Sick and/or dying hen! Please help!!

Squirlz2018

In the Brooder
Mar 8, 2018
13
15
37
I have a hen who started acting funny a couple of weeks ago. She moves much slower than the rest of the flock and stopped roosting at night. I keep finding her on the floor of the coop so every night I go scoop her up and put her with the rest. Most of the day she just stands by a wall or building kind of puffed up but not out grazing with the others. I brought her inside for a couple of days (in a big dog kennel) I did witness her eat, shes still very excited for tomatoes. I haven't seen her drink but after 2 weeks if she hasn't been drinking I don't think she'd still be alive. I see her eat when I go give everyone food. Her crop has food in it at night, but when I pick her up now she weighs next to nothing. She used to be a two handed bird but now I can scoop her easily with one hand. Her comb and waddles are not nice and red anymore. She has no discharge from eyes, nose, mouth. The couple of days she was in the house her poop looked normal (I think). She doesn't cluck much anymore either. I have 11 other chickens and 4 guineas and everyone else is happy and healthy! Red combs, zipping around the farm, etc.
Anyone have any ideas? I feel like I'm just slowly watching her starve to death but I know she eats! Just maybe not as much as before.
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,887
437
Finger Lakes, NY
Could be worms. Check her for lice/mites, look at her skin all around her vent area for crawlies. Is her crop empty in the morning? Is it squishy/sloshy? Check between her legs for any swelling. Is she laying eggs?
 

Squirlz2018

In the Brooder
Mar 8, 2018
13
15
37
I wondered that but we aren't very "hands on" with the flock so I didn't really know what I was doing. And then I figured if she had something like that at least one other bird in the flock would be sick. Right?? I will try to look again tonight. Its difficult because I'm gone from the house for 16+ hours. Its dark when I leave and dark when I get home so I really only see them on the weekends. But my 93 year old great grandma is on the property and lets them out of their coop in the morning/shuts it up at night. I haven't ever felt her crop in the morning because by the time I see them they have had time to eat. When I had her in the cage in the house I put food and water in it. But I can withhold food tomorrow night and see what I feel on Saturday. There is no swelling, when I pick her up there's just bones now. I can feel her breast bone all the way down. Her feathers still look decent, shes not naked or anything. I will try to get some pictures of her this weekend. I believe she used to lay eggs but with 12 birds I never know exactly who laid what and I know some of them build nests around our property. But at this point I think shes too skinny to produce any eggs. The two days she spent in the house she didn't lay anything. My entire egg count has gone down because its winter, but in the last couple of weeks its started to pick up again. She is an Australorp. I'm not sure if that breed is prone to anything? Shes my first and only of this breed. Shes also not super old maybe 2-3 years? The chickens she was purchased with are all still alive and kicking. I'm just worried she will eventually not be able to keep herself warm at night now that shes lost so much weight. Can I just treat her for worms/mites/whatever in case? Is there something I can feed her to help keep the weight on? Like Ensure for chickens? :idunno
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,887
437
Finger Lakes, NY
I can only tell you what I would do if she was mine. And I'm not there to see your girl so...... I cannot be positive on anything. I would take her back in the house. I would worm her with Ivermectin , should take care of mites too. Youll have to look up the dosage. I would withhold food/ water overnight and feel her crop in the morning. Id go ahead and worm all my chickens at the same time. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say your dealing with a crop problem. Either impacted or sour crop.
 

Squirlz2018

In the Brooder
Mar 8, 2018
13
15
37
How does her crop feel in early morning before she eats? With hens with the symptoms yours has, I usually suspect either a crop problem or more likely internal laying or ascites. I have lost several older hens recently with those.

I haven't tried to feel her crop in the morning. Ill do that on Saturday when I'm home. What is ascites? Can I treat that??
 

Squirlz2018

In the Brooder
Mar 8, 2018
13
15
37
I can only tell you what I would do if she was mine. And I'm not there to see your girl so...... I cannot be positive on anything. I would take her back in the house. I would worm her with Ivermectin , should take care of mites too. Youll have to look up the dosage. I would withhold food/ water overnight and feel her crop in the morning. Id go ahead and worm all my chickens at the same time. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say your dealing with a crop problem. Either impacted or sour crop.

If it won't hurt to treat them I may as well just do it. I've had chickens for 6-7 years and this is the first issue I've had. I assume I can get Ivermectin from my local feed store? Is that something that goes in their water? Or am I going to have to tackle 16 birds and shove it down their throats?
What am I feeling for in the morning if I take away her food? It should be empty right? I think I had a chicken that had sour crop before. I read a lot of forums on here about it and ended up sitting outside with her massaged her crop for hours. We pronounced her dead, put her in a box for burial, and a few hours later she came back from the dead and lived another year! Craziest thing I've ever seen.
Is there anything I can give her to help her gain weight?
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
7 Years
Apr 9, 2014
3,045
12,143
692
N. California
How old is your hen? Any older then 3 are at risk of a variety of disorders -- from internal laying to reproductive cancers. I lost one hen at 4 1/2 who just seemed to wither away -- losing energy and appetite -- although her feathers and demeanor were pretty good until the last day or so. When she died, she was just skin and bones. I wish I had done an autopsy, but I was a little sad and down about the whole thing -- and feeling a little guilty for not noticing how thin she had gotten earlier.

If you can see that she has mites or lice, I would treat those. I don't know much about internal parasites, but if the treatment is otherwise not hard on the chicken, that would be worth a try too. While you are looking at these issue and treating her, I would keep her isolated in a warm place. If she is thin and sick, she will be getting cold easily.

I wouldn't withhold food from her in the daytime at this point. Poor girl seems thin enough. If you can see that her crop is full at bedtime, remove the food for the night. If it is empty in the morning, that will tell you it's not her crop. If it is still full in the morning, that is another issue and there are ways of treating impacted or sour crop and many here can help you with that.
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,887
437
Finger Lakes, NY
Ive never dealt with ascites, so would have to do some research on that. You are feeling if her crop is empty in the morning, or full and hard, or full and squishy. You should be able to get the Ivermectin at the farm store. I don't like putting it in their water. Definitely, youll want to give it directly to the sick bird. At this point, anything is worth a shot.
 

Squirlz2018

In the Brooder
Mar 8, 2018
13
15
37
20180308_204943.jpg
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20180308_204943.jpg
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20180308_204943.jpg 20180308_205002.jpg 20180308_204947.jpg 20180308_204935.jpg 20180308_205015.jpg So its 9pm, I just got home scooped her up and rather than putting her on the roost I drug her back in the house. I feel like she had the most clucks shes had for me in the last couple of weeks but I was also trying to mess with her more. I also kind of think her comb/waddles are pinker than they were, but I may be hearing and seeing what I want to.
I felt her crop, certainly some stuff in there but not overstuffed. Took her food/water out and I'll feel her before work in the morning. I also tried to look for mites/worms...she allowed it for a minute but I don't know what I'm doing!! I assume I saw the vent? There was pink and no feathers. No worms or mites or anything I could see. She was kinda dusty all over so I'm hoping she took a little dirt bath recently. I also got a couple of pictures and threw her on a kitchen scale just to see. According to Wikipedia she should weigh 2.250–3.10 kg. My calculations have her current weight at 1.25 kg. So she's certainly MUCH less than she should be. She was a very heavy bird!
I'll report with crop findings in the morning. Thanks for everyones help!!
 

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