Need help with very sick chicken


9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
I have a 4 month old Buff Orpington that is very sick.
Day 1: She had one eye closed and not seeming to move around much. I brought her inside and gave her some oral Baytril. She had a good appetite and was drinking water. Scratching at closed eye quite a bit.

Day 2: Eye still closed, still scratching at it. some raspy breathing and a little wobbly. Some breathing from mouth. Still eating & drinking on her own. I gave her Baytril and 1/4 of a regular aspirin (morning & night), as I read that could help with pain.

Day 3: very off balance, eye still closed, starting to close other eye more, very runny green & white poop with some bits of blood & tissue in it (intestinal lining?). Not wanting to eat or drink much. Tries to eat sometimes, but seems to hurt when she stretches her neck out and squawks & pulls it back. Breathing more from mouth. Switched to .17cc Enrofloxacin (Baytril) intramuscular. This was all I had. Not sure if it mattered? No more aspirin.

Day 4: Can't stand at all, lurches forward sometimes and squawks like she's in pain. More runny poop with bits of blood & tissue. Eye still closed, good eye still seems alert. Won't eat or drink, giving her small bits of water with syringe. breathing from mouth most of the time.

Day 5: the same as day 4. squawks with pain if i mover her or she flops over. can't stand at all. closed eye is open a bit and she seems to be able to see out of it some, but it looks kind of glassy. Good eye still bright and alert.

I thought she had a respiratory infection or eye infection at first, but she has deteriorated very badly. She didn't have the blood & tissue in her poop until after I gave her the aspirin, so I worry that I could have given her too much? She weights 3.3 pounds.

I am at a loss for what to do for her now. Also worth mentioning, We got 14 chicks at the same time as her. over the last few months we have lost 4 of them, mostly with similar symptoms.

any help is appreciated. Thanks.
From reading other posts on here, it might be coccidosis(sp?) You might want to type it in the search box and see if it's familiar with what your buff has. I've never had to deal with it. I wish you the best.
wildwood, i'm having same problem. tried antibiotic in water, vitamins and electrolites, injected pennecilin and nothing helps so far. i'm trying something different today, if it works i will contact you. best wishes.
She died last night. I'm going to send her in for a necropsy to see if I can figure out what's happening. I will post what I find. Thanks.
Just got the initial report back from the lab. The findings were malignant neoplasm affecting multiple organs including heart, ovary, lungs & skeletal muscle.

The heart was completely obliterated with multifocal to coalescing raised white tan masses which invading the
myocardium as well. There was mild increased pericardial fluid. The ovary was enlarged and obliterated with white tan
masses expanding within the parenchyma. Similar masses were present multifocally in the skeletal muscle as well. The spleen was markedly enlarged.
The lungs were congested and there was a focal area of firm consolidated white tan
parenchyma. The peripheral nerves were not enlarged grossly.

In other words, she was full of tumors. The tests have not come back yet, but I am suspecting Marek's disease.
Unfortunately we live in close proximity to a commercial chicken farm, which makes us more prone to picking up diseases.

We now have one more chicken showing a loss of balance, and several more have bits of tissue & blood in their poop.

We have had chickens for a long time and have never had any problems, but moved to a new area recently and unfortunately I fear the worst. They are all very dear to us, everyone has names and I often have a chicken under my arm, as I'm sure anyone who raises them as pets knows the pleasure in just carrying one around with you or letting them sit in your lap.

I will post the lab results when I get a definite answer. Thanks for all your help. I am new to this forum and joined out of desperation. It's nice to have other chicken people to bounce ideas off of.

fatboys farm, if you are having these problems I would highly recommend sending your chicken in for a necropsy if she dies. Contact your county extension office, or do a search online for veterinary necropsy in your area. they should tell you where to have it done. I am in the San Diego area, so mine was done through a UC Davis extension. I had to overnight ship her on ice packs which cost about $30, but in CA at least, the necropsy was free for a backyard poultry flock. It's their way of trying to keep disease from spreading. I wish I had done it after the first couple of chickens had died so I could have gotten some answers, but I didn't realize they would do it for free. I took one to the vet and spent $600, but that didn't tell me anything. The vet also never recommended doing a necropsy.
The lab results confirmed my fear of Marek's Disease. We have ordered 25 new chicks and had them all vaccinated for it. Hopefully some of the rest of our chickens will survive.
At least we have some answers now and are prepared to put anyone down that shows the symptoms before they have to suffer too much.
This has really been heartbreaking. I never imagined that our little flock would get something horrible like this.
Thanks for getting back to us. So sorry for your losses. We wish you the best with your new chickies that you're getting and the ones you already have.

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