Please help - one of my girls is sick

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Daisy in NZ, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. Daisy in NZ

    Daisy in NZ Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Hello to all:D, I am quite new to chicken keeping and have a problem with one of my girls – a brown shaver. I have a laying chicken older than 1 year, previously slightly sick (runny poos causing soiling of feathers) but worse now. She is very listless, sitting, closing eyes, off pellets, small poos, pulsing vent, tail down, possibly comb has got darker on top. Unsure if she is still laying, definitely trying. Have explored vent, but cannot feel anything hard (thought maybe egg there) abdomen is large but swollen or full of liquid(?) Now separated from other 4. She is eating bugs & egg yolk only:(
  2. LilBizzy

    LilBizzy Chicken Storyteller

    May 20, 2008
    Hello Daisy, and welcome to BYC. I am sorry your first posts have to be a sick chicken question.
    I came across this post- normally people would see and answer, but with it having been Christmas day, it looks like your post got lost.

    It is good you have her seperated. How is she doing now? I'd put her in a warm, dark place to keep her resting, and make sure she is drinking. Infant liquid vitamins without iron - a couple of drops might help perk her up. If the vent is pulsing, it sounds like eggbound. You could try letting her soak in a warm bath, and some olive oil aroound the vent to lubricate. Do a search on "Eggbound"..
  3. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Quote:I agree with LilBizzy as the first thing to try.

    Does anybody else have any suggestions or experiences with this?
  4. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    if she is still with you (so sorry this post got lost for so many days normally we are better at responding)

    Try the warm bath and if you can get her toeat bread soaked in olive oil that might help lube her up a bit. Also some yougurt.

    There are tons of posts on eggbound hens I will try to find some good ones.

    Can you descripe anything else or get some pics? how swollen is her belly? is any yolk leaking from her vent when was the last time she laid an egg? you can also massage some olive oile into her vent a little that might help after the bath.
  5. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008

    seems to be part of the treatment, and I found this post as well it has some good directions.

    Good Luck I hope we all did not respond too late.

    If a rubber egg breaks inside her and then is expelled, then it isnt as much of a problem as when a normal eggshell breaks internally, because the shell pieces can cut her up inside. She could also be egg bound which can cause all kinds of problems ranging from a deadly infection to prolapsed vent, to backed up plumbing.
    NOTE:Edited 4/6/07 8pm to clarify and to add that Wes has indicated that even a soft egg can cause a serious infection if broken internally and then the hen would need antibiotics.

    Did you see any blood around the vent?
    Is she behaving normally or is she acting like she is straining to lay an egg?
    Is she eating and drinking or is she looking lethargic?

    If she is behaving normally, doesn't appear in pain or distress, and doesn't have blood around her vent, then I would wait and watch her.

    If she seems unable to pass an egg, seems distressed, ill, in pain, or you see blood, then here are some suggestions :

    Separate her.
    Plan on keeping her separated from the other hens for a couple days so that you will know if she passes an egg, what condition the egg is in (although a broken egg will often be eaten right away) and so that the other hens do not peck at her vent if she has egg yolk or blood in the area.
    Examine her externally.
    Examine her by gently feeling her belly from the outside. Can you feel a hard egg? If so, you
    can give her a warm bath (see instructions below) and massage her belly towards her vent to help move the egg out.
    Examine her internally.
    Now, I can understand that you might not feel that you know your hen well enough to check inside her vent for an egg or shell pieces, but it really might be necessary. You could put on a pair of surgical gloves if that makes you feel better and put some vasoline or mineral oil on your finger and then just gently feel around inside her vent to see if you can feel a hard egg or sharp shell pieces.
    This will not only give you an idea of what might be going on, but it will also apply some lubricant where it might do some good if there is an egg stuck in there. If you feel any broken pieces of shell, see if you can carefully slip them out without cutting her.
    Unfortunately, they sometimes get twisted inside and it becomes impossible for the egg to come out without surgery, or it causes the reproductive tract to prolapse (invert itself outside of the vent). If that happens then you need to gently push the prolapsed part back inside and hope it stays, but often that becomes chronic and requires culling.

    Giving a chicken a massage bath:
    You can use rubbermaid tote, a baby bath, a 5 gallon bucket or an old dishpan for the bath. I use the sink on my back porch or the laundry sink. (Some folks use their kitchen sink but I dont suggest that for sanitary reasons... )
    Check the water temperature the same as you would for the baby, good and warm but not hot.
    Lower her gently in the water. It should come up to her back. Keep your hand over her back to prevent sudden escape attempts and to keep her from losing her footing and panicking. Either one will result in her flapping her wings and you will get soaked.
    Massage her belly gently moving in the direction of her vent. She should relax in the warm water. Some birds even fall asleep.
    Getting her dry.
    After the bath, wrap her in an old towel and put her under a warm lamp or inside the house to keep her warm. Keep her wrapped in the towel for at least 15 minutes, or longer, to absorb as much of the water from her feathers as possible. Then move her to a rubbermaid tote or a dog/cat carrier with a lot of shavings to help dry her. Again, keep her inside until she is dry, it will take overnight, and she needs to be in a warm place. It takes a long time for them to get dry all the way to the skin unless you want to speed the process with a hair drier. Amazingly, after the first minute or two, they dont seem to mind the hair drier. Just be sure to frequently use your other hand, between the hair drier and the bird, to be sure that it isnt too hot.

    (note: a bath to prepare a chicken for a show or to treat mites/lice would require the additional steps of shampooing the bird plus rinsing a couple of times. I dont recommend that you do that while the chicken is already in distress)
  6. Daisy in NZ

    Daisy in NZ Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Thanks for all your help. She is still with us, we have tried all suggestions, but I suspect she has an egg that may have got stuck, and is not shifting. I cannot feel it inside her either from inside or out. We have been force feeding her with worms, oil, yoghurt, banana, dog meat and she is pecking a little bit of rock melon, but not interested even in bugs any more. She has been sick now for 10 days, and we have bathing and force feeding for the last 5. Our only option is now to end it for her, rather than making her suffer. She still looks alert, and is walking slowly around, but the swelling is not going away. So sad...
  7. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    I am very sorry to hear the bad news. It is especially tough to lose one after trying so hard to help. Bless your heart for giving it all you had.
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    She may have an ecoli infection or be laying internally. In cases like that where there doesn't seem to be an egg stuck, I give 3-4 days of heavy penicillin doses (injections). I've saved a couple like that, but they don't all bounce back. Have one right now who doesn't seem to be responding to the antibiotic, sadly.
  9. Ms~Silkie~Girl

    Ms~Silkie~Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2009
    New York STATE
    im so sorry [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2010
  10. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    poor thing so sorry for both of you.

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