Shock from a hawk? Or something bigger?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gretchkin, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. gretchkin

    gretchkin New Egg

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    Jan 16, 2017
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Hi. Have appreciated the info I've learned from these forums as a new-ish chicken keeper (2 yrs). Hoping someone can help me solve a mystery with my poor little Wyandotte, Shirley. She's had a rough time now seems to have taken a bad turn and I am at a loss for a diagnosis because there are so many variables involved. Thanks in advance for reading this long post -- I tried to document the situation as clearly as possible.

    Friday we had a scare in the chicken run, when a hawk showed up. I heard a commotion and caught a glimpse of it flying up out of the run into a nearby tree. I ran out an found Shirley lying on her side in tight space against the fence wall of the coop. Our other two chickens were hiding inside the coop. I examined everyone and there was no blood or obvious injury. I set Shirley in the coop and she just stood there, stunned. I got out some treats and she perked up for a moment, but stumbled going for them, then appeared to regain her balance, but moved very slowly for the rest of the day and mostly just stood around looking almost catatonic. That night I checked on them and she was sleeping in a nest box. (Not unusual, she took to doing that after a hard molt this fall -- I suspected the other chickens started bullying her off the roost).

    In the morning I went out to check on the chickens and found the two outside in their protected run. Shirley was laying on her side, legs out in the coop. I thought she was dead!, but when I opened door I saw that her eyes were open and her legs were trembling. I scooped her up in a cardboard box with some straw and brought her inside to warm up and examine more closely for injury. She is VERY thin with very prominent keel bone. Her legs and wings seemed fine (she didn't react in pain to handling).

    She seemed to perk up a little once she was warm and she would eat and drink when we presented food and water to her. (We've been putting Sav-A-Chick vitamin/electrolyte in her water.) She wasn't really moving around at all. She'd either sit or stand in her nest and that's about it. I darkened the room so she would sleep. We monitored her for a day with pretty much no change. She pooped a bit, but not a lot and we coaxed her to eat and drink a few times.

    Yesterday, she seemed maybe slightly better, but still, slow, weak and wobbly. She still wasn't seeking out food and water on her own, only when we presented her with it (she'd go vigorously for sunflower seeds and meal worms). I decided to check out her butt area for problems. I wanted to rule out vent gleet as we may have had a touch of it last fall, (which we treated at the time with a bath, ACV and yogurt). She had lots of poop stuck to her from, presumably from sleeping in the nest box and her skin looked terribly red. Because of the apparent irritation, I decided to bathe her. That went well and after she was dried her skin looked better and her vent appeared normal. After washing her legs and feet I noticed one small hard black spot on each foot that could be bumblefoot... but that doesn't seem to be enough to cause her current condition.

    Today is about the same. She doesn't stand tall -- she's kind of crouched and holds her head and neck low. I tried to examine her crop, but she's so bony I can't tell what I"m feeling. She's not laying, and hasn't for weeks due presumably to the molting. Though, the 2 other chickens (which look and behave absolutely healthy) haven't been laying either. I suspect that's just because we are in Michigan, so it's cold and days are short. They stopped for a while (not this long) last winter, too.

    I've read about every possible ailment in the forums but with with the rough several weeks she's had it's hard to pin anything down for certain. Is she just in shock from the hawk attack? Or is there something more systemic going (digestive issues?) Can anyone offer advice? Thank you so much!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Sorry your girl isn't well. [​IMG]

    It does sound like she is in shock. And she may have had something underlying that has become a problem from the shock stress added to molting stress.

    What do you feed? If they are molting, layer is not best because it is low in protein and high in calcium, the opposite of what they need. During molt, they need more protein because it helps to grow feathers which are 90% protein. And because they aren't laying, the added calcium could cause kidney issues long term, especially if they were predisposed to it for any reason.

    I use flock raiser which has 20% protein and 1% calcium and offer oyster shell free choice on the side.

    I would offer some boiled chopped egg.... easy to digest, good source of protein and other micro nutrients. Otherwise, canned tuna or mackerel, even cat food are all high in protein. It may not be the root of the problem.

    Have you checked for parasites like mites? Ever wormed? It would be good to take a fecal sample to vet for a float, They can check for worms and coccidiosis. Usually $15 for me.

