Mysterious Problem with my Chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MeMiniMoo, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. MeMiniMoo

    MeMiniMoo Just Hatched

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    Jan 13, 2014
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    Hey Guys! I am having an issue with one of my Plymouth Rock hen and I would love some help and advice. She is 4 years old and seems to have stopped laying eggs as of a couple of months ago-- this is not the problem though. I apologize for the long post but I wanted to make sure you got all the details.

    It started about two weeks ago when my husband found her laying in the middle of the chicken coop. She was not walking or moving much, eyes closed, and she was leaning on her right side. I did what I normally do with my sick chickens and put her in my bathroom. Although she wasn't walking, she did eat the yogurt I gave her and drank some water. Her poop was normal and I cannot feel anything in her crop at all. I also gave her some vegetable oil in case it was a crop issue. I put the oil in her vent as well just in case. I even "felt" around in her vent but felt no blockage. Feathers, skin, legs look normal although she has been ruffled since this happened. The next day she was standing up again but just a little weak. I thought she was getting better.

    I continued giving her water with some apple cider vinegar and yogurt. I would give her the water through the syringe because I wasn't entirely sure if she was actually drinking. She was not eating much of her chicken food but she was more than happy to have yogurt, cottage cheese, bits of lettuce, and any other treats I brought so I wasn't too worried. 3 days later she was pecking and scratching around my bathroom so I figured it was safe to put her back in the coop with my other two hens.

    Putting her back with the other chickens was a disaster. They immediately began attacking her and she fell over and went limp again. In the 20 seconds it took me to get them off of her, they had pecked her comb so bad that she was bleeding. I took her back into my bathroom, cleaned her up, and that's where she has been for the last two weeks. I realize now she was a lot weaker than I had thought when I tried to put her back in the coop. She started standing shortly after I got her back to the bathroom but when the attack happened it was like she lost all her strength and just fell over. I almost thought they had killed her.

    She has continued to eat, drink, walk around and poop but she still seemed a bit weak. She is very alert but it was almost like she was depressed and lost her will to live. She didn't walk around much and I noticed her keeping her eyes closed a lot. I also have noticed whenever she does eat, there is a strange gurgling or clicking noise coming from somewhere inside her. Her crop feels fine though--there just isn't much in it because she isn't eating as much as she should be.

    I thought maybe she was just depressed and lonely. One day this week it was about 60 degrees so I gated off one half of the coop where the other chickens couldn't get to and put her in there. She was outside for about 6 hours and walked around very little--maybe 10 steps at the most. I saw no pecking or scratching. She just kept her feathers ruffled and watched the other chickens on the other side of the coop. However, she did make some cooing and clucking noises so she seemed a little happy but, again, it is almost like the life has been sucked out of her.

    Last night, I wasn't happy with the amount of chicken scratch she seemed to be eating (almost none had disappeared from the bowl) and she seemed to be losing weight quickly as I can see her beast bone. I also noticed she was not pooping much. So I watered down the feed and made it mush-I added a very small amount of dry cat food to the mix as well- and she did eat about 4 bites of it. She might have had more after I left but it couldn't have been much. I also gave her a little more yogurt, a syringe of water, and a syringe of oil. She went to bed looking about the same as she has for the last week--a little weak and depressed but completely alert and seemingly coordinated.

    I woke up this morning to find her back on her right side and not moving at all. This time she has her right leg behind her instead of under her. She is also holding that right wing a little funny. However, she is completely alert but she keeps her eyes closed a lot of times. She has feeling in that right leg because when I picked her up she squeezed my finger with her right claw. I tickled her foot a bit too and she moved it. I moved her leg to make sure she hadn't hurt herself in the bathroom and it moved just fine with no argument from her. So she isn't paralyzed as much as she just doesn't seem to have strength on her right side.

    The other noticeable difference is her comb has gotten extremely dark red. Not just where the other chickens attacked her but all over. At the tips of the combs it has turned a blackish/purple color with the very end of the tip on one part being a bit white or yellow. Her eyes look normal. I have not seen her poop all day although her vent was clear (I assume she hasn't pooped because she hasn't been eating much). I have propped her up in my bathroom using towels so she is laying upright and not on her side. She has tried to et up- especially when I force her to drink water from the syringe- but she cant seem to get that right leg underneath her.

    I started antibiotics today (Duramycin) which I know I should have done two weeks ago. However, she got better so quickly that I just never thought she was really sick as much as maybe the other chickens had done this to her. She does not seem to want to eat anything at all so I have been giving her an electrolyte recipe that I found online. I also forced a bit of yogurt down her with a syringe. I have not heard any gurgling noises coming from her when I give her the liquid like I did before.

    So any ideas on what this could be and how to maybe fix her? I know most people might be thinking Marek's but remember she is 4 years old and my other two chickens are acting perfectly fine. The store that I bought her from when she was a baby also said she had the Marek's vaccine.

    Update - She pooped as I was writing this. First time today. It was mostly very smelly liquid which I expected considering she hasn't had much solid food. I felt her crop when I picked her up to clean her off and it did feel full but full of liquid (again, that's all she has had). When I massaged her crop, I heard a bubbly gurgling noise. Sort of like a chicken burp except she didn't open her mouth? Oh and no sour smells coming from her mouth so I do not believe it is a sour crop.

    I will include pictures. Thanks for reading this and any advice or thoughts I would really appreciate. I just want to make my chicky baby better!

    [​IMG]
    This is a close up of her comb. The black spots on the right of her comb are where the other chickens attacked her and these are scabs that have formed. What I am concerned about is how the tips of her comb have turned a black/purplish color with the tip of one almost being yellow.

    [​IMG]
    This is how she is looking now. You can see her right leg poking out in the back. The left leg seems fine.

