Poorly Hen - lethargic, hunched, droopy wings

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MrsMiggins, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. MrsMiggins

    MrsMiggins Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2012
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    Hellooo
    This is my first post here, so please bear with me!

    Wonderful website and everyone seems so friendly. We live in the UK and started keeping chickens about 10 months ago. I really love having them clucking around the garden and never realised what personalities hens have! We started off with six - 1 Nera, 1 Barred Rock, 1 Cambridge Blue, 1 Black Tail and 2 Light Sussex.

    We lost the first hen (Nera) due to an impacted crop, which I have now learned a lot about and am confident I can treat more effectively if it ever happens again.

    We have lost two hens since then, one (Barred Rock) in September last year, one (Nera) in January this year and we now have another hen (Black Tail) displaying similar symptoms. After the Barred Rock died we bought 3 new hens (1 Nera, 1 Black Sussex and 1 Copper Maran), thinking that maybe it was a one off - it wasn't, obviously.

    They tend to go from being bright and healthy one day to then becoming lethargic with a hunched appearance and slightly drooping wings. They also shake their heads every now and again, which is noticeable, but not constant. They still eat and drink, but tend to stop every now and again to 'sleep'. They hunch up in a corner on their own and frequently close their eyes. This may carry on for a couple of days until they give up and die. Their crops and vents seem fine and they seem to be a good weight, until the end when they stop eating.

    They have been wormed with flubenvet recently. They have a dry, well ventilated, but not drafty, house. They are fed layers pellets from a hopper and have fresh water daily. They have seed/maize and also fresh veg, and free range for a few hours per day so that they are not confined to one plot of land all day. The run is next to our shed where we have noticed vermin before, could this be indicative of a disease passed on by vermin?

    I really don't know what it is or what to do. The other hens seem healthy, but then so did these until they fell ill. Any advice much appreciated! Many thanks in advance! Apologies for introducing myself and then asking for advice immediately :-|
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    You need to bring them inside when they are sick, cold kills.
     
  3. MrsMiggins

    MrsMiggins Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2012
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    Thank you! When you say cold kills, do you mean temperature or that she may have had a cold?

    She didn't make the night. I would have brought her in today too, following your advice.

    The time between poorly hens seems to have halved, from about 3-4 months to roughly 1.5 months. And the time between them showing signs of illness and then passing seems to be quicker too. The first one was ill for what seemed like a week or two, and we noticed this last one was poorly yesterday morning and she didn't make it through the night.

    Pretty concerned!
     
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss... What I meant was the outside temp kills. [​IMG] Chickens often don't show signs of illness until they're very close to the point of no return, so any added stress will often kill them. If you have a serious disease, well, there is probably not much you can do. Can you contact a vet and ask them if there is someplace to send her for a free necropsy? If that's an option, you need to put her in the fridge, not the freezer.

    If I were you, I would worm the rest of my flock and treat them and their coops for mites/lice with something other than DE. What de-wormers are available to you in the UK? In the US, we just go the the feed store and buy goat, cattle or horse wormer for our chickens.
     
  5. MrsMiggins

    MrsMiggins Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2012
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    Thanks for the advice. I wormed them all about a month ago with flubenvet. If we lose another we'll definitely contemplate a necropsy. I'm hoping it will improve with better weather. Fingers crossed!
     
  6. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    Have you treated them for lice/mites recently ? Head shaking could be due to irritation from an infestation... just a thought.
     
  7. suzfau

    suzfau New Egg

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    Hello! Did you find out what was wrong with your hens? I had one that was droopy, lethargic then got very thin. I did take her to an avian vet but initial checks showed no mites, lice, droppings showed nothing. I couldn't afford the (much) more expensive tests to determine if there was liver or heart problems- the only thing the vet could think of. She passed away after several weeks, only two years old. I have another now (the mother of the first) 5 years old that has been like that for a year. I bring her in every few days for personal feedings and resting. The mother is polish crested and the daughter was half. If there was a virus or bacteria would they live so long? Any ideas or thoughts? Thanks! Suzanne
     

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