Mysterious sick hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SammyLee, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. SammyLee

    SammyLee Just Hatched

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    Jun 19, 2016
    Keeseville, NY
    Hello fellow flocksters,

    Yesterday I went out to tend my grandmother's small flock and found a hen hiding in the corner. Upon inspection, her comb and wattles are pale, dry and somewhat floppy and her face has clearly been pecked free of feathers but no damage to her eyes or skin. She keeps her head tucked back against herself (like when in a nesting box, not tucked under wing for sleep) and she will not eat or drink at all. She keeps her eyes closed for the most part and does not resist anything I do to her, which is definitely not how my gram's hens usually react. I asked how she seemed that morning and my gram's said she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. I did a full body check and she seems slightly more boney, but otherwise seems perfectly fine. I made sure to check her throat in case she was choking, but I can't seem to find anything. Her crop is also empty. I believe she will die sometime today or tomorrow, perhaps of starvation. I suspect it could be her liver shutting down. None of my gram's hens have been laying since last month, but we suspect it to be because of winter.

    Breed: Red sex-link
    Age: aprox. 2 1/2 years

    Any suggestions as to what may be going on would be highly appreciated even if she dies. I currently have her isolated in a warm area away from any other animals.
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Check them for mites and lice.......
    Also how old are they and what are they being fed daily including treats and scraps......




    Cheers!
     
  3. SammyLee

    SammyLee Just Hatched

    40
    3
    16
    Jun 19, 2016
    Keeseville, NY
    Her hens have suffered on and off from leg mites since my gram bought them 2 years ago, but the roo I gave her and another hen that was added last year have not gotten them. The red sex-links are 2 1/2 years old. They eat organic all-flock pellets, organic scratch feed and the occasional meal worm treat. They free range in the warm months, but are confined in the coop and run for the winter (and because of a recently active chicken-hawk).
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    With chickens, there's a long list of things to make them act sick. All you can do is start from the least serious and work your way up the list.

    I would begin by inspecting for parasites. Both worms and mites can cause sickness and death if the parasite load overwhelms the chicken's defenses. A local vet may be able to help by doing a fecal float test on random samples of poop from your flock. You may learn that this chicken as well as others are infested with intestinal worms or even cocci. Inspect the coop at night with a flashlight to determine if it's infested with mites.

    Inspect this sick hen's crop. Can you feel any small, hard lump? If you do, she may be suffering from impacted crop. Olive or coconut oil delivered into the crop, then massaged, can loosen the obstruction and make the contents go down.

    What does this hen's poop look like? Is it watery and whitish? Or watery with green stuff in it? Or is it hard, small and very dry? Do you see any blood?

    How are the eyes and other orifices? Any discharge or bubbling around the eyes? She could have a respiratory infection.

    Does she fall over when you try to make her stand? She may have ingested a toxin. Mold, spoiled food, soggy compost, even insecticide.

    There are viruses that can cause tumors. She may have cancer and her organs are shutting down. Only a necropsy after she dies will tell you what made her sick.
     
  6. SammyLee

    SammyLee Just Hatched

    40
    3
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    Jun 19, 2016
    Keeseville, NY
    Her crop and eyes seem to be okay, but now she is refusing to stand at all. I just checked her underside and the ridge of her breast bone is bare, raw and flakey. Her poo is green and since she doesn't stand it is mashed. Here's a couple of pictures:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Fatty Liver Syndrome......?


    Google that!


    Cheers!
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The poop tells us that she is starving, and that she likely has an infection. Without a test for pathogens we can't know what is infecting her.

    If you have a vet, ask him to prescribe or sell you an oral antibiotic for this hen. The dosage would be about the same as for a small cat tell him.

    I use amoxycillin or penicillin at 250 mg per dose once a day for seven to ten days depending on the antibiotic.

    But I need to warn you, it may already be too late for this hen. She is probably dying.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. SammyLee

    SammyLee Just Hatched

    40
    3
    16
    Jun 19, 2016
    Keeseville, NY
    I had a suspicion that she might be starving. We use the litter method (bedding, dry leaves and whatnot that the hens stir up with their poo) in our coops, and my grandmother's coop has recently gotten a leak, leading to the composting litter getting wet in some areas which is a big no-no. Perhaps she got sick from that? I've used penicillin on a hen before, so I'll be trying it again.

    I hope she can pull through, but as you say, it may be too late. We'll have learned from this experience either way and will use this to further our chicken keeping methods. Thank you very much for your detailed and exemplary help!
     

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