Rhode Island Red’s comb has fallen over and darkened, she’s lethargic and hasn’t laid in months. Should I be worried?

Saborucci

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
12
2
13
I’ve noticed some changes with one of my ladies the last couple of days and I’m getting worried. As I said in the title, her comb has completely fallen sideways over the last couple of days. It looks like it’s darker too. She is just over two years old but hasn’t laid for months. Before she was a very reliable layer but her shells where on the thin side. She hasn’t shown any interest in oster shells. Tomorrow I’ll keep a closer eye to she if she’s eating and drinking. Given the signs I suspect she has white runny poop but I’ll try to confirm this tomorrow as well. She wasn’t interested in cracked corn today like she normally is, which is worrisome. The weather has been cool and raining the last couple of days, if that helps. Any thoughts?
 

micstrachan

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Yes, a laying disorder comes to mind. I’m sorry she is not feeling well. Can you check if her breast muscle seems to be wasting away and whether her abdomen (fluffy bottom) is bloated or swollen? If it’s hard to tell, compare her to another her in the flock.
 

Saborucci

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
12
2
13
Yes, a laying disorder comes to mind. I’m sorry she is not feeling well. Can you check if her breast muscle seems to be wasting away and whether her abdomen (fluffy bottom) is bloated or swollen? If it’s hard to tell, compare her to another her in the flock.

Oh man, yeah she’s probably internally laying. That’s really sad because she’s such a good girl! I didn’t know that was a thing and I feel the internet failed me when I did a search a while ago for why she stopped laying. I should have posted here then. I noticed her breast seemed thin when I picked her up a few days ago. Any thing I can do at this point?
 

TheOddOneOut

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Feb 15, 2020
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I’ve noticed some changes with one of my ladies the last couple of days and I’m getting worried. As I said in the title, her comb has completely fallen sideways over the last couple of days. It looks like it’s darker too. She is just over two years old but hasn’t laid for months. Before she was a very reliable layer but her shells where on the thin side. She hasn’t shown any interest in oster shells. Tomorrow I’ll keep a closer eye to she if she’s eating and drinking. Given the signs I suspect she has white runny poop but I’ll try to confirm this tomorrow as well. She wasn’t interested in cracked corn today like she normally is, which is worrisome. The weather has been cool and raining the last couple of days, if that helps. Any thoughts?
Pics?
 

micstrachan

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Apr 10, 2016
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Oh man, yeah she’s probably internally laying. That’s really sad because she’s such a good girl! I didn’t know that was a thing and I feel the internet failed me when I did a search a while ago for why she stopped laying. I should have posted here then. I noticed her breast seemed thin when I picked her up a few days ago. Any thing I can do at this point?
Is an avian vet an option? Do you know if her abdomen is bloated? Some people just drain their own hens. Some people treat with antibiotics. I personally only like to do that if I have an idea of what I might be treating for. In my opinion, if she’s feeling bad and has a laying disorder, I’d either go all out with treatment or consider putting her down. And also understand even with all-out treatment, there is no guarantee. I have had hormone implants implanted in my hens to give their reproductive systems a break. I currently have a hen who has a hormone-triggered reproductive issue, but seems to recover while on hormones and with heavy duty antibiotics. It’s expensive and sends the hen into a mini molt, but for my girl, she still seems happy, eating, drinking, preening, foraging, vocalizing and bossing the dog and junior hens around! However, a few years ago I had a hen who died two days after her second implant. She improved the first time around, but never fully recovered. The point is, each bird and situation is different and at the end of the day, your hen is in your charge. You obviously care about her or you would not have posted here.You could wait and see, but it sounds like she already has symptoms of not feeling well. I suspect action of some kind will be needed. Hang in there and we’ll be here to support whatever you decide to do.
 

Saborucci

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
12
2
13
Oh man, yeah she’s probably internally laying. That’s really sad because she’s such a good girl! I didn’t know that was a thing and I feel the internet failed me when I did a search a while ago for why she stopped laying. I should have posted here then. I noticed her breast seemed thin when I picked her up a few days ago. Any thing I can do at this point?

Would having a vet drain her help her be more comfortable as she goes? Or would she fill up again before she passes and we will be right back where we are now? I was thinking maybe draining would help relieve the bloating while the infection runs it’s course, but I’m just not sure and we can’t get ahold of a vet.
 

micstrachan

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Apr 10, 2016
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Also, how is her poop amd do you know if her crop is functioning properly?
Would having a vet drain her help her be more comfortable as she goes? Or would she fill up again before she passes and we will be right back where we are now? I was thinking maybe draining would help relieve the bloating while the infection runs it’s course, but I’m just not sure and we can’t get ahold of a vet.
Draining might make her feel better. It also might just delay the inevitable. I personally would probably not poke without administering antibiotic.
 

Saborucci

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
12
2
13
We had a vet take a look at Ruby yesterday and he doesn’t think she has EYP. She is having hard time breathing so we are giving her Enrofloxacin and Meloxicam. Hopefully that will be it but he’s not sure if there is an underlining condition that is causing her problems. Her condition seems to have stabilized the last couple of days but she barely moves. She does eat and drink some when it’s put in front of her. Every hour or so I try to get her to get something her. The poor girl is fighting but she’s lost a lot of weight already.
 

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Saborucci

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
12
2
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Also, how is her poop amd do you know if her crop is functioning properly?

Draining might make her feel better. It also might just delay the inevitable. I personally would probably not poke without administering antibiotic.

Ruby has responded well to the meds and is acting more like herself and moving around quite a bit. But she seems to be just wasting away and doesn’t seem to be eating or drinking much. She not even interested in her favorite treats. The one thing she does eat is bugs when I lift up rocks and such. Sometimes she’s all about worms and other times she doesn’t even bother. Any suggestions on what should try to feed her? I’m thinking I’ll head to the pet store and buy live bugs for her. Is there a bug that’s better than the others?
 

micstrachan

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Apr 10, 2016
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Aww, Ruby! I have a Ruby, too, and she is the one prone to health problems.

Mealworms are high in calories, but also high in fat. To get my Ruby over the hump when she loses her appetite amd starts getting tired from it, I syringe feed her baby bird formula in 10mL servings, no more than 0.5mL at a time so she can swallow. She does not like this procedure, but I’ve seen her perk up afterward on multiple occasions.

I think it might be a good idea for you to tube feed your Ruby. I’ve not done this myself, but here is a great article on it:: https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...ding-updated-12-29-2019.805728/#post-11654778

The author, @casportpony, is quite knowledgable on the subject and helpful.
 

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