Please help! Hen doesn't want to eat. A little listless

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by emilysteng, May 21, 2010.

  1. emilysteng

    emilysteng Songster

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    May 21, 2010
    Hawaii
    I have a hen - she is a "wild" chicken who befriended us - best guess about 1 year old. She runs free on a plant nursery - eats plants, bugs, geckos, etc, and we give her some bread, fruit, corn, as treats. Wednesday she was limping on one leg - gingerly stepping on it. Couldn't grab her to see what was wrong. But otherwise she seemed normal. Then Thursday she didn't show up the whole day - which was quite worrisome. Finally this morning I found her and she didn't really want to eat and seemed a little listless. She had a few kernels of corn at first, then didn't want anymore. She usually comes running when called but she just stood there. Didn't want to be caught but we caught her and put her into a rabbit hutch with food and water. She just basically stood or laid in there the rest of the day. Didn't eat. kept knocking over the water we gave her. Her tail is down, when she usually has it up. She isn't limping anymore, though.

    I don't know anything about chickens. Talked to one animal hospital who basically said to watch her to see if she eats tonight. If not then she should be seen by the vet. I don't see any external signs of a problem. She is pooping, but to be honest I don't really know what normal is. What I've seen of her poop ranges from big puffy brown to watery whitish- yellow. Depending on what she ate or if she had been sitting on some eggs all day. Like if she just had a blueberry, it's blue. If she's been sitting on eggs all night, really large puffy brown. now it's pretty runny - yellowish?

    I had to leave her for tonight and will check on her in the morning. She seemed ok in the cage but I'm still worried as she's never been locked up before. I'm worried about leaving her there overnight. The hutch has a plywood roof and chicken wire walls and a mesh wire floor. Wood frame. There are feral cats, neighbor's dog likes to come over sometimes, feral pigs, and mongoose and rats around. She and one of the stray cats don't seem to bother each other. They have walked within 2 feet of each other and nothing happens. She just squawks for a second. I think she'll be safe in there - but still worried. Normally she flies up into trees when there is danger.

    Any input?? Thank you so much.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010

  2. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Oh my, what a pretty girl she is. It is so kind of you to care for her. I wish I could be more helpful, all I can do is venture a guess. I wonder if it could be worms, or even a case of botulism if she got into something. Lice and mites are another thing that can really take a chicken down quickly. Hopefully someone else will chime in here and help out.
     
  3. emilysteng

    emilysteng Songster

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    May 21, 2010
    Hawaii
    An update. I took her to a vet who used to work at the zoo. She couldn't find anything obviously wrong with her, but is quite sure there is SOMETHING wrong with her. She said either get an x-ray to see if there was a ruptured egg or something else inside, or just give her some antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs to see if that helps. I decided to go with the drugs because x-rays are quite expensive and there was much option even if we did figure out something was in there. So now I brought her home with me. She's eaten a little corn and papaya and drank a little. Gave her one dose of the drugs. I see people talk about giving yogurt. Does it matter it's plain or whatever. I have some fruit yogurts on hand. Would that be ok?

    I don't know. She is alert but definitely not her usually active self. I wondered if this was partly due to stress of being confined but the vet seemed to think that chickens are very tough and because of that is a little pessimistic. She thinks that because they are so tough they usually wouldn't show signs of being sick unless there is really something wrong.

    She checked her legs and didn't seem to think there was an injury - since she was limping a few days ago. But she didn't mention anything about worms or lice/mites, etc that other people mention on here. I should have asked. Should I assume she checked on that? She did work at the zoo with chickens but doesn't see them regularly at the practice.

    I have a cat here at home and just now the thought came to me - there shouldn't be any type of problem with the chicken being here in the house with my cat right? I mean as in if she has some kind of infection it wouldn't transfer anything to my cat right? I mean, they are separated, but it's a tiny cottage.

    Hope she's alright in the cat carrier tonight. don't have anything better to keep her in. Now I put her in the bathroom and opened the carrier. She is standing but she is staying in the carrier.

    I'd appreciate any insight anyone has! [​IMG] Thanks so much.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  4. jim&julie

    jim&julie In the Brooder

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    [​IMG] I'd give her a course of antibiotic. 3 days of Tylan or any broad spectrum antibiotic along with a wormer in the water. and then some electrolites in the water when you are done. You will cover alot of bases that way. Worms can totally compramise a chickens amune system. I'd try to keep her diet as close to normal for her also.
     
