong tube). Once she's had a couple of mls of oil, you can start to gently knead the crop. Do not push hard upwards (this may cause her to regurgitate some of the contents and then breathe them into her respiratory system, and is another way of accidentally choking/drowning them.) Just get hold of the mass and gently try and mix it with the oil and soften it with your fingertips.

    If you can, some organic apple cider vinegar may also be good for chemically breaking up any fibrous material in her crop, so if she'll take that too, all the better.

    She MUST continue to take fluids - lack of food can be tolerated by their little bodies much longer than lack of water. Again, a dropper to put water put onto the top of the beak is a way of making her take it if she doesn't really want to. If you have some children's soluble vitamins you can put in the water, all the better.

    If after a couple of days of massage (ten minutes every couple of hours should do it - not constantly, it'll stress her too much, even if she appears to enjoy it) she still has a full crop and is not improving, there is surgery... but let's not go there just yet.

    Good luck, she does look like a beautiful girl and I do hope you can save her [​IMG]
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    From the sounds of it, time is truly of the essence here. I don't think she will last much longer without getting to the root of the problem. [​IMG]

    Hen Ellie presented with lethargy and yellow poo last September - rushed her to the vet and blood work revealed results consistent with infection and/or inflammation. Antibiotics and antiinflammatories rallied her very quickly (but I took her in the first day she showed symptoms - 6 days for your hen is a very long time for a chicken to be sick and given that you said her weight has really dropped, she is in serious trouble). Honestly, I don't think Ellie would have made it without that help. She is the picture of health ever since (except for a blasted dog attack, but she's recovering).

    In your hens case, it could well be the crop. If you don't have experience with this I would get her to a vet right away if you can or find someone (another chicken person) who does have experience with this and have them visit asap today. Also, do a search here on BYC for impacted crop and for sour crop (see "Search" mechanism up above) and see which sounds the most like your hen's symptoms and what the guidance is. Ah, I see Cara just posted with some crop advice!

    Re: the Polyvisol liquid childrens vitamins, 3 drops daily. You also need to try to keep this poor hen hydrated.

    Also, is she laying eggs? How regularly and when was the last one?

    Continue to relay everything you can so the max number of folks see your post and can respond.

    I hope your hen will get better.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  7. clothcanoemama

    clothcanoemama Hatching

    Jun 12, 2009
    Thanks y'all, this really helps. It took a while for me to notice something was up, I'm new to having chickens so I wasn't sure which signs to look for. She hasn't been laying for 2 weeks now, when we got all 4 hens only 2 were laying, then a month later, all 4 were laying finally. Then 2 weeks ago it went back down to 3 eggs a day. I thought it was the weather, or one or 2 were stressed, since it took a while for all 4 to lay after we got them. The other three look in perfect health and are as perky and talkative as ever.

    She's been drinking on her own constantly this morning, and her crop feels softer, and I do not feel any grains in there anymore. It's also her body temperature now and not warmer to the touch. Her poop this morning was blackish, runny but no yellow in there. And whew it was a strong odor (and I'm not squeamish by any means). I've given her cool scrambled eggs and cottage cheese this morning (although she hasn't touched that yet), and I'll try the olive oil and organic apple cider vinegar, which I have right here. I'll also visit my feed store today to get some vitamins and talk to the owners, and see if there is someone local who could check her out.

    She is still lethargic, closes her eyes and sleeps a lot, does not walk around, the only improvement as I said was that she was drinking on her own this morning and her poop was a different color and consistency this morning. I'll keep you updated, I really want to save this girl [​IMG] .
  8. Quote:Hi JJ! Hope you're well.

    We had Bella at the vets again on Thursday afternoon - nearly lost her to binding with soft shelled eggs. She did pass them though, after six breast muscle shots (2 x calcium, 2 x oxytocin, anti-inflammatory and Baytril) and is 100% better today. She amazes me with her incredible ability to bounce back. I seriously didn't expect her to make it through Thursday night and yet by lunchtime yesterday you wouldn't have known anything had been wrong.

    She's on Baytril, as one of them may have broken on the way out, and we are seriously considering the hysterectomy now. Our vet has grudgingly (he thinks surgery is too dangerous) recommended an avian specialist two hours away who could possibly do it for £200. It's so difficult to decide though, as the anaesthetic risk is so great, and she literally only had this one incident, lasting one day, since the last time in April. She doesn't seem to have any other health issues at any other time. She always pulls through, and her quality of life is only ever affected for that one day (once the softie eggs are out, she's 100% normal again), so is it worth risking her life on this surgery? It's very hard to know what to do for the best...

    Sorry, thread hijack alert! Apologies everyone.

    Back to the original topic...
  9. Quote:Does sound like the crop is no longer an issue then. Don't worry about doing the olive oil massge if it has gone down on it's own. If she has done a smelly caecal poop, that's a good sign too, and the fact she's taking on lots of fluids is excellent.

    I'm afraid that without a proper veterinary opinion, this could be quite a lot of things, all or any of which could prove fatal. She's been unwell for too long now... definitely get an expert to have a look at her asap today. You may want to have some faecal samples taken too, as it is seeming likely she has a bug of some sort. It could be peritonitis (and like JJ's hen, that could be relieved with anti inflammatories and antibiotics, but is often fatal despite treatment), it could be a serious worm infestation, it could be any number of diseases (e-coli possibly?), or it could be a failure of a vital organ (kidneys, liver?). It's just a little too complicated to call without samples and a proper examination.

    I think we're probably beyond self-help for her now, as the obvious easy-fix (crop impaction) isn't looking relevant any longer...

    Kepp us updated on her progress...
  10. chickletranch

    chickletranch Songster

    Jun 6, 2009
    I just lost a hen under similar circumstances. She had broken an egg inside her and the yellow in her poo was actually yolk. I brought her into the house inside a cage, fed her scrambled eggs and fresh corn, put water in her vitamins and started her on a course of antibiotics, but she died within a week. Could have been sepsis, I don't know. I couldn't feel any shell when I checked her and did all I could.

    Good luck with your hen. Best, Lynn

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