Rescued chicken not coming out of a coop and barely eating

LaFleche

Free Ranging
Sep 22, 2012
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I will try it, thank you!

I was slightly concerned that I haven't seen her drinking today (I could usually tell because I saw wet marks in her feed) and she seemed a little dehydrated. I wonder if she is not fond of the herb brew. I provided her with a jar of clean water and she didn't drink that either. Should I leave the brew there or change it for water as it was before just to be sure?
Did you add aniseed or fennel and honey to it?
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
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I was just thinking - when I was carrying her from the coop to the box, I felt as if her crop is full, but it was like very soft... More like a balloon filled with water, which was surprising considering she wasn't eating beforehand. If she would have some obstruction in her throat though, she wouldn't be eating at all right?
 

LaFleche

Free Ranging
Sep 22, 2012
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It's a thyme, rosemary and oregano mixture - I didn't have aniseed, but I do have fennel seeds. I haven't realized I could add them as well. I guess I still can.
Aniseed and fennel or honey will sweeten the tea which might be not to her taste without the sweetening additions.
 

LaFleche

Free Ranging
Sep 22, 2012
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I was just thinking - when I was carrying her from the coop to the box, I felt as if her crop is full, but it was like very soft... More like a balloon filled with water, which was surprising considering she wasn't eating beforehand. If she would have some obstruction in her throat though, she wouldn't be eating at all right?
This might be caused by sour crop. Here is some reading on how to treat it:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/

But before you start with the treatment wait until tomorrow morning to feel if her crop has emptied overnight. Take away all feed and water/tea until morning. You stated before that she was drinking a lot which might just cause a swollen and squishy crop as well without it being sour.
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
This might be caused by sour crop. Here is some reading on how to treat it:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/

But before you start with the treatment wait until tomorrow morning to feel if her crop has emptied overnight. Take away all feed and water/tea until morning. You stated before that she was drinking a lot which might just cause a swollen and squishy crop as well without it being sour.
Thank you - I checked the crop this morning and it was fine - small and harder from the food she ate shortly before I checked it. I brought her out this morning just so she can get some fresh air and see the other hens - I was hoping that by seeing the familiar water station, she would drink - and she went ahead, dipped her beak in it and immediately shaked it off like she did with the carror puré. She tried once more and then went off to the feeder. She was quite lively but obviously wasn't keen to drink. She definitely had some apettite though. Pecked on feed with the rest of the flock and before I brought her in, I gave her some earthworms that I dug up, and she ate about three of them.

I am worried about the water intake though.. I mixed her feed with water to make it moist, but I don't know if that's enough. So apparently the herbs weren't the issue, she just seems to avoid water altogether.

I wrote to some vets, bird specialists, if they could check her to see what's wrong and so far it seems I could see one on Tuesday. I hope she will hold on till then.
 

Wickedchicken6

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So you would rule out any other issues, such as bacterial infections or other more simple diseases? She is pooping more now and it's all but that whitish liquid substance.

I didn't know about these disorders.. But it's no wonder taking into account the horrible conditions they live in those industrial places. :(

I will keep her comfortable inside and see how her condition evolves.

Thank you for your reply!
I commend you on your heart.
However, I would like to respectfully comment in a different light.

If these birds were moved from a climate-controlled environment eating an appropriate, nutritionally formulated diet to new food, a new environment of potential pathogens while under incredible stress during mid-moult in fall when temps are cooling...how could they be expected to thrive, or even survive? The introduction to new Eimeria strains may be a tax on their systems. The change of diet plus adding other strange foods and additives may have wreaked havoc on their gut microbiota and left them extremely compromised. In their weakened state, they've been exposed to cold temperatures with wind...and potential pathogens.

Here is some information regarding the chicken GI tract and the microbiome.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206279/#:~:text=The GI tract of the chicken includes the crop, proventriculus,, and cloaca (32).&text=The majority of bacteria in,and coliform bacteria (28).

