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Sick Chicken. None of the symptoms add up to anything obvious.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Maev, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Maev

    Maev Chirping

    Jan 22, 2012
    Yakima, WA
    Hey all.
    I have a hen who is not acting normal. I can not figure out what's wrong with her.

    1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)

    Welsummer hen. 16 months old. She is much skinnier than my other birds. She's always been small but now she's just skin and bones.
    2) What is the behavior, exactly.

    Her breathing is off. Almost laboring or heavy? She's breathing part of the time with her beak slightly open. She's not eating. Her crop is completely empty. I can't even find it. She's walking a little fun. Not staggering, but just a little gingerly. She's alert. She get's up and comes over when I go in the pen. Her eyes are clear. She's still "talking" to me. She's not mingling with the other hens. She's staying off on her own, lying down most of the time.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

    I noticed it Sunday, I think. I let them out for some free range time after I got home from work. They all took off for their favorite yard. I was working around the pen. She came back and was following me around. Which she usually doesn't do. That's when I noticed she was breathing funny and not walking normally.

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

    None of the other birds show any of the same symptoms. They are all acting normal and healthy.

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.


    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.

    I can't think of anything.

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

    I haven't seen her eat or drink on her own. Last night I mixed some layer pellets with water and made a mash with a little yogurt. She ate some of that but it almost seemed to make her worse.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    Her poop is really small. And a little more green than the rest of the girls. She's got a little "run" on her feathers below her vent which makes me think she's having some runny ones also.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    Sunday evening, I soaked her in warm water with epsom salts. I thought she might be egg bound. She looked a little better after that. The next day I kept an eye on her and she seemed ok. But then I noticed that her crop was staying really small, even right at bed time. Yesterday and today I couldn't even find her crop.

    Today I opened her beak and looked down her throat. Everything looks normal. No sores or gunkiness.

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?

    I'm pretty much on my own. I called the only vet that deals with small animals/birds, and he said he doesn't have any experience with chickens. He said maybe an abscess?

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    I can take a picture of her if you guys want. But she looks perfectly normal to me.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use

    I'm using pine shaving as my bedding. There's plenty of ventilation.

    Etc. Information:

    She was broody in June. It took me a long time to break her. She lost a bunch of weight during her broodiness. When she was still trying to be broody she developed some clear bubbles on her left eye. I quarantined her and sprayed around her eye with Vetricyn. It cleared up within three days and there's been no sign of it since.

    She has maybe laid two eggs since being broody, I'm not 100% certain they were hers though. Before she was broody she was laying 4-5 eggs a week.

    That's all the info I can think of.
    Any help will be greatly appreciate.

  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Sometimes it can be very hard, if not impossible to diagnose a chicken. I think with her history of eye bubbles and now labored breathing I might start with giving her some antibiotic's and see if it helps. Sometimes that's all you can do is try. She may have some kind of respiratory bug or some other kind of infection, or it may be something else completely.

    Since her egg laying is off and she's walking a bit oddly it could also be that she has some kind of reproductive tract/egg laying issue. Parasites are also a possibility, are they on a regular deworming schedule?

    If it were one of my birds I'd probably treat her with Tylan 50, see how she does and go from there. Without a diagnosis it's a shot in the dark but sometimes that's all you can do and it's better then nothing.
  3. Maev

    Maev Chirping

    Jan 22, 2012
    Yakima, WA
    Well, she died a little bit later that day. I couldn't bring myself to cut her open to try and figure out what the issue was. Everyone else is fine still.

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