Pecking at the air, can't eat or drink without help, what's goin on?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lilhippiemomma, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. lilhippiemomma

    lilhippiemomma In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2011
    I have a very weird problem. I have a Buff Orpington pullet named Golda. She's just gotten over a pretty rough crop impaction. She became very thin and weak and I ended up taking her to the vet where they did the whole bit of putting a tube down her throat and flushing out the crop with saline. She seemed to perk up a bit almost instantly. She was still unenergetic, but she ate some fruit and drank a lot of water. (She hadn't been eating or drinking at all.) Everything seemed ok for a couple of days, but then she just became very listless, wouldn't stand up or move around, and didn't seem to be eating or drinking anymore. So we took her out of the coop and put her in the workshop down at the barn where she could be warmer and move around more. (We had her in a cage in the coop so that the other chickens wouldn't bother her while she was recoving.)

    At first there wasn't really any discernable change, and we were going to start trying to force some ensure into her beak with a syringe, when I just jokingly offered her the mug and asked her to drink. And she did... She stuck her head right down in that mug and drank. We offered her some gator-aid, she drank that too. We've figured out that she will eat and drink with absolutely no problem as long as you hold whatever it is you're trying to give her close to her face, at about the level that her head naturally rests. I.e., if she has her head down, she doesn't seem to see the food or water, but if she has her head up in a "looking around" position she sees it, and she'll eat it. Only she doesn't have very good aim. She'll peck all around the food, and mostly misses it completely. You have to move the food around and try to anticipate where she's going to peck. If you hold up a bowl of water or something, she'll dip her head down to drink and sometimes miss the bowl completely. And when you remove your hand to get her some more food, she pecks at the air like she's trying to find where you went. She has a very good appetite, ravenous even. There just seems to be wrong with her aim, or her balance, or her eyes that's not letting her get the food to her beak on her own. I don't think she's blind, at least not completely. If you move her fingers by her eye, she flinches.

    I have no idea what the heck has happened to her. Though to tell the truth, she is a really weird looking chicken. She's never had any health problems before this mess, but her eyes have always been a bit bugged-out, the crown of her head is slightly pointed, and her comb is especially uneven. It might be some kind of congenital defect that's just now showing itself? Or having the tube down her throat damaged her somehow? Maybe she has an ear infection, or something? I'm at a loss.

    I need help! Anybody have any ideas? Please? [​IMG]

  2. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    can you post a picture of her? Especially close ups of her face? She may need to go back to the vet...and you may also be able to try a nipple waterer system that may help her drink better.

    Sorry, I have no other advice [​IMG]
  3. Northwood Silkies

    Northwood Silkies Songster

    May 4, 2010
    Northwest Michigan
    Maybe she went blind. Why, I have no idea.. Poor girl ! I wish you luck with her..
  4. lilhippiemomma

    lilhippiemomma In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2011
    Ok, now she's refusing to eat or drink at all...
  5. AnimalsComeFirst

    AnimalsComeFirst Songster

    Jun 6, 2011
    Hugging a Chicken
    Not sure if this means anything to you...
    But I have a rescued BO chicken named Penny who has one blue eye and one green eye. She pecks the air often, its like a hobby to her. She is semi-blind. Chickens often loose their eyesight if their eye(s) turn blue. Penny is eating and drinking though, not sure why your girl's not eating. Goodluck! [​IMG]

  6. lilhippiemomma

    lilhippiemomma In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2011
    Hmm. Her eyes are reddish brown, not blue. Although I've noticed that her pupils seems to be really large lately, but that could just be the low light since its winter and all... I'm going to post pics of her later today.

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