My RIR has weight loss, runny poop, lethargic

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jasminty, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. jasminty

    jasminty Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Sep 15, 2008
    CA
    I'm sorry this is long but I'm trying to give all the details I can think of.
    A few months ago (early spring) I adopted two RIRs that I was told are little over three "and good layers".
    When I first got them I was convinced that one was sick, much more docile, slightly runny poop, pale comb.
    Not knowing this bird at all (or chickens as these are my first) I didn't know if I was having nervous mommy syndrome, if she was getting ready to molt etc. I let her be figuring she was probably just stressed from being relocated (same city, new home).
    She seemed to get better with in a week.

    As far as I know she has never layed an egg since we've had her (From the other one we get about 3 eggs every four days. (recently has been a bit lower)), but she has otherwise seemed healthy though she tends to get a pale comb from time to time depending on the weather and time of day.

    In the past few days I noticed her poop has become runny, and she has been lethargic. Instead of perching at night she has been going in the coop and sitting near the door. Her tail also seemed droopy.

    Her poop is thin white/clear/ with some pale yellow or sometimes more solid brown with the runny white/clear. (my other RIR lays eggs with almost orange yolks, this seems much paler than a yolk color?). It caused a severe poop butt which I noticed today the weight of the clump seemed to be pulling feathers out, so I sat her in some warm water (15 mins) and cleaned her up a bit. She was calm for the most part so I think she liked it.

    Now I am very concerned because when I picked her up I can tell shes lost too much weight. I can feel her chest bones easily. Shes been pecking around but clearly not like normal. She has been drinking pleanty.

    I really thought this would pass like the first time, I didn't realized she was this bad off. I feel very bad for her.

    Now I have her in a kennel with some food and water inside my laundry room. Already her comb looks much better, but like I said it kind of has always done that.

    When I feel underneath her I guess one side feels more taught maybe swollen, but I can not feel a distinctive egg shape. Shes willing let me prod her a little, so it must not be terribly painful.

    I'm guessing either shes been laying internally (since I've had her?), is egg bound or has parasites and possibly lack of nutrition? but really I dont know more specifics of symptoms.

    So here are some details about our environment and their living sitt to which I am probably making terrible mistakes in my ignorance:

    I feed them scratch (it says its for laying hens). This is what the person before me was feeding them.... I plan to buy crumble next time.

    Their run has a little deck that has food and water and then a dirt area with straw in the bottom (also how the person before me kept the ground dry I guess? they gave me the straw), which I noticed needs to be turned and then usually I add some on top but the birds pretty much only go in the run to perch at night. or eat on the wooden deck, which leads to the coop. (Coop has wood litter/shavings and small amount of straw.)

    The sprinklers do hit the run a little bit, but I usually run them in the late afternoon or early morning and it averages 85-90 here, so I dont think it stays wet (from what I can tell anyways).

    Chickens get free run of the yard (as do my two big dogs), I have grass that is suffering badly due to the fact that I can't weed treat it or fertilize. A recently noticed large mushrooms had pooped up (which surprised me due to the warmth/dryness), they dont look as though they been dug up or pecked...)

    They have had access to my kids moon sand which got thrown all over a section of the yard, but its non toxic and I think is only a fine white sand (colored red) and beeswax....

    In some of my garden I put egg shells with my (strawberries and pumpkins). They've have been known to jump the little divider and go crazy digging.

    I noticed today that the scratch, which I keep in a Rubbermaid container out side (also how the person before me stored it) seems to be infested with black ant like beatles. This is the first I've noticed it. But if chickens are scavengers dont they eat all kinds of bugs anyways?


    I feel Like I need to act pretty fast and can hopefully find what I need at one of the local feed stores, but I dont know what to give...
    I know nothing. I tried really hard to research before I go them, and went to my neighbors house to learn how she cared for them. It all seem straight forward until I got the birds! So I appreciate any help on to get her better. Unfortunately a trip to the vet is not possible.


    Do I deworm her, give her antibiotics? Please help!
    I dont know where to start!!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I'm sorry you are going through this [​IMG] I just finished almost the same thing with my Buff Orp (thread Listless laying pullet). She was doing almost everything your RIR is except she didn't lose any weight. She might have I guess if I hadn't caught it within a couple days. I definitely agree acting fast is the best course of action. I wormed her with Ivomec (all I could get here) and within 24 hours she was doing much better. She is still not 100% but she is definitely better. I force fed her yogurt the day I wormed her and by the next night she was eating on her own again and the runny yellow yolk like poo was gone.

    I'm sure others will have ideas too but this would be my suggestion only because it worked for me!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  3. jasminty

    jasminty Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Sep 15, 2008
    CA
    Thanks,

    I have been thinking she was egg bound but after reading your post I started to suspect worms. (though I have never seen any).

    I am wondering what I should feed her ? (not wanting to make it worse IF she is egg bound).

    Also wondering about the bugs in their food (how that will affect them) and how to keep that from happening again after I go get new food today. Is crumble a better choice, should I mix it with scratch? AND what I could be doing better in general (on a tight budget). Really I have no idea what I'm doing!


    I went in to clean up her crate last night and she perked up a little and ate and drank, and seemed curious to her surroundings [​IMG]

    I think I will try to find a wormer today, but in the future will try the pumpkin seeds w/ buttermilk.