  5. crittersitter

    crittersitter Songster

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    What a pretty girl! The best yogurt is the plain healthy stuff without added sugars. you can also cook her up a scrambled egg for an extra protein boost.
    Is it possible she ate something with pesticides/fertilizer at the nursery??
    she probably is stressed...that's a big day for a wild chicken.
     
  6. emilysteng

    emilysteng Songster

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    May 21, 2010
    Hawaii
    Thanks for the comments. The vet prescribed Baytril and Metacam.

    Today she is a little more active. Seems to want to peck around - but can't let her loose outside to do that. I think she wants her bugs and stuff. I brought in a few worms and she ate them. It's quite funny seeing her walk around my living room.

    She keeps doing this thing - opening her mouth. Does anyone know what that is about?

    Here is a picture of her today. [​IMG]

    Now she seems to want to lay down and sleep.
     
  7. crittersitter

    crittersitter Songster

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    How's your girl doing? [​IMG]
     

  8. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

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    Based on the video, I would look up gapeworms using the search function on this website. Could be a crop issue, but the shaking of the head and the gaping look like the symptoms of gapeworms.
     
  9. emilysteng

    emilysteng Songster

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    May 21, 2010
    Hawaii
    Hi, thanks for the comments. I will look into the gapeworm. She actually stopped doing that though. I find she only does it when she is in my living room.

    Today I took her back to the nursery and let her run around but didn't let her out of my sight. She was happy to get to scratch around and ate lots of weeds and whatever else she picks off the ground. Who knows what. We did catch one gecko. She seemed ok but after a little time scratching she would lay down and go to sleep so I feel she still isn't quite right since she generally never did that before. She just seems kind of tired. Plus she still doesn't want bread or bananas or rice - which she usually gobbles up.

    I stopped by a local hatchery on the way home from work and the nice people there gave me some feed and cracked corn to give her and also this probiotic to put in her water. I decided to bring her home again with me for the night because of the antibiotic administration schedule. She has pecked at the cracked corn and feed - and that makes her thirsty so she drinks the water I put the probiotic in. So I guess today she has had a little of that, a little corn, a little papaya, some weeds and whatever she picked off the ground. I wonder if it is just grit she picks up alot of the time.

    My concern right now is her egg laying. Because I have been keeping her confined I am worried she might need to lay but doesn't feel comfortable doing it because of the confinement. She generally finds some random spot to lay in - often some box we have laying around in a shed - or under a shelf or something. We always have trouble finding them. But I don't feel comfortable letting her completely loose like she usually lives because I need to give her the antibiotics. Plus, my main concern is in her weakened state she won't be able to get away from any dangers like dogs or pigs or mongoose or whatever could attack. Anyone have insight on that? If she really needs to lay will she just do it even though she is confined?

    Thanks everyone. I just hoping I'm doing the best thing for her keeping her confined. I worry about that making her more stressed yet if I leave her be I would worry also.
     
  10. emilysteng

    emilysteng Songster

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    May 21, 2010
    Hawaii
    Daily update!

    I let her run free the entire day today - 8AM to 3PM. I was a little worried about her running off into the bushes and disappearing but she seemed so happy doing her normal thing I couldn't bear to keep locking her up. But she pretty much stuck around and showed up whenever we came around. She caught 4 geckos today - a pretty good hunt [​IMG] . She seems pretty active - but still sometimes laying down to go to sleep. I still brought her home with me for the night. Guess I will do that all week for the antibiotics and stuff.

    She seems to enjoy the cracked corn I got from the hatchery. She doesn't really eat the egg producer feed pellets but I think she eats the regular flock raiser feed they gave me. I think she wonders what the big pellets are - they may seem strange to her.

    Still wondering if she is going to lay eggs. Since I didn't watch her the whole day I don't know - but we can usually tell when she is laying by her change in behavior and the disappearance for a good part of the day. The people at the hatchery told me to worry if she didn't start laying soon.

    She seems pretty ok - I sure hope she is getting better and there isn't some hidden problem we don't know about.
     

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