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Oh, crap, she's sick -- gasping hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by girlndocs, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. girlndocs

    girlndocs New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2007
    I have a 2/yo hen (that has been with me for 2 years so not newly brought in) gasping for air, rasping slightly, and she won't get up on her feet.

    Her comb and face are very bright red and warmer than usual. There don't seem to be any sores or lesions anywhere and her breath doesn't smell any different than usual. She was up and eating yesterday. Her crop is large and full-feeling, but soft.

    I don't know if I have any access to meds right now as my vet doesn't handle chickens, and the feed stores in my area close on Sundays. I might be able to find something meant for exotic birds, though, if I have the name and the dosage information I'll need.

    Thank you.

    Kristin
     
  2. rhondaroberts

    rhondaroberts Out Of The Brooder

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    My hen was just attacked by a coon and our vet (who is not a bird vet) told us we could use LA-200 which is used for livestock. He said 1/2 cc given intramuscularly in the breast once a day for 3 days. Our hen is standard sized, so if yours is smaller you may not want to use that much. Anyone with cattle or other livestock probably has some LA around, it's pretty common. Good luck with your girl.
     
  3. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know, but could your hen be suffering from heat stress? I've read that they're face/comb kind of tell you about their temp. Maybe she could use some cool water with electrolytes.
     
  4. girlndocs

    girlndocs New Egg

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    Thanks,

    I don't think it's heat stress, it hasn't been exceptionally warm the past few days and the other hens are fine.

    I'm leaning towards an issue with her crop at this point, especially since my son tells me he saw her puking up a little bit of "brown stuff" yesterday. I noticed that she's not actually gasping for air, she's exhaling -- could she be trying to burp?

    I hope it's just an impaction that will resolve -- been giving her lots of olive oil and a little kefir to hopefully kickstart digestion in there. The other possibility is an actual physical crop injury, I notice some small abrasions on the skin over her crop and also a spot that looks like a bruise.

    She is panting/burping/exhaling less, and not as hard, and although she still won't get up and walk she's upright and alert. She pooped about half an hour ago, all over me, mostly water.

    Kristin
     
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Sounds like maybe a spider bite? If she was bitten in the neck area, and it is swelling inwards...that would cause the gasping....or a snake bite? Seen any "critters" around that might be the culprit? I would put one aspirin in a gallon of water...keep her seperate from the others...maybe bring her inside in a box. Keep her settled and quiet. The Aspirin will help with any pain she might have. Good luck....and keep us posted!
     
  6. girlndocs

    girlndocs New Egg

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    I suppose it *could* conceivably be a spider bite, but I doubt it. No poisonous snakes here. We do have possums and raccoons in the neighborhood as well as curious cats. I expect that if it had been a raccoon she wouldn't have been here this morning, the possums have never bothered adult chickens, but maybe she got in a scuffle with a cat.

    Now that I think about it, though, we never heard the kind of brouhaha an animal attack of any kind would surely have triggered.

    She is in the kitchen in a box, sitting peacefully, watching the world go by with interest and occasionally doing her weird burping/gasping thing. I think she's been, um, farting -- do chickens fart? -- as once in a while there's a sourish smell about her. (My husband says he can't smell it, though.)

    Kristin
     
  7. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    I suggest you call your agricultural extension service agent tomorrow morning. In the mean time, google "exotic newcastle disease". Do you free range your poultry? Wild birds carry lots of diseases. Keep her isolated.

    Check for Aphis updates for your area.

    Rufus
     
  8. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    I hope it's just an impaction that will resolve -- been giving her lots of olive oil and a little kefir to hopefully kickstart digestion in there. The other possibility is an actual physical crop injury, I notice some small abrasions on the skin over her crop and also a spot that looks like a bruise.

    ...birds do not "digest" their food in the same way as mammals
    http://www.agednet.com/pt103v.shtml
    ..."The crop serves as a temporary storage bin. It allows the chicken to eat its daily ration in a short period of time and digest it later. The storage time depends on the type of feed. A full crop of grain may require 24 hours to empty, while a full crop of mash will take less time.

    From the crop, food moves to a glandular organ called a proventriculus. This organ is similar to the stomach of other animals, because it produces a gastric juice containing acid and enzymes. In birds, however, there is very little mixing of food in this stomach-like organ. Instead, the food moves on to another organ called the gizzard, or the ventriculus. This muscular organ with a hard lining is where food is ground and mixed with the gastric juice...."

    ...soooo...if the crop is not emptying then the reason for that is called "crop stasis" and this can lead to what is called "sour crop" where bacteria will ferment and make your bird ill... what is causing the crop stasis or immobility is often hard to pin down... many times though massaging the crop will help... as long as this stasis remains then it is unwise to give her grains and such... try lightly massage the crop and add a bit of applecider vinegar to the water (just a few drops in her waterer) and offer freechoice yogurt and see if the crop contents dont move on... when it does ( [​IMG] ) then offer her mash for the next week and make sure she has access to grit (grit is not oyster shell)...​
     
  9. girlndocs

    girlndocs New Egg

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    Thank you Rufus, that makes sense; It's just that I read about giving them yogurt for sour crop and had no yogurt, but did have kefir.

    She didn't make it. About two hours ago as I was giving her more oil she began to vomit, and I was very encouraged, but apparently she aspirated the vomit because she suddenly died. I don't think she suffered.

    After I was sure she was dead I PM'd her and found a huge mass of balled-up grass in her crop. We had a lot of rain last week and the grass sprang up fresh and green; I snipped a few handfuls and gave it to the hens in their pen, and she must have eaten all of it or nearly so and then been unable to pass it. There was no way my oil and massage would have moved that thing so on the whole I'm grateful that she had a relatively quick end instead of starving or succumbing to infection.

    Thank you for your help, everyone.
     
  10. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry about your loss. I know you did everything you could to save her. You didn't say from where you are posting. END is now found in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

    It can wipe out your flock in no time.

    Rufus
     

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