    Should I worm the other one just one case (and if I do toss the eggs?) She has slowed to an egg every other day, but the nights are getting colder and the days shorter so, I assume thats normal (although she kept laying in 105 heat this summer)??? She is otherwise healthy, eating and drinking, and spunky as usual.

    Thanks for the help in becoming a better bird mommy [​IMG]!!!!
     
  4. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Quote:Perking up is a good thing [​IMG]

    Oh you are welcome [​IMG] I learned a lot from others in my thread. I was having the same questions too - what can I do better? I am so new to this and basically winging it! The answer I came up with was nothing because I treat my chickens like they are pets which means they get the best of everything, lol. Our pets live better than we do sometimes! I read and research everything I can regarding their health, feed, etc. I clean their coop and run every other day, I keep fresh water, I make sure their food is fresh (yes, I went out and bought all new food too, just in case) and I just generally keep an eye on them so I know when they are acting differently. I also practice preventive medicine (ie the pumpkin seeds and buttermilk is now added to that list) I think this is about all anyone can do. Any animal can get worms. I worked at my vet's office for a while and even the best of pet owners had animals with worms. They just happen.

    As far as what to worm her with, there are lots of good ideas in the thread I started. I would suggest looking for those if you can in your area. If not, if you have a vet, get Ivomec. It's not the best I guess for the their systems, but I figure if it's all you can get quickly, it is better than nothing. It's really not that expensive (a few bucks) either because you need next to nothing for these girls. I used .02ml which is basically just a drop. Oh, and my vet gave me enough to do the whole flock, but I haven't yet. I haven't decided if I'm going to or not but at least I have it if any of my others show sign.

    Rosalie was drinking ok too and I only force fed Rosalie because I knew she wasn't eating at all and that worried me. She was getting so weak. The yogurt seemed fine and I knew it was good for them in so many ways, plus it was the only thing I could make her eat! Lol you just can't get a chicken's beak open very easily, lol.

    I really hope she continues to get better like mine did. It was scary for a few days. Keep us posted and don't worry, you are doing a great job [​IMG]
     
  5. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I forgot in my earlier to reply to say that I would give her some poly-vi-sol, 3 drops a day for a week. I'm still giving them to my pullet. Also, if you haven't already, I would glove and lube up and check her for an egg. That won't elimate internal laying, but it will tell you if she is egg bound (I think! Lol I'm still learning too)

    I was just lucky enough to get a poo sample from Rosalie, which I ran up to my vet immediatly for screening. I'm curious to see what it says.
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Could be worms, but at that age, I might suspect she's laying internally, especially since she isn't producing any eggs. I've lost three hens this year, about two and a half years old each, to internal laying. Egg material builds up in the oviduct and "cooks" solid. They lose lots of weight, have no energy in spite of eating and drinking well, etc. We did necropsies ourselves on them and so we know this for certain. It's a hormonal imbalance, I'm told, and incurable.
     
  7. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I completely forgot the losing weight part in this pullet. That is the one symptom mine did not have, but I don't think mine is producing eggs yet either.
     
  8. jasminty

    jasminty Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Sep 15, 2008
    CA
    Quote:Thanks every one for taking the time to respond,

    So do you know what some key factors/symptoms might be in telling the difference in if its worms or eggs that is making her ill?

    And if I glove and lube, what would be the difference in the feeling of egg bound vs internal laying?

    If she is laying internally or egg bound, would it be harmful to give her a dewormer just in case?

    One thing that makes me think internal laying is because shes never layed for me, has always seemed a bit less active from time to time: goes through phases (kinda sickly like when I first got her), shes almost always gets poop butt, and a pale comb come and goes, she has always been very docile compared to her sister.

    Honestly I think maybe there was something pre existing when I got her, but because I dont know chickens and haven't known her long thought maybe it was just her, shes not as good with hygiene, so its gone untreated....

    The weight loss is what really got my attention. Can both worms and internal laying can exist for a while with out immediate serious illness?

    I dont feel like she on her last leg, but I'm pretty clear she wont get better on her own or she would have by now, and I know things can go down hill quick with these gals sometimes (esp if un-treated).


    Thanks for the help and info!!!
     
  9. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Their run has a little deck that has food and water and then a dirt area with straw in the bottom (also how the person before me kept the ground dry I guess? they gave me the straw), which I noticed needs to be turned and then usually I add some on top but the birds pretty much only go in the run to perch at night. or eat on the wooden deck, which leads to the coop. (Coop has wood litter/shavings and small amount of straw.)

    The sprinklers do hit the run a little bit, but I usually run them in the late afternoon or early morning and it averages 85-90 here, so I dont think it stays wet (from what I can tell anyways).

    You want to make sure that there isn't any mold - wet dirt and straw are places mold love to grow. It may look dry, but may still be damp enough to encourage mold growth. Mold can kill a chicken.​
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Can both worms and internal laying can exist for a while with out immediate serious illness?

    It can seem that they arent seriously ill. A healthy bird can handle a mild worm load with no problems. It's when they overwhelm the system that you see them going downhill. Internal laying is always serious. The egg material will not expell and just continues to build up. She will eventually die without a complete hysterectomy, which is obviously quite expensive. I had one going downhill for months then she became too ill to even walk over a 1" lip in the coop doorway and we elected to let her go then. All the same symptoms you described were present.​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by