    I don't think I caught what your weather has been like. But I would pursue the fecal sample first and foremost.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    X2 on what @EggSighted4Life said - the hen's thinness makes me suspect something may have been going on before the attack and that the trauma exacerbated the underlying condition (and further agree that parasites are strong candidates). While bumblefoot can become a systemic infection, if the bumbles are small and didn't seem to be causing problems prior to the hawk attack, it's probably not the primary cause of the symptoms you've described.

    Glad your girl survived the attack, and hope she feels better soon!
     
  4. gretchkin

    gretchkin New Egg

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    Jan 16, 2017
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Thank you both for the quick response! With regard to the question about what we feed. We had been using Prince Organic Layer Crumble until late fall when our feed store ran out (I guess the Prince mill had a fire?) and started stocking Natures Grown Organic instead. The latter looks more like raw milled grains, vs crumbled pellets of the other. They have very similar nutrient profiles (protein 17% Prince / 16% NG), except that it looks like the Prince had more fat (3.75% vs 1.5%).

    When the chickens started molting we began giving them extra black oil sunflower seeds for a protein rich treat. I thought the extra fat would help with the cold weather, too. The two healthy ones only lightly molted. Poor Shirley had big naked patches. They also regularly get kitchen scraps and cracked corn.

    The weather this winter has been strange. A lot wetter than usual, with swings between cold and snow and then melting. We try to keep up with the mud by putting out straw in their run, so they don't stand in muck. Could the wetter cold weather cause a worm/parasite issue? If Shirley has worms or parasites, are the other's at risk? Thank you again!
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    When I treat for worms, parasites, or cocci... everybody gets treated. Just remember the withdrawal time if you get any eggs.

    Our weather has been off the hook this winter too. Colder than usual for us.

    But I wouldn't unknowingly worm... it could cause more stress and make the problem worse.

    What does her poo look like?

    Avoid corn, it's a giant chicken candy bar, plenty of calories but low in nutrients. It is usually 8% protein and can diminish your 17% feed. So at least be VERY sparing with it. Your kitchen scraps will go a lot farther for your 3 girls than my 40. So you wanna make sure that isn't diminishing the protein too far as well.

    I would think about switching to something with out the added calcium until you girls start laying again, but keep OS available on the side. Since you do organic, maybe an unmedicated starter would work?

    Yes, I think wetter breeds more stuff... not sure about cold though.

    There is ALWAYS some worm/parasite load. It only becomes an issue if there is an over growth or if the immune system is compromised. Which your girl's definitely is.

    In the PNW... MUD! [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. gretchkin

    gretchkin New Egg

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    Jan 16, 2017
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Her poo seems mostly normal as far as I can tell. But they are small and maybe a bit watery. If I can find a vet to test for worms, how does one go about getting a stool sample from a chicken? Stick her in a box with out straw and wait for one to scrape up? What should I be feeding her right now? Is it bad keep offering the sunflower seeds and mealworms? She seems much more interested in those than her ration. Thank you!
     
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Chopped boiled egg is usually good. [​IMG]

    You can also just wet the regular ration, sometimes that increases interest.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, I don't think it's bad to offer her what she'll eat (definitely better than her not eating at all), but like @EggSighted4Life suggested, cooked egg is very nutritious and would be even better if she'll eat it.

    Re the stool sample: yep, collect what you can. I'd look for one that's ideally large and as "whole" as possible to provide a good, fresh sample. It hopefully won't take long. [​IMG]
     
  9. gretchkin

    gretchkin New Egg

    6
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    Jan 16, 2017
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Thank you again. Very much appreciate all the advice. It took me until this AM to a find a vet that will do a fecal test and now Shirley hasn't pooped all day. She's not eating or drinking either which is a bad sign and won't help poo production for the test. I fear it may be too late! She is listless. I've been able to give her a little water with a dropper and tried various combos of yogurt and feed mash but have hardly gotten anything down. She has only stood up a couple times and she was wobbly and appeared to use her wings for support (?!). Then she'd flop back down with wings in a strange position and I'd have to tuck her back in.

    I feel terrible that I haven't been able to help her and that she may be suffering. I'm also worried about whatever she has afflicting the other 2 hens...especially if Shirley passes without a diagnosis. (Both the other hens seem perfectly fine so far, thank goodness)

    Anyway, I'm not sure there is much more anyone can do to help, but thought I'd at least post an update. :(
     
  10. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    It really sounds to me like veterinary attention is the best route at this point - there could (as you've already surmised) be a number of causes of her distress. I hope she finally poops and you can get a definitive diagnosis to inform treatment. Hang in there! :hugs
     

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