Sad Sick Hen, Hospice?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DellaMyDarling, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    My favorite hen, Barb. Suggestions, please.

    She is not doing well. May be close to the end, but I'm always hoping.
    Over the past few months she has been declining. I have twice previously brought her in house for extra care, which perked her up enough to put her back in flock.

    Yesterday child brought her to me (common theme in my house.) Barb was really pale, eyes closed even in child's arms. She's a super friendly, lovey hen but even this is odd of course.
    Put her in a box by the space heater, offered water and then a scrambled egg.
    Barb slept, all hunched and fluffed, for a good hour before waking to drink. She ate a few small pieces egg but drank a bunch. She then went back to sleep.
    Left house for approx 2 hours. Hadn't moved from her box but was smoothed down and cozy. She woke and clucked at us some, drank almost excessively 3+ little dishes of water (guess: 1cup total.)
    Transferred her to an actual pet crate for the night. It's 7:15AM and she's mostly just sleeping. Got her to drink a little, one big stinky wet poo I'm not desperate to take a pic of just yet. Egg is still in bowl.

    What I know, trying to not draw conclusions:

    Barb has history of battling mites, all summer. The last 2 times I did mite check, she was appearing to finally win. Not to say everyone couldn't use another spray.
    We averaged 40s here until this week. Hit with a serious, sudden deep freeze with record lows plus windchills below 0. We don't even have heating oil yet, it was so unexpected. I presume this is just as hard on animals.
    Coop has deep litter, and it feels frozen solid. We went from trying to decide how to winterize water systems to having sudden water ice blocks. At least for now, we've placed a shallow rubber livestock pan in coop+run for water. It doesn't seem to freeze as quickly and easier to remedy, but a few times they were solid on top with chicens pecking it when I went out. I don't know how long they went without during those times (water normally checked 3x day or so but that doesn't mean every bird drank what they needed to first.)
    Barb started molting about 10 days ago. Poor dear. No bald patches, but lots of weird feather lengths and new growth not out of shafts yet. She must be extra cold outside!
    Over summer she has lost weight considerably. She was never a fat hen, but now she's super light and petite. Boney.
    One episode over the summer seemed to be the overabundance of mites. The second episode involved her crop. Treated first for impaction and then for sour. She appeared to recover from that.
    She's about 5.
    We haven't seen her lay in a long time, possibly came to us not laying in March. She has shown no issues in her vent region, no belly swelling, etc. With her serious mite problem early summer, I wouldn't think her body could handle egg production too. The Roo seems to take care of her but I've never seen him mate her, maybe that's anthropomorphic to think he knows she's an old lady lol.
    Her crop is not full, even when she came in yesterday. She is not top pecking order but has never been bullied around either. Her gentle nature seems to win other chickens over.


    7:40, got her moving around a bit. She pecked egg, drank, fell asleep standing.
    Yes, its normal for her to be at peace with the dog. Both creatures are super gentle.
     

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  2. nchls school

    nchls school Crowing

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    I'd keep her separated from the flock as she may have an ailment that could spread. Slowly wasting away makes me think of Marek's, but could well be something else. While 5 is no longer young it s not old for a chicken; some breed seem to live longer than others (my serama bantams are not long lived). I've had hens still laying a few eggs over ten years of age. Those breeds that go broody frequently seem to produce eggs for more years than those nonbroody egg laying machines.

    A pet-Keep her warm. You could try vitamins and electrolytes. I've enticed ill birds to eat by offering hard boiled eggs and dried mealworms. A trip to a veterinarian is expensive... Possibly antibiotics; natural or otherwise if you can get it. How's her breathing? Good luck.
     
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  3. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    Barb is still very unwell.
    She is in the house. Poops almost 100% liquid.
    She drinks almost excessively and just nibbled on cracker, egg, tuna. No interest in chicken feed.
    Lots of clucking today and more movement but still hours of sleeping. She gets tired and climbs back into crate.

    I feel like she is wasting away :(
     
  4. nchls school

    nchls school Crowing

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    I'am sorry to read this. So very hard to lose a pet. My wife, once a big bird addict, no longer deals with the birds other than being bird doctor should the need arise (something she is very good at).

