Sick chicken: lethargic, lying down, droopy comb, runny white stool (RIP)

Danosaur

In the Brooder
Jan 19, 2021
8
15
21
This afternoon I noticed my 11-month-old Buff Orpington was lethargic -- lying down in the run kind of hiding in a corner, no interest in the kitchen scraps, her comb was a little droopy, and she had some runny white poop stuck to her tail feathers (see pictures). She had no other external symptoms that I could see. My son said she was also not herself yesterday either when he went to get eggs, but that she had laid an egg either yesterday or the day before. Her breathing seemed to be ok and she was still drinking from the waterer occasionally.

Anyway, I brought her inside, checked her for a bound egg (not the problem -- but she did squirt out some runny poop during that process -- see pic). I started feeling for her crop. This being my first year with chickens I didn't really know what I was looking for, but I didn't feel anything (so I think her crop was empty?) After feeling for her crop, her breathing got faster and she seemed to lose alertness. Her breath did smell very fermented, which supposedly is a tell-tale sign of sour crop, so I thought I might try treating that. The Chicken Chick book said to give her an Epsom salt solution, which I tried to do with a little a syringe. I think I administered it too fast and it must've gone into her lungs (?) because then her breathing started to have a raspy gurgle to it. Within a few minutes she started flopping around and then stopped breathing entirely. 😢 RIP Scruffy

Anyway, what should I have done? (other than not give that Epsom salt solution!!) Any idea what her problem might have been? My other three hens look great and are acting normally. This is the second bird I've lost to some kind of sickness in one year (the other one was 6 months ago) and I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong!
 

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Chickenslol

Songster
Sep 26, 2020
566
1,236
211
idk man, no clue
Hard to say, could have been worms, they can cause lethargy, but sour crop is more likely the culprit. If the case was mild you would have done better separating her, and giving her fermented foods like greek yogurt, if it was serious you could have forced her to throw up. treating sour crop is a slow process. i think where you went wrong is how you gave her the water. chickens don't need a syringe to drink, you could have just given her the dosage in her water. if you see an issue like this again start with natural remedies, yogurt, garlic water, epsom salt water, and others of the sort.
 

Lemon-Drop

Chocolate Lover
Mar 5, 2021
5,160
16,139
616
Western Washington
My Coop
My Coop
This afternoon I noticed my 11-month-old Buff Orpington was lethargic -- lying down in the run kind of hiding in a corner, no interest in the kitchen scraps, her comb was a little droopy, and she had some runny white poop stuck to her tail feathers (see pictures). She had no other external symptoms that I could see. My son said she was also not herself yesterday either when he went to get eggs, but that she had laid an egg either yesterday or the day before. Her breathing seemed to be ok and she was still drinking from the waterer occasionally.

Anyway, I brought her inside, checked her for a bound egg (not the problem -- but she did squirt out some runny poop during that process -- see pic). I started feeling for her crop. This being my first year with chickens I didn't really know what I was looking for, but I didn't feel anything (so I think her crop was empty?) After feeling for her crop, her breathing got faster and she seemed to lose alertness. Her breath did smell very fermented, which supposedly is a tell-tale sign of sour crop, so I thought I might try treating that. The Chicken Chick book said to give her an Epsom salt solution, which I tried to do with a little a syringe. I think I administered it too fast and it must've gone into her lungs (?) because then her breathing started to have a raspy gurgle to it. Within a few minutes she started flopping around and then stopped breathing entirely. 😢 RIP Scruffy

Anyway, what should I have done? (other than not give that Epsom salt solution!!) Any idea what her problem might have been? My other three hens look great and are acting normally. This is the second bird I've lost to some kind of sickness in one year (the other one was 6 months ago) and I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong!
I don’t know what the cause was, but I am so sorry for your loss. I’m curious.. when she was flipping around (sorry if this is hard to talk about) was it like she was having a seizure, like was she jerking really hard? Because the same thing happened when my RIR passed recently... it was super sad and heartbreaking to watch. Anyway, wishing you peace and comfort ❤️ :hugs
 

Danosaur

In the Brooder
Jan 19, 2021
8
15
21
I don’t know what the cause was, but I am so sorry for your loss. I’m curious.. when she was flipping around (sorry if this is hard to talk about) was it like she was having a seizure, like was she jerking really hard? Because the same thing happened when my RIR passed recently... it was super sad and heartbreaking to watch. Anyway, wishing you peace and comfort ❤️ :hugs
It wasn't like a seizure...it was more her head was flopping from side to side as her neck went limp. I feel bad because I think that was my fault, but I also think she may not have survived anyway so I feel some relief that it was over fairly quickly for her.
 

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