Sick chicken

SouthofEden

Chirping
Oct 3, 2017
69
90
97
Sebastian Florida
Has anyone experienced this. My barred rock, one of 7 chickens, 3 years old, just became weak and droopy. I thought she might be egg bound or something and I examined and that wasn't it. I separated her, gave her electrolytes with a dropper and she seemed to rebound slightly but still weak to the point where she just wants to sit all day in one spot. She wasn't eating much of her grain feed so I offered her some bread and she ate it ravenously. So for the last several days I've been forcing her to drink the electrolytes and hand feeding her bread. There has been no change in her. Any suggestions?
 

micstrachan

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Have you examined this girl? A few things come to mind. I would check for crop function first. Make sure it is empty in the morning. How does her poop look? Is she laying? What color is her comb? If she is listless, she needs fluids and nutrients asap. My go-to is baby bird formula. Alternatively, you can take her feed (crumble or pellets) and make it into a warm, wet mash. If she won’t take any, I would offer her some raw egg, which can give her fluid and nutrients quickly. How does her body language look?
 
Last edited:

Wyorp Rock

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Has anyone experienced this. My barred rock, one of 7 chickens, 3 years old, just became weak and droopy. I thought she might be egg bound or something and I examined and that wasn't it. I separated her, gave her electrolytes with a dropper and she seemed to rebound slightly but still weak to the point where she just wants to sit all day in one spot. She wasn't eating much of her grain feed so I offered her some bread and she ate it ravenously. So for the last several days I've been forcing her to drink the electrolytes and hand feeding her bread. There has been no change in her. Any suggestions?
Has she been laying eggs consistently? When was the last egg?
Photos of her and her poop?

What is grain feed?

At her age she may be suffering from a reproductive disorder. I would feel her abdomen for bloat or fluid, check her over for lice/mites and see that her crop is emptying overnight.

Encourage her to eat her normal nutritionally balanced poultry feed, you can make it into a wet mash. Add a bit of scrambled eggs to entice her. She may benefit from a direct dose of poultry vitamins a couple of times a week as well.

Consider getting a fecal float to see if worms are contributing to her decline.
 

SouthofEden

Chirping
Oct 3, 2017
69
90
97
Sebastian Florida
Have you examined this girl? A few things comr to mind. I would check for crop function first. Make sure it is empty in the morning. How does her poop look? Is she laying? What color is her comb? If she is listless, she needs fluids and nutrients asap. My go-to is baby bird formuka. Alternatively, you can taje her feed (crumble or pellets) and make it into a warm, wet mash. If she won’t take any, I would offer her some raw egg, which can give her fluid and nutrients quickly. How does her body language look?
I've been dropper feeding her Baby bird electrolytes. I will try the wet mash mixed with scrambled egg maybe? The poop is small, similar to a wild bird, rather than the normal big blobs they usually have. The crop seems normal but her abdomen is kind of enlarged. She is somewhat droopy but not excessively.
 

SouthofEden

Chirping
Oct 3, 2017
69
90
97
Sebastian Florida
Has she been laying eggs consistently? When was the last egg?
Photos of her and her poop?

What is grain feed?

At her age she may be suffering from a reproductive disorder. I would feel her abdomen for bloat or fluid, check her over for lice/mites and see that her crop is emptying overnight.

Encourage her to eat her normal nutritionally balanced poultry feed, you can make it into a wet mash. Add a bit of scrambled eggs to entice her. She may benefit from a direct dose of poultry vitamins a couple of times a week as well.

Consider getting a fecal float to see if worms are contributing to her decline.
So by grain, I mean layer mash. She is kind of bloated in her abdomen. The crop is normal as far as I can tell. The poops are small like a wild bird rather than large blobs. No lice. I am not sure about mites, I've been holding her a lot and I don't notice anything. What is a fecal float? She may have worms as she is about in the yard all day. I have 6 other girls that also roam but no one else is showing signs of illness. They have been out together in my fenced in yard for 3 years with no problems up to this point. The coop is large and cleaned regularly.
Is there an OTC dewormer I can buy?
I will try the scrambled eggs mixed with wet mash next.
Thanks for all your help and advice
 

micstrachan

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
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Apr 10, 2016
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The bloated abdomen is a huge clue. Do you know what her laying status is? Swollen abdomen usually means ascites, which can be caused by a number of different things. If her keel bone is pronounced, this could have been going on for some time, which might indicate a reproductive disorder. @azygous has seen swollen abdomen from a bacterial infection due to soggy compost exposure. I have had luck treating ascites with aspirin and Lily of the Desert Aloe Detox, but you’ll need to determine the underlying cause. Some people also drain their own birds when they get swollen.

