sick chicken "expert" opinion needed at this point....

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lilmama, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. lilmama

    lilmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    Hello:

    To make a long story short- I have a small flock of hens. In the past month, one has died (we had her put down -by a vet who did it for free- because she was so sick.) One got very ill with all the same symptoms, we really thought she would die, but she somehow pulled thru and made a full recovery. Now another is very ill.


    She is unmoving in a box with a blanket on her to keep her warm. We have given her a little water with a dropper which she kept down. Last night I believe she was "kicked" off the roost by the others and when we found her this morning, she was in a pile below the roost. I think she was kicked off because I saw some younger chickens push her off once and am suspecting they did it again.

    Ok. So here's what you need to know. They are not laying (winter time). The sick one is 8 months old. We had a feces sample which showed no bacteria. We cleaned the coop out seriously weeks before this one even got sick so there is no chance of mold, etc. She looks otherwise healthy and fits all the perimeters of a healthy chicken. She was eating and free ranging yesterday though she has had low energy for a few days.

    Symptom of this "mystery sickness" is simply lethargy that gets worse and worse. We can not find one other symptom and we have done everything in our power to try.

    Could she just be tired from being kicked off the roost? I know it's more than that- but I think she could have recovered from whatever it was if she hadn't been made to sleep in the cold last night. My only guess at this point is that it's something they are eating in the yard. But I have no idea what it could be. We don't have any of the poisonous plants listed on this site. It's driving us crazy that we can't figure out what is going on.

    My husband is soaking some quick-gro so we can try and feed her some from a dropper.....

    Thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  2. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    The one that was euthanized - what sort of symptoms did she have?
     
  3. lilmama

    lilmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    just updated my post with symptoms. Sorry. lethargy is the only symptom.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    For clarity... ALL THREE (the one who died, the one who recovered, and the current sick one) all had exactly the same symptoms???? Pretty much just lethargy???? No odd droppings? And I doubt getting kicked off the roost caused anything; more likely they sensed her weakened state and moved up the pecking order - booted her off her spot, and she was too tired to attempt to fly back up...
     
  5. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    I would keep the weak one inside, and continue to give her water as you've done, but I'd probably add electrolytes, and give her chopped boiled egg / plain yogurt / whatever she will eat, but high protein for energy. If she passes, you need to have her necropsied - by a diagnostic lab, not your regular vet.

    I don't know what it IS, but it doesn't sound like a coincidence...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    I agree with Clover Leaf. Too many problems cause lethargy. Also check the area they free range in carefully. Be sure they are getting only clean water--not drinking from puddles or eating food that is suspect there. You may wish to find out how to get a necropsy now in case she passes so you are prepared if the worst occurs.
     
  7. lilmama

    lilmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes- all same symptoms. I know it sounds weird, but its not a coincidence and the only symptom is lethargy. The one who survived, she looked dead on her roost. We put her in the nesting box with a heat lamp on her. 4 hours later she was running around the yard. She wasn't fully recovered for another few days- but she did make a full recovery.

    We just mixed some water with quick gro and fed it to her. Please tell me how much food is safe to put down her and how often. She seems to be swallowing fine. Is that a good sign? I will try the other ideas for food that were offered here next time we feed her. She is nice and warm in her little box, on a table in the sun- it is a cool day here so we thought the sun would be nice for her.

    Thanks. More thoughts appreciated. And yes, we will be getting an autopsy, or necropsy..? if she passes. Our vet has told us to call him and he will tell us how to proceed with sending her body.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  8. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    Hug your vet! [​IMG] It's hard to find a vet that will take the time for chickens...even if he doesn't know EVERYTHING about them, he's trying! [​IMG] I'd bring her into the house, to make sure she stays nice and warm too...

    Considering the size a hen's crop can expand to, you really can't overdo it, just make sure she's emptying properly. If you're doing small amounts, it should be pretty frequently. But again, make sure she's emptying, because the gut will slow way down on a traumatized animal, whether illness or injury caused.
     
  9. lilmama

    lilmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you cloverleaf for all your help. [​IMG]

    can't really bring her inside, dogs, kids. I hope she will be more comfortable outside. It's high 60's today and sunny and she is wrapped all up in a towel and box in a safe spot.

    I hope she is emptying. I'll look and see. Will she do it in her box? Or try to stand up? I would be really amazed if she bounced back from this. Her eyes are closed. I just got some plain yogurt down her. We have to go into town to run errands and I hope she will be hanging on when we get home in a few hours.
     
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    I had a hen go down like this 2 years ago. She was fine and then she ws unbelievably lethargic. I rushed her to the vet same day she crashed (no easy task - it was a Labor Day and I begged till one opened the office!). Blood work showed results consistent with infection and/or inflammation of unknown origin. Meds rallied her almost as quickly as she went down. I am pretty certain she would have died without intervention. We all never knew what hit her, just what fixed her (vet actually gave her the meds before the reuslts were back because she was in such bad shape so quickly). So many things can cause lethargy so I have no idea what's wrong with your birds but it may be a case like Ellie's where meds are needed to save the day. I'm so sorry this is happening and really sad for your hen that died [​IMG]
    JJ
     

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