    Two years ago we went to a poultry auction. Despite my warnings she bought birds. Though they were kept quarantined for a long period, the new birds sickened and most of our existing flock did too. Those birds that were cherished pets all died-slowly over a number of months. Since then she wants nothing to do with a hobby she enjoyed for over a decade. The flock I have now is healthy and I'm hoping in time my Kimmi will once again share the interest with me.

    Back to Barb-consider eliminating the egg and tuna from her diet in favor of less moisture content foods which may be making the diarhea worse. My chickens love dry meal worms. Possibly you can think of something else Barb will eat. Good luck,
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I'm sorry that Barb is not improving:hugs

    Can you post some photos of her poop?
    Her crop is not full, but is it completely empty in the morning before she eats/drinks?
    You mention mites and that she appearing to finally win - are there still mites (lice?) on her at all? What treatment have you use to get rid of them?

    Drinking excessively, I would still investigate the crop issue further. Look inside her beak as well to make sure there is no canker/yellow cheesy patches.
    With her age and not laying for a long time, sadly she may be having reproductive issues as well. Not all hens will present with swelling or bloat of the abdomen, but they still have Egg Yolk Peritonitis, cancer, etc. (Symptoms can include weight loss, going off food, crop issues, lethargy).

    Since she is molting too, I would direct dose her with poultry vitamins. Poultry Cell would be a good choice (1 cc per 3 pounds of weight) I would give her those 2-3 days in a row, then taper to 2 times a week.

    Consider getting a fecal float to check for worms, if that's not possible, then worming her may be a good idea. Valbazen would be what I would use since she's in molt. Dosage is 0.08ml per pound of weight given orally once, then repeat in 10 days.

    Let us know how she's doing.
     
    Eggcessive, DellaMyDarling and dawg53 like this.
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    The mites have taken a toll on her. They cause anemia, then death. Eliminate the mites. You might want to try this med recommended in this link:
    http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/anemia
    It wouldnt hurt to worm her with Valbazen as @Wyorp Rock mentioned. Deep litter is a hotbed for capillary worms. Other than a lack of water, thirst can be a sign of worms as well.
     
  7. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    Hmm, would a Valbazen dose help with external mites as well?

    Is there an accurate way to dose entire flock? I do not have hours and patience to catch and dose every single bird precisely.


    Her crop does empty by morning. She's picking up a bit. Legs and comb don't appear shriveled anymore. She comes out of the crate every so often, walks around clucking. Let her go to the run for a few hours yesterday. (If she's contagious, there's absolutely no way everyone else isn't already exposed.)
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    No, Valbazen is strictly for treating worms. Permethrin dust or spray is good for mites on chickens, and the area needs to be treated with new bedding as well. Mites will hatch out weekly, so they may require 2 or mite treatments 7 days apart, so the newly hatched ones are killed. Here is a good article about lice and mites:
    https://the-chicken-chick.com/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification/
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  9. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    No, Valbazen only treats worms.

    Does she still have mites?
     
  10. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    I'm fairly sure our mites are permethrin resistant at this point.
    She's got a few to be seen, almost all of the older chickens do except the rooster. The young ones and bantams seem...resistant? They all spend almost equal time in each environment, so I cannot attribute it to "oh the bedding, or it's the nest boxes" reinfesting them etc. They are redmites, not roost mites, so at least that's something.
    I literally bathed this chickens every 5 days or so all summer. Every time, treated surfaces too.
    Too cold for bathing now, have done a few sessions of rump and wingpit spraying since September. Still, some always persist.

    I'm finding chickens to be obnoxious creatures to keep. Might need to make big changes in my chicken plans. We've had chickens since March. Only March, and have had to deal with almost every chicken problem in the books. These guys are here to lay eggs, 90% of them are just livestock to us. We care about them but clearly I am over making time to care for every single individual bird with a booboo or bug.
    But this is about Barb, one of my few pets :(
    Sorry for the rant. Maybe there's an AHA moment coming.
     

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