Neglected chicken in cold temperatures - How to best treat?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jadore Poules, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. Jadore Poules

    Jadore Poules Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    Hello,

    I hope someone out there has experience in this area.

    This is about a young hen rescued from neglect by some very irresponsible individuals. Three days ago I removed to safety a chicken from weeks of neglect, starvation, and lack of shelter in snow, rain, and sub-freezing weather. She's probably about 8 months old, a Brahma, but when I carried her out she weighed about half a pound.

    After getting myself under emotional control, I took her away and brought her to a shed, put her in a small dog crate with pine flake bedding, gave her water and some food. Once I got her on her feet again (she was too weak to stand) she began pecking at the food and drinking the water. After an hour I exchanged the plain water with water containing a tsp of sea salt and a Tbsp of honey per quart and gave her that. I also gave her more food. In 1.5 hours I removed that water and gave her water with Probiotic. She continued to eat and drink. And then she clucked!

    Before going to bed I checked and found profoundly smelly black poops and a general sense of stink. I cleaned the droppings out and put fresh bedding down. As she had been outside in 30 degree temps in 20-30 MPH winds and snow, I thought too much heat might overwhelm her system. Instead, I put heavy blankets around the sides and back of the crate to allow her body heat to accumulate. She stayed in her crate in the shed overnight.

    The next morning I found she'd eaten over a cup of food and drunk as much or more water. Her eyes were bright and she was standing and eating. And clucking. I refreshed water and food, offered grit, and cleaned out bedding, adding fresh pine shavings. I also turned on a brooder lamp to take the edge off the frost-breath temperatures in the shed. She had to energy try and take a peek out of the crate door!

    Today she made a large number of nice big green and white solid poops! She was still eating. She also seemed to begin preening herself underneath.

    Tonight the smelly black poops were back, along with healthy ones. She continues to eat and drink and stand on her own, looking out at me.

    My concern, among many at this point, is her feet/legs. She favors her right leg/foot sometimes, holding it up into her feathers. I have not cleaned her in any way, and see small red stripes in places and black spots/streaks on her legs and feet. The latter could be mud, feces from the old pen she was in, or frostbite to her foot. The question is, do I continue to let her get her strength back before I examine her?

    As well, I welcome any advice as to how to treat this game ole girl. She deserves a chance.

    Thank you.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It sounds as if she is on the path to recovery. The less stress, the better at this point in the game. All chickens pass two types of excrement the usual green and white solid poop and the dark brown/black caecal poop. As long as it is not bright green and slimy or blood tinged I think that she may be OK. At some time in the future you will want to worm her. Glad that you are caring for her and good luck to you and her.
     
  3. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    I am no expert in this area but I would say you have a nice start on what you are doing. As you are probably aware, chicken poop varies widely in what is considered normal. This varies daily with each individual chicken based on intake so the diference in poo probably are okay. I agree that you shouldn't get her too warm too fast. Sounds like what you have done for her is about right. I think I might give her one more day of adjusting just to see how she does health wise before I tried to wash and check her feet and leggs. I would guess she probably has some damage due to the cold but I'm not sure, other than putting an antibiotic cream/ointment on her legs what you would do for her.

    I hope someone with more experience chimes in. I hope you post updates. I wish you and her luck.
    [​IMG]

    I think this is the link to the "poo" chart
    http://pluckandfeather.com/chicken-poo-chart-graphic.html

    they do mean graphic but very educational
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  4. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

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    I don't have any experience in rescued hens, but if it was me I would make sure she was comfortable, eating, drinking (like she is) and then after 2 or 3 days I would clean her up. I wouldn't want her to be dirty for anymore time. She probably has problems because she was in a cage but until she is cleaned up it will probably be hard to tell.
     
  5. Jadore Poules

    Jadore Poules Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    Thank you all for your advice and encouragement. I will wait another day or so, observe her energy level and examine/clean if she seems she's able to expend a few calories.

    FYI...Tonight I put an indoor oil heater in the shed and set it at 55 degrees. It's below 30 outside, and windy.

    As a side note, it is amazing how clean her feathers are, considering she was outside in mud, etc.. I will check for mites and lice eventually, but first priority is feet.

    Would you recommend she be wormed once she puts on some weight, say 3-4 pounds? It's awful how small she is; her keel bone had only 1 inch of muscle on either side of it when I got her.
     
  6. Jadore Poules

    Jadore Poules Out Of The Brooder

    63
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    Dec 22, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    Day 3. Honey continues to eat and drink Probiotic water. I've started offering about 15% suet/meal worm/peanut butter treat after she eats her food as a way to get some healthy fat into her. She loves it.Today I also gave her about 1/4 cup chicken-bite sized collard greens. She tackled those with vigor right after polishing off the suet treat, clucking contently.

