Old age or sickness?

Chicken Girl1

Queen of the Coop
5 Years
Mar 3, 2015
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Virginia
Hello everyone,
One of my hens is acting very ill. Yesterday when I let them out she stayed in the coop, just sitting in the nest box. I brought her inside and checked her. Her comb and wattles are normal, there is no swelling or bloating anywhere, no heavy breathing or wheezing, but I think she feels thin. She hasn't eaten today or yesterday not has she pooped, but she has drunk some water. She seems to be having a hard time just keeping herself balanced even while sitting, for whenever I move her slightly she seems to struggle to keep herself from falling over. Now I'm wondering if she is sick with something that I can treat or if at 7 years she is about done with life? I'll try and get pictures later today. Thanks!
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
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southern Michigan
Yes, she's older, and yes, she's ill.
We can all guess, but that's not so helpful. External parasites would be an easy one, so look at night with a flashlight at everyone's vent area, neck, and under wings, and treat the birds and coop if needed.
Is she still producing eggs? Any wounds? You can visit an avian veterinarian for better answers, or decide to try hand feeding, and say goodby if she can't feel better.
Mary
 

Chicken Girl1

Queen of the Coop
5 Years
Mar 3, 2015
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Virginia
Thank you for your response. No, she has been laying for awhile now. I'll definitely check the rest of the flock and keep you updated Nel.
 

Eggcessive

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Apr 3, 2011
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Does she act broody? I had two 7 year old hens in spring and summer who went broody a couple of times. She may well be sick though. Give her some Poultry NutriDrench or other electrolytes, offer food and water up to her beak, just to get her rehydrated. Give her a head to toe examine, looking at her crop to feel if it is empty or full, feel of her lower abdomen for any enlargement, look for bugs (lice or mites,) and see if she is weak in her legs. If a vet is possible who knows chickens, that is always your best bet.
 

Chicken Girl1

Queen of the Coop
5 Years
Mar 3, 2015
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Virginia
I've been really busy all week and haven't been able to update y'all. Nel is practically the same. She eats when we hand feed her, drinks water on her own, and I have been giving her electrolytes. She isn't lethargic, but just sits. She still has no sense of balance and can't stand. I'm not sure what to do with her? I don't think she is on danger of dying anytime soon, but I don't know how to fully heal her. Any suggestions?
 

Eggcessive

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Are you sure that she is still laying? She sounds like she may be suffering from a reproductive disorder. Have you noticed that her crop is emptying overnight? I would try to make her comfortable, and try to keep her eating. A poultry vitamin in her food or water might help her appetite and health. We never know what is going on with our sick ones. At her age it could be cancer, an infection, or something else. Many times, we don’t figure it out until we can do a necropsy. Sorry that she is the same, and not better.
 

Chicken Girl1

Queen of the Coop
5 Years
Mar 3, 2015
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557
Virginia
Sorry for responding so late. I do not think it's a reproductive issue as I have had two hens with it before, but I could be wrong. Her crop doesn't seem abnormal. She does eat and drink some and poops. I gave her another bath today and I think I might have found lice eggs on one feather shaft. I'm treating her for it directly, but do lice normally cause such severe symptoms? Thank you again for your help!
 

Eggcessive

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