Running out of time and ideas

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dbean1, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. dbean1

    dbean1 Hatching

    Jun 19, 2010
    We are new chicken owners with 10 five week old Buff Orpingtons. They are still in a brooder (extra large dog crate in the mud room). They had been on medicated chick crumbles only, but read that chicks would enjoy treats of bugs now and then, which the kids have been giving them. We did not know that they would need grit if we gave them bugs. I feel awful (remember - we're new at this).

    5 days ago one chick looked lethargic, wasn't eating or drinking, and her eyes looked dull. I made up another little crate for her to separate her from the others. She was barely pooping, what little bit that came out was watery and a little milky. After scouring the info on the boards I decided that maybe she had an impacted (impeded?) crop and, although it didn't feel enlarged, I began the olive oil and Poly Vi Sol treatments. I massaged her crop area several times a day. During this time she started drinking again and started to look a little better. Now I'm at a loss and I'm hoping someone can help. She is still sluggish. Still hasn't pooped, but is eating a little (crumbles) and drinking plenty of water. I have tried offering yogurt but she wants nothing to do with it. Her crate is next to the main brooder and when she has a little energy she will put her head through to try to reach the other chicks. I'll put her back with the others for short periods, but it seems to wear her out. Although she's slightly better, she is still a sick chicken, and I'm worried that she may not last much longer.

    We will do what we can for her here at home, but (please don't criticize) we do not want to take her to a vet or spend a great deal of money for treatment. We would appreciate any insight into what may be causing this and if there is something else we could be doing. I have read that some people use antibiotics, but wouldn't you need to get those from a vet?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    Quote:I think she's starving from inability to get the food through, which you may be able to work through, but antibiotics will surely weaken her system enough to kill her, and I don't think there's any benefit to that, anyway, since she's not suffering from a pathogen.

    I would go to the pet store and get baby parrot hand-feeding formula for her. You mix it with water into a runny paste and give it to her with a syringe (from pet store, too) a little bit at a time, just in the tip of her beak, which you'll likely have to pry open.

    This will be time consuming, but you'll probably get her stronger and able to grow through this.

    Don't put the syringe back far in the beak pointing to the bird's left side (your right if it's facing you) as they have two pipes going through the neck, and the food and water go to the right, air to the left. It will aspirate the feed and die if you point it to the bird's left (your right).

    You will want to fed it as much as you can as often as possible to get the nutrition into it until it acts and eats/drinks normally.

    Good luck!
  3. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Songster

    May 9, 2010
    I can't help with 'what is wrong' but I can help with the not eating bit.

    You must force feed sickly chickens, they do not eat enough when they are ill and when they don't eat enough then things go from bad to worse.

    Boiled Egg (mushed up and cold) is the best thing to get them started with, it's full of everything a chicken needs and it's easy to digest. You can mix a little honey in to give them a sugar boost. You other chickens will appreciate hard boiled egg too.

    It's not that easy to force feed a chicken, but all you need to do is hold them firmly and pull their lower beak down, you can keep a finger on the tip of the upper beak if you find it help with leverage, then put some of the egg in their mouth, towards the back and release the beak, they might shake their heads and spit it out, so try again, this time holding the beak shut after putting the food in. If she isn't drinking dipping her beak in a bottle cap filled with water usually works, if not then you might need to do it with a (needleless) syringe - half ml at a time is plenty. If you can't manage the syringe, bread soaked (and dripping) in water will give her enough liquid until she starts drinking on her own.

    This will be messy but it buys you time to figure out what's really going on.

    It depends where you live how easy antibiotics are to come by, we can by any drug here without prescription, if they stock them, but I know lots of places are very strict. Your vet should be able to supply some antibiotics, if not then get a line from your doctor for a chesty-cough or something. Amoxycillin and Flagyl are both fairly broad spectrum and should be relatively easy to obtain from your doctor if you show up with the right symptoms. Amoxycillin = chesty cough that's being going on for a while with the feeling you might have an infection in your lungs, Flagyl = PID (if you're a lady, and you might get ofloxacin at the same time) or Gardiasis. We usually go for hefty doses in a sort of kill or cure deal with the chicken.

    Edited to spell Finger properly )in case you thought a 'finer' was some specialized tool !!
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  4. OrpingtonHopeful

    OrpingtonHopeful Songster

    May 17, 2009
    When I had a little bitty one that was doing poorly i mixed yogurt with the starter crumbles, a few drops of the the NON iron polyvisol and a bit of water and put it in one of those cheapo cake decorating bottles (like a mustard bottle) with the pointed spout lid- You can get a 2 pack at walmart in the party/cake decorating area- or a Michael's- Then would dribble a bit into her beak a little at a time

    Soon she was hopping into my hand to eat it [​IMG]

    Once you get her appetite interested scrambled eggs in a little dish.
  5. dbean1

    dbean1 Hatching

    Jun 19, 2010
    Thanks for the tips. We have been trying to feed her, but maybe haven't been forceful enough. One of us will hold her, and the other will try to get food in her mouth, but she just keeps turning her head away. We haven't forced her beak open, out of fear of hurting her. She is eating a bit of her crumbles on her own and is drinking some water, but is clearly smaller than the rest of the girls. I'm not sure if she is losing weight, or if the others are growing so quickly that they are passing her up.

    Couple more questions- If she has an impeded crop, would she be eating at all? I'm starting to think maybe that's not the issue. Forgive my ignorance, but do chickens get viruses, like humans, and just need time to get over it?
  6. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    Baby parrot food and the Poly-vi-sol, and you might put some vitamins and electrolytes in her water. Dribbling the vitamins or the parrot food on the side of her beak and letting her take it in is probably the safest way to go. Good luck with your bird.

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