    Before providing her these foods I cleaned her feet with colloidal silver water (15ppm), spraying it then wiping off the old feces, mud, and whatever else she brought from her filth-filled pen when rescued. Her feet proved to not have any frostbite (that I could see), but there was a large gash/cut on her right toe. After cleaning her foot well I applied Vetricylin. This was recommended on another posting as very effective, and this is what Honey needs right now.

    She was a calm as could be during all this, even pecking the lap of the person helping now and then, but not trying to escape. So I took the opportunity to dust her with Sevin. I rubbed in a bit under her vent, under each wing, a small spot behind the head, and along the backbone. We put her down to shake it but she merely looked around at her surroundings and took a turn around the floor. I cleaned out all poops from her dog crate and refreshed her water and food. She is putting out about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of poop a day since yesterday! It appears to be largely grainy, like the feed, but it is green and not streaked with anything.

    I will post what happens to the gash/cut on her foot in a day or two. Meanwhile, the shed is at about 50 degrees so to stress her less and allow her body to use the energy to heal and gain weight. I hope that it works that way.
     
  7. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

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    That's great news. Glad she is continuing to get better.
     
  8. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    So glad to hear she is doing well. Post a pic when you can and let us know how she progresses.
     
  9. Jadore Poules

    Jadore Poules Out Of The Brooder

    63
    1
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    Dec 22, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    Hello,

    This is an update on Honey, the brave chicken. Our girl is gaining weight every day, eating and drinking, enjoying kale and collards and a teaspoon of millet a day, and wolfing down suet treat in small quantities on occasion. She sits and preens nicely on my lap for 30 minutes at a stretch. She loves to be held and will stretch out on her side on my lap, too. Honey is a gentle eater out of my hand, never gouging or ripping skin as she takes the seed/treat.

    I applied a second treatment of Sevin dusting powder 7 days after the first application. At that time I also washed her feet, applied Vetericyn, and dipped both legs and feet into warm canola oil to kill what appeared to be scaly leg mite. Honey really seemed to enjoy the oil dip and let her feet hang loose as I guided them into the oil jar. I found evidence of blackened toenails on her right foot - maybe frostbite after having been abandoned in the cold by her previous "carers?" This foot she still occasionally favors by tucking it up and not resting too much upon it. No evidence of bumblefoot, however. I continue to apply Vetericyn every few days to her right foot where a cut of sorts still exists. Honey has begun preening the feathering on her leg shanks and there is red skin where she seems to have removed scabs/refuse. I will continue to monitor this skin.

    Honey is still isolated from the main flock, but on warm days she enjoys being outside in a portable exercise pen in the sun with grass and leaves. Honey does not seem to know how to dust bathe, probably because she was always in mud in her former home?

    Anyhow, here is a photo of Honey taken about 10 days ago. She has turned from brilliant white to white and light peach. She keeps herself immaculate. I will post again when I release her to the main flock, which should be in a couple more weeks or so.


    Thanks for reading.
     
  10. Jadore Poules

    Jadore Poules Out Of The Brooder

    63
    1
    41
    Dec 22, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    Hello,

    This is an update on Honey, the brave chicken. Our girl is gaining weight every day, eating and drinking, enjoying kale and collards and a teaspoon of millet a day, and wolfing down suet treat in small quantities on occasion. She sits and preens nicely on my lap for 30 minutes at a stretch. She loves to be held and will stretch out on her side on my lap, too. Honey is a gentle eater out of my hand, never gouging or ripping skin as she takes the seed/treat.

    I applied a second treatment of Sevin dusting powder 7 days after the first application. At that time I also washed her feet, applied Vetericyn, and dipped both legs and feet into warm canola oil to kill what appeared to be scaly leg mite. Honey really seemed to enjoy the oil dip and let her feet hang loose as I guided them into the oil jar. I found evidence of blackened toenails on her right foot - maybe frostbite after having been abandoned in the cold by her previous "carers?" This foot she still occasionally favors by tucking it up and not resting too much upon it. No evidence of bumblefoot, however. I continue to apply Vetericyn every few days to her right foot where a cut of sorts - or severe mite scale lift - still exists. Honey has begun preening the feathering on her leg shanks and there is red skin where she seems to have removed scabs/refuse. I will continue to monitor this skin.

    Honey is still isolated from the main flock, but on warm days she enjoys being outside in a portable exercise pen in the sun with grass and leaves. Honey does not seem to know how to dust bathe, probably because she was always in mud in her former home?

    Anyhow, here is a photo of Honey taken about 10 days ago. She has turned from brilliant white to white and light peach. She keeps herself immaculately clean. I will post again when I release her to the main flock, which should be in a couple more weeks or so.


    [​IMG]



    Thanks for reading.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013

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