Pullet lethargic and not eating well all of a sudden

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DoberMom, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. DoberMom

    DoberMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    We have a 6 month old leghorn pullet that all of a sudden started acting ill yesterday. She is pretty lethargic, often standing with her tail out/little down (instead of nice and upright like the rest of the pullets), sometimes with her eyes closing like she's nodding off. She also has poop on her butt feathers (sorry for not using more technical terms, now isn't the time to learn them and I'm sure you know what I mean!). Last night we attempted to try to determine if she is egg bound, tried feeling around back there but I've never done it before so I'm not sure if I'd feel an egg or not. We also donned the gloves and a little olive oil (couldn't find vaseline) and probed her vent a little finding nothing. When observing her, she appears like she might be straining to poop or lay an egg, although she's not in the normal position for either. I'm not chicken expert but I have been watching them poop for 6 months and lay eggs for 2 months. Incidentally we are quite sure this chicken has not started laying eggs while her 3 leghorn flockmates started laying 2 1/2 to 3 months ago. I did notice her in the nest box acting like she was laying a couple days in a row a few days ago but no eggs from her. A few hours ago we pulled her out and have her isolated in a dog crate with blankets covering. We are thinking we'll try the warm bath for 20 minutes in a while. Also, I did review some anatomy pictures this evening and will give another try at seeing if we can feel an egg. I will also go out shortly and see about her crop now that I see specifically where it is, although I felt around a little while ago and didn't feel much there. She seems to eat a little oats and had a couple grapes (their favorite treat by far). She passed on the scrambled eggs we tried a few hours ago but they haven't been offered that since they were a couple weeks old. My husband is at the store picking up unflavored pedialyte, plain yogurt and duramiacin so hopefully we'll have what you guys recommend on-hand!

    Symptom summary:

    * lethargic, standing around with tail straight out or a little down
    * appears to be trying to poop or lay an egg at times
    * appearing to fall asleep at odd times (when all the other chickens are pecking around like normal)
    * not eating well, but eating some
    * not sure on poop, butt feathers have some yucky poop
    * odd poop yesterday after her "rectal", looked kind of like egg yolk (hopefully that's me being paranoid and not that she has a broken egg in her)

    This leghorn has some spots on her and in fact she's the only one we've "named", we call her Spots. She had a rough time at a week or two, I ended up feeding her with a dropper for a couple days. She may have had an impacted crop so I did some massaging and I think gave her oil... it's been a few months. Until the last couple months, she was smaller than the other leghorns also. Now she might be the biggest leghorn but is way behind in laying. I suspect she just isn't a very genetically sound bird but we had already decided she could stay on as a moocher even if she never laid. [​IMG] Now I just hope she'll survive nature!

    We have 12 chickens including her, got them all as a couple hour old chicks 6 months ago. We have been feeding Purina Layena for 2 months or so now, no changes there. We also feed occasional oats for scratch and other occasional treats (squash, grapes, cucumbers) but not much treats lately. They have oyster shell free choice. They free range a few hours each evening. The rest of the time they have 24 hour access to their 8x12 coop and their 12x22 fenced, covered dirt run (formerly grass, LOL). It was my understanding that they didn't need grit when on Layena so we haven't had grit out for months. Of course they also have access to the world each evening and their run all the time.

    We called all over this morning trying to find a vet that sees chickens, to no avail. I know I should have done this the day I got the chicks if I intended to treat them if they got sick. Darn hind sight. We are in West Michigan if anyone has any suggestions. Several of our area vets suggested Michigan State but we called both their veterinary hospitals (small and large animal) and neither treat chickens or had suggestions for us in finding treatment.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Polly
    West Michigan
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
  3. DoberMom

    DoberMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Thank you for replying! I don't think that sounds like her problem. I don't think I notice any sort of swelling and her poop is definitely not rubbery, what I saw that looked sort of like yolk... I should have said lightly beaten egg. It was very liquidy, definitely not rubbery or anything close to it. What I thought was odd was that it had no form at all which I'm used to their little mounds. Just a little while ago we gave her the warm bath with her butt thoroughly soaked for 30 minutes (had to refresh the water to keep it nice and warm). I'm so glad I came across someone that talked about putting a towel loosely over her head, that was amazing. She just sat as calm and could be, even closed her eyes and fell asleep. After the bath, we did a repeat amateur hour exam. I still couldn't feel anything that seemed like it could be an egg from inside or outside. After the "rectal" with a dab of olive oil, some white/yellow goo came out much like yesterday. We'll see how she is in the morning. Now that she's isolated, we'll have a better chance at seeing how much she's eating and what her poop is looking like.
     
  4. DoberMom

    DoberMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    This morning she's still acting pretty subdued. However, now that she's isolated I got a picture of some poop from this morning. The pile is quite large, I should have put something next to it for reference, I would say it was probably a 2"x2" pile. Based on the poop pictures (http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0), maybe this is normal? If she were egg bound, would she still be pooping? Maybe she's just fine and has a paranoid chicken keeper. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. DoberMom

    DoberMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    More info - her eyes are clear and bright, no eye or nasal discharges, no sneezing or wheezing. When we gave her the bath last night we could hear her breathing but I suspect that's pretty normal. She's just not really eating or drinking and not acting like a normal chicken. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    The poop looks normal. I am wondering if she is an internal layer. I don't know enough about the condition to say much on it. Maybe send a quick PM to SpeckledHen or check out some of her posts on dealing with internal layers. She had several of them from what I gather.

    I wish I could help more. Sorry.
     
  7. Country Cluck

    Country Cluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 4, 2009
    Battle Ground
    Her droppings are not a normal color. I just had a pullet who had a bad eye infection and all of the syptoms you described and the green droppings suggest an infection. One of her eyes became swollen and cloudy over 24 hours. She either stood in the cage with her eyes shut and her head drooped down or sat down in that same position. When she did walk around it would be a few steps and then she would stop and kind of shudder like something hurt a lot and then sit down. Once I had her on antibiotic drops she started to perk up, but her droppings alternated between green and a kind of watery egg yolk looking color for about a week. The vet said it would take 2 weeks for her to get better and sure enough 2 weeks later she was back outside scratching away.

    First State Vet Supply will do a phone consultation with you for $25 and I did a phone consultation with Dr. Bruce Singbell at Crossroads Vet Hospital in Bellevue, WA (425) 746-7387 if you want his number. He will talk to anyone, anywhere in the world. He charges $75, but it was worth it to me. The best thing I can suggest is to try not to troll the internet and look for an answer, because you get your self all wound up. It's kind of like using Web MD, before you know it you have cancer no matter what your syptoms. There is a sticky on the top of this diseases forum and one of the selections if for vets, so you might be able to find someone closer if you want.
     
  8. Cutnshoots

    Cutnshoots Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2014
    Crosby, Texas
    I wondering if you ever found out the problem with your girl? I have a speckled sussex with much of he same symptoms, stopped eating, not drinking, acts like she is trying to poop all the time, poop is runny, a white "egg yoke" looking drainage at her vent, acts like she's trying to doze off, sits still, moves around very little, would very much like to know what you found out, dont want to loose her...Thanks
     
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  9. NaturesX

    NaturesX Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2014
    Following... I have 3 pullet cream legbar s. They should lay soon.. One is lethargic today tail down.. Thought was just sleepy then had to carry her in from free ranging tonight and I usually can't just pick her up .. Saw her eat some scraps.. Could this possibly be that she's about to start laying maybe? I'll check her in morning. Just concerned.. These are my only 3 not vaccinated for Maericks(?) at birth.. Whatever that disease is all about. Not sure..
     

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