Here is an overview of Necrotic Enteritis in Poultry.
https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poul...ecrotic-enteritis-in-poultry?redirectid=22935

An overview of coccidiosis in poultry.
https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/coccidiosis/overview-of-coccidiosis-in-poultry

1) If you could provide the feed these birds were previously fed, that may help. If not, providing a non medicated chick starter might be helpful. A new food can be slowly introduced over a period of time to acclimate the gut microbiota once the hens have recovered fully.
2) Coccidiosis may be an issue. Consult a vet and provide the hens with a prescribed coccidiostat if required. Medicated feed usually won't contain enough medication to be properly effective.
3) Keep the birds in their coop until they're well. While everyone thinks it's kind and wonderful to let the birds outside to experience the outdoors; they're not acclimated to the temperatures or the weather and being exposed so quickly will be a great source of stress and fear for a prey species. Limiting stress and providing a warm and safe atmosphere is paramount.
4) Keep all stresses to a minimum for an extended length of time.
 

VlkStinu

Chirping
Aug 6, 2020
162
225
96
Czech Republic
I commend you on your heart.
However, I would like to respectfully comment in a different light.

If these birds were moved from a climate-controlled environment eating an appropriate, nutritionally formulated diet to new food, a new environment of potential pathogens while under incredible stress during mid-moult in fall when temps are cooling...how could they be expected to thrive, or even survive? The introduction to new Eimeria strains may be a tax on their systems. The change of diet plus adding other strange foods and additives may have wreaked havoc on their gut microbiota and left them extremely compromised. In their weakened state, they've been exposed to cold temperatures with wind...and potential pathogens.

Here is some information regarding the chicken GI tract and the microbiome.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206279/#:~:text=The GI tract of the chicken includes the crop, proventriculus,, and cloaca (32).&text=The majority of bacteria in,and coliform bacteria (28).

Here is an overview of Necrotic Enteritis in Poultry.
https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poul...ecrotic-enteritis-in-poultry?redirectid=22935

An overview of coccidiosis in poultry.
https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/coccidiosis/overview-of-coccidiosis-in-poultry

1) If you could provide the feed these birds were previously fed, that may help. If not, providing a non medicated chick starter might be helpful. A new food can be slowly introduced over a period of time to acclimate the gut microbiota once the hens have recovered fully.
2) Coccidiosis may be an issue. Consult a vet and provide the hens with a prescribed coccidiostat if required. Medicated feed usually won't contain enough medication to be properly effective.
3) Keep the birds in their coop until they're well. While everyone thinks it's kind and wonderful to let the birds outside to experience the outdoors; they're not acclimated to the temperatures or the weather and being exposed so quickly will be a great source of stress and fear for a prey species. Limiting stress and providing a warm and safe atmosphere is paramount.
4) Keep all stresses to a minimum for an extended length of time.
Thank you very much for this detailed and informative response... Sadly, the hen died this morning. I could've made an appointment with the vet in the afternoon, but it was too late. Now I know I have to deal with the issue immediately without any postponing and ideally go straight to vet if I see any change in behaviour and other symptoms.

I will start a prevention diet for the rest of the hens starting tomorrow, so they are ready for the cold season ahead - I ordered a lot of vitamins and substances that should boost their immunity, relieve any stress, fight bacteria, help with their feather growth and prevent things like coccidiosis and so on.

I know all these changes are taxing as you wrote and I think I did my best to make it as easy for them to acclimatize as possible... I kept them closed in the coop the first day until they were restless and obviously wanted out and I fed them only with a pre-mixed feed for layers, that was probably similar to what they were used to (they were eating it very eagerly, which would prove this - they are extremely cautious about novelties and I rarely gave them something else). I also provided them with heat when the temperatures were dropping, but fortunately, the first two weeks were still nicely warm, so in the first crucial days, the temperatures weren't an issue.

But all in all, I suppose there is only so much you can do for birds kept in such horrible conditions since birth up to the point when they are depleted of their energy and that's when those poultry houses are giving them away.

Lesson learned for me is that I have to be cautious and any potential symptoms must be dealt with immediately and ideally with a help of a professional.

Thank you all for your kind and helpful messages, I really appreciate it! ❤
 

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