Also baby electrolytes are good, but she needs calories. Let us know if she eats the mash and egg.

Is an avian vet an option?
 

azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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Did this come on suddenly? Or have you noticed a gradual tendency to lethargy? Sudden lethargy often indicates a bacterial infection, a worm load that has reached the tipping point (clogging the intestines so nothing moves through), or a stuck egg. Obviously, you need to examine her carefully, and consider her movements over the past few days to determine if she's been exposed to something contaminated.

There are two kinds of abdominal swelling. One is caused by liver disease and causes swelling between the legs and just in front of them. It's called ascites and is caused by fluid retention in the outer tissues of the abdomen.

The other kind of swelling is located behind the legs and under the vent. It's often caused by a reproductive infection or a blockage, usually by a stuck egg.

Tell us where the swelling is.

Also tell us when she laid the last egg and if she's had shell quality issues such as shell-less or thin-shell eggs.

Tell us if she likes to dig in soggy, smelly, moldy compost. She could have picked up a nasty bacteria.

Yes, Safeguard for goats is a worming med you can get over the counter to use for chickens. Fecal float is a test a vet can do on a poop sample to tell if worms are present. It's simple, quick, and cheap.
 

SouthofEden

Chirping
Oct 3, 2017
69
90
97
Sebastian Florida
The bloated abdomen is a huge clue. Do you know what her laying status is? Swollen abdomen usually means ascites, which can be caused by a number of different things. If her keel bone is pronounced, this could have been going on for some time, which might indicate a reproductive disorder. @azygous has seen swollen abdomen from a bacterial infection due to soggy compost exposure. I have had luck treating ascites with aspirin and Lily of the Desert Aloe Detox, but you’ll need to determine the underlying cause. Some people also drain their own birds when they get swollen.

Also baby electrolytes are good, but she needs calories. Let us know if she eats the mash and egg.

Is an avian vet an option?
She ate the mash and egg vigorously! I don't know if we have any avian vets in the area. I will check around. She is in good spirits but still no energy. I don't know how to look for the keel bone. We are in Florida and just exiting our wet season. Soggy compost is a possibility. How much Aspirin? and what is Lily of the Desert Aloe Detox? Thank you
 

SouthofEden

Chirping
Oct 3, 2017
69
90
97
Sebastian Florida
Did this come on suddenly? Or have you noticed a gradual tendency to lethargy? Sudden lethargy often indicates a bacterial infection, a worm load that has reached the tipping point (clogging the intestines so nothing moves through), or a stuck egg. Obviously, you need to examine her carefully, and consider her movements over the past few days to determine if she's been exposed to something contaminated.

There are two kinds of abdominal swelling. One is caused by liver disease and causes swelling between the legs and just in front of them. It's called ascites and is caused by fluid retention in the outer tissues of the abdomen.

The other kind of swelling is located behind the legs and under the vent. It's often caused by a reproductive infection or a blockage, usually by a stuck egg.

Tell us where the swelling is.

Also tell us when she laid the last egg and if she's had shell quality issues such as shell-less or thin-shell eggs.

Tell us if she likes to dig in soggy, smelly, moldy compost. She could have picked up a nasty bacteria.

Yes, Safeguard for goats is a worming med you can get over the counter to use for chickens. Fecal float is a test a vet can do on a poop sample to tell if worms are present. It's simple, quick, and cheap.
Ok the swelling is more between legs and not really either in front or behind. I put a latex glove on and put my finger in her vent and couldnt feel any hardness at all, so I don't think she has a stuck egg. This has been going on for almost 2 weeks now. I think she would have passed by now if she was egg bound, right? I don't know when the last time she laid was. Probably 2 weeks ago. Shells have been fine.
They all love to dig in soggy ground, although most of our ground is just sand. I do have a composty area and perhaps she got something in there. I am looking for a vet that will look at chickens in our area currently. Hard to find here. We do have a Tractor Supply that might have Safeguard. Should I try the dewormer in the event that she might have worms or would that do more harm than good if she doesn't have worms?
Thanks for all your help
 

micstrachan

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Apr 10, 2016
12,706
75,784
1,247
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
I gave half a low dose (81 mg, I think?) aspirin twice daily for just a couple days.
Lily of the Valley Aloe Detox is a liquid you can get from Amazon. It has aloe, milk thistle, dandelion and I forgot what else, but it seems to help. You can administer 4mL orally for a few days, but it can always be tricky administering liquids. I sometimes mix a capful into a warm mash as a flock treat for liver maintenance. :)

Not laying an egg for two weeks could be an issue. Did she molt this year? Do you know if she usually lays over winter?
 

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