Our sweet hen Flannery is dying. Would appreciate any advice.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bananaray, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. bananaray

    bananaray New Egg

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    We have three hens all around 3 and 1/2 years old. They are not laying right now, but I assumed it was because they were all dealing with the season change and finishing molting. Flannery the buff orpington has always been a bit nervous and smaller than the others. I very vaguely remember her abdomen looking bigger a few weeks ago and feeling a bit soft, but it didn't look alarming.. I think I hoped she was gaining a bit of weight. Each year she has a very hard molt, losing most of her feathers at the same time. The first time it didn't happen until December. I brought her inside and put her in a dog crate to stay warm. I was glad when she started a couple weeks ago since it has still been mostly warm. Things seemed normal with about 1/3 of her feathers back and the rest visibly coming in until a couple days ago when I noticed her comb looked pale and she didn't seem as hungry as usual. The night before had been a bit colder, getting down to upper 40s. I hadn't thought that would be cold enough to need to bring her inside. I brought her some yogurt and peanut butter (two of her favorites) and made sure she drank some water. The next morning she didn't leave the coop. I brought her inside to stay warm in the dog crate and started giving her spoons of Sav-A-Chick electrolyte water. She was very weak, not walking around. She wouldn't eat her normal feed, but she would still eat a bite of yogurt. I noticed she hadn't pooped all day, but then she wasn't eating much either. I started trying anything I could think of to help.. yogurt, olive oil, a bit of vinegar in electrolyte water, warm epsom bath. Her comb became red again and she seemed to perk up and enjoy the bath... eventually standing up on her own and pooping.. mostly clear fluid with some green bits. Late last night she stopped opening her eyes much and I started giving her small amounts of water by holding a syringe in her beak. She has been still and weak all day, so I'm worried it it too late for her. I have never needed to find a vet for the chickens in town, but I don't think I'd have much luck on a Sunday. I have been trying to research the cause, but it has all happened fast and so many diseases seem to have the same symptoms.

    The only illnesses I can think to rule out is anything egg related since she was molting. Also, it doesn't seem like Marek's since her eyes look normal and I get the idea that mostly happens to younger birds. I should mention she pulled a gold filled earring out of my ear and ate it when she was around two months old. Amazingly it never seemed to cause her any trouble, though I always wondered if it could have stayed in her gizzard.. could this cause heavy metal poisoning after all this time? Also, I must admit I didn't know I was supposed to be treating them regularly for worms... I had never noticed anything abnormal to suggest they had a problem, but I'm going to get some dewormer for the other girls now. Could it be Leukosis, worms, something else? Are there any other precautions we can take for our other two girls? Apologies for this post being so long, but I would really appreciate any insight. Thanks so much.
     
  2. bananaray

    bananaray New Egg

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    Nov 2, 2014
    We'll miss you Flannery.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Fly Right

    Fly Right Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope someone on here can give you some insight on Flannery and why she passed. I'm wondering if it may have something to do her abdomen being larger than usual.
     
  4. bananaray

    bananaray New Egg

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    Thank you. Yes, I wish I could go back and look more closely at that time. I had been trying not to pick her up the past couple weeks since her new feathers were coming in. By the time I brought her inside yesterday she seemed very bony and not swollen. Just wish I knew if there is anything I could have done.
     
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Due to her color, it might have been heart failure.

    I'm sorry. [​IMG]
     
  6. bananaray

    bananaray New Egg

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    Do you mean her comb being pale.. is that a symptom? Thank you for your help.
     
  7. bananaray

    bananaray New Egg

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    I did notice her pulse seemed faster this morning than yesterday. I just looked up average chicken resting heart rate and found 250–300. I am almost positive her heart was not beating that fast yesterday... it felt closer to a human heart rate. I had no idea it was supposed to be so much faster. This does seem to support your diagnosis.
     
  8. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    LOL No diagnosis. Just a guess. Her comb looks kindof purply in the picture. Have you checked for an egg? Glove, oil and finger? Does she feel swollen underneath right behind her legs (abdomen)?

    It could be worms. I would certainly worm. Is her crop full and hard? Is it empty?

    Keep giving her water.

    I'll be your earring is in a pile of poop somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss, and I'm sure that she meant a great deal to you. A necropsy can be done on a refrigerated body by the state vet if you can save her remains. It's hard to know exactly what she died of, but by your description of a puffy belly recently, she possibly could have been suffering from egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying. Sometimes they can suffer from ascites or fluid in the belly from associated liver failure or heart problems. Of course this is just a guess at this point. Worms can cause damage to the intestines, especially in young birds, which can cause lifelong problems.
     
  10. bananaray

    bananaray New Egg

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    She passed away this afternoon. That photo was just an older picture that I liked, I think the color is just off in the photo. Before I brought her in yesterday her comb looked very pale and slightly purple. I took this picture of her in a bath last night when the color started to come back. The feathers around her head and neck had already come back. I didn't do the egg check because I didn't think she would be making them while she was molting. With all her prickly new feathers it was really hard to tell what felt normal. I know what a full crop normally feels like, and I don't think I could feel anything like it. Her breastbone seemed to protrude more than normal, but then maybe that was the lack of feathers. Behind her legs just felt a little soft, nothing too noticeably weird. After I tried to get a better look and massage things super lightly she had some sort of spasm and died in my arms... which was terrifying, I mean I know I didn't cause the overall problem, but I wondered if I should have left her alone instead of trying to help.


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