    [​IMG]
    Without the towels to hold her up, she is leaning on the right side. If I left her that way for long she would almost completely be laying on her side.

    [​IMG]
    Her sad little face. I couldn't even get her to open her eyes for the shot. The crusty looking stuff by her eye is, again, scabbing and peeling after the other chickens attacked her. The feathers around her neck and face are all there but they do not look as "pretty" as they normally do. I attributed this to the stress, depression, and malnutrition. No skin problems that I can see.

    [​IMG]
    A close up of her right leg. She is able to move it a little and it is not swollen or scaly

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I know this is gross but this is the poo that came out of her. It sorts of hard to see since she had a magazine underneath her. Its basically all liquid and very very smelly. She had normal looking poop up until today. I believe it only looks like this because water, electrolytes, and yogurt are about all I can force her to eat

    [​IMG]

    Back side of her right before I cleaned her off


    Thanks for any advice you can give me.
     
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    There could possibly be several things you might be dealing with, but I'm sorry to say that she might be on her way out.
    She is 4 years old and by your initial description of her symptoms, I was thinking possibly mites or worms. Parasites are usually the main cause of a birds weakness, then demise in time. As sick as she is, you would probably see worms in her feces. Not so in your case. The gurgling and clicking that you observed; gurgling is normally a symptom of a respiratory disease. The clicking concerned me most. It usually indicates a possible bad heart valve as evidenced by the lack of blood flow to her comb causing it to darken. You can put your ear to one side of her body and listen for 'clicking' to verify if it's a heart valve problem. Another concern is her right leg stretched out behind her. I think this is might indicate a marek's issue, I have no experience in that area...so take that with a grain of salt. The feces isnt normal looking, runny yellowish in color could indicate a possible ecoli infection, maybe cocci. I'm leaning more towards ecoli bacterial infection.
    It would be best to continue supportive care, keep her seperated from your other birds. Consider a necropsy to determine what you're dealing with.
     
  3. mercede81

    mercede81 New Egg

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    I have a silver laced wyandotte, she is about 9 months old and is having close to the same problems. She is not moving around at all, she will not eat or drink unless you put the food/water right up under her. One leg is straight and reached out behind her. She does not move to use the bathroom, but her poop is just the same as before, we have to clean it off her daily.

    I took her to the vet today and he had no idea what was wrong with her, he said to put her down (which I did not do). her breathing is getting worse and the vet said she may have some type of respiratory issues, but that has nothing to do with the leg issues he said.

    None of my other ladies are having problems and are doing fine. I don't know what to do. She has been staying inside with us separate from the rest of the flock, but is definitely not getting better.
    Have you figured out anything with your lady?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  5. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just lost a 3 1/2 year old Red Sexlink hen with very similar symptoms, except the leg stretch part, but certainly the rest of the symptoms.
    I believe in my case it was simply that sexlink hens don't live very long and are susceptible to cancers and other ailments that lead to their early demise.
    The rest of my flock seems healthy, but did pick on her terribly, which is typical with chickens when they detect disease or weakness in the flock.
    Keep her as comfy as you can and hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It is always sad to lose one of these little creatures.
     
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Since the vet stated that she may have some type of respiratory issue and recommended that you should put her down: I agree with the vet.
    Respiratory diseases are easily spread to other chickens including via the clothing you wear. Chickens can be treated with antibiotics but they are never cured of the disease, survivors of respiratory diseases are carriers for life and will infect other chickens. Alot of respiratory diseases are caused by virusus, antibiotics wont treat virusus.
     
  7. MeMiniMoo

    MeMiniMoo Just Hatched

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    Jan 13, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    There has been some improvement over the last few hours but nothing to celebrate over. She has found the strength to put her right leg back underneath her although she is still not able to stand. However, when I picked her up she was able to balance on my arm by herself, although a bit wobbly on the right side. She is also starting to fight me whenever I give her a syringe with water or food. I take this as a win because only 12 hours ago she was so weak that she couldn't fight me at all. She is still keeping her eyes closed 90% of the time though. Even when balancing on my arm, she eventually just closed them and seemed to fall back asleep.

    I started mixing some of my cat's wet food in with the yogurt I'm giving her. It must either be this or the antibiotics that are getting her strength back up. I would love to give her eggs or some sort of protein that is not cat food but it has to be something that can go in a syringe. Wet cat food is the best I can come up with at the moment.

    Her comb stays the same color which is what scares me the most. I know this typically points to a heart or respiratory problem. I am leaning more towards heart problem because she is breathing normally. I heard no clicking noises when I put her against my ear and I have not heard the gurgling noises that I heard before.

    I will continue to update and I appreciate all the advice you have given me so far. I still do not think it is Marek's as it is only the right leg giving her problems and the strength seems to be slowly returning. Her poop was normal up until I put her on a water/antibiotic/yogurt diet. That kind of diet would give me watery, smelly poops as well :)

    I am going to give her another 24 hours. If she does not have significant change by then, I am going to call my vet and talk to her about euthanasia. I don't want her to be in pain anymore. My vet does not see chickens but she said she would put her down if I feel that it is what needs to be done. I don't have the heart to do it myself.

    Thanks again for all your help and please let me know if you have anymore ideas!
     
  8. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Take a fecal sample to your vet and have them take a look at it under a microscope. They'll let you know if there's an overload of cocci oocysts, worm oocycts and perhaps even an abnormal amount of ecoli. Shouldnt cost much at all.
     
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  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    This is the best option IMO. I'd also tube feed her fluids, then fluids and food, but it might be too late. Honestly, I would consider this an emergency.

    -Kathy
     
  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I would be very suspicious of Marek's in his one.

    -Kathy
     

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