Sick Hen Advice

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dewtattoo, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. dewtattoo

    dewtattoo In the Brooder

    79
    14
    49
    Feb 23, 2017
    Modesto, CA
    My Coop
    Hello fellow chicken charmers,

    Yesterday (3/5/18) I came home from work to find my friendlies hen laying on her side in the middle of the run. She is a 1-year-old Barred Rock. I picked her up and inspected her legs. They looked good, but she doesn't seem to want to move them. She doesn't kick as if she is unbalanced. She just plops down if I sit her down.

    I brought her in the house and first checked for a bound egg. I could not feel anything. Once my wife got home from work she put on a vinyl glove and lubed her finger with a little olive oil to check for a bound egg. She didn't feel anything either. Currently I am keeping her in the house in the box that I raised her and her 3 sisters in. I have put a container of food and water near enough to her so that she can get to it, yet still have room to sleep. As of this morning she is still alive and alert, but still not standing.

    First I'll address the most frequently asked questions.

    1. My coop and run are small so there is no way she could have fallen from a height to damage her legs or back.
    2. Her eyes are bright and clear, so it doesn't look like Merricks Disease.
    3. Her feathers are healthy looking and she doesn't seem to be missing any feathers from her back or belly at all.
    4. Her vent is clean with no discharge.
    5. Her eyes, ears, and beak are clean with no discharge.
    6. She is alert and responds when spoken to.
    7. Her Wattle is still bright red and healthy looking.
    8. I saw her pecking at the food I gave her, but I can't be sure she is eating it.
    9. I have not seen her drink any water yet .
    10. A few minutes after picking her up, she pooped as I was holding her, and it was pretty wet with a "wet sand" consistency and dark green in color.

    I work next door to a feed store, which is where I bought my hens last year. I'm going to swing by there after work to get advice and any meds that are recommended to me.

    I would appreciate any advice that any of you are willing to offer. This is the reason I love this forum.
    Presley.jpg

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Sorry your hen isn't well. :(

    I still suspect Marek's as a possibility, noting that just because the eyes seem fine could mean that not ALL symptoms show in ALL birds the same way.

    BUT... any possibility of getting into something poisonous? Like neighbors feeding things over the fence? Or feed getting moldy? Old compost piles around? What kind of bedding is in your run?

    This will show you the possibilities when you put in symptoms to help you narrow down ideas...
    http://www.poultrydvm.com/symptoms

    I would start supplementing with poultry nutri drench ... though I don't know if there are BETTER supplements... I know the save a chick packet kind are inferior to that product.

    I would offer some scrambled egg... just to see how the appetite is. But it is also easy to digest and contains a great source of vitamin and mineral nutrients.

    Drinking fluids is key... and MORE important than food. Dehydration is deadly fast.

    Please... what do you feed including treats and supplements? How is your weather been?

    Maybe you can also check you birds after dark with a flashlight to see if anything that doesn't live on the birds is coming out and feeding on them at night.

    I hope you find some answers and she recovers quickly! :fl

    She is a beauty. I don't think I've ever seen a rock with a floppy comb before today. :love
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

  4. dewtattoo

    dewtattoo In the Brooder

    79
    14
    49
    Feb 23, 2017
    Modesto, CA
    My Coop
    I'll try to answer all of you questions.

    The bedding I use on the coop floor is pet safe pine shavings that I buy from the feed store. I use straw in the nesting boxes.

    I feel secure that the neighbors are not tossing food over the fence into my chicken run. My hens don't have full access to the yard.

    I checked the feed for mold yesterday. Everything was dry and clean.

    I don't give any supplements, but I will probably start doing that after this situation. I feed my girls Layer Pellets and Crumble that I buy at Tractor Supply. For scratch I give them Manna Pro Chicken Mixed Grain Scratch, but I only give them a couple of handfuls tossed into the run daily.

    I'm in Central California, so the weather over the last week has been in the low 70's during the day, and upper 40's at night.

    As for night pests, we don't have a problem. I am deep in the suburbs and nothing has even tried to get into the coop over the last year that I have noticed, and I'm always checking their coop. Plus I have a German Shepherd and 3 Chihuahuas that patrol the yard. The Shepherd pretty much ignores the hens, and the Chihuahuas will sometimes pay attention to them, but more often ignore them also.

    Thanks for your advice. You have a point with the Merricks. I suppose some birds may show different symptoms than others. I'll keep her quarantined for now and keep a close eye on my remaining 3 birds.
     
  5. dewtattoo

    dewtattoo In the Brooder

    79
    14
    49
    Feb 23, 2017
    Modesto, CA
    My Coop
    When I got home from work tonight she is still alive. I picked her up to see if she would stand, but she won't. There was a normal looking egg beneath her, so now I know for sure she isn't egg bound. I'm afraid it may be Merricks.

    To make matters worse, I went to the feed store to get some antibiotics only to learn that over the counter antibiotics have now been outlawed in California, so I'm screwed there too. If chickens get sick here in California we are expected to take them to a vet apparently.
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Antibiotics won't treat Marek's... or anything else that's viral.

    I'm also in Ca. Can't get the (good) rat poison anymore either.

    Marek's isn't the scary death sentence for your whole flock as it might seem to be. Here is a link to the best resource I have seen regarding the subject...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/

    Have you seen the hen drink yet? Or supplemented any vitamins or minerals in case it was a deficiency somehow?

    Aside from not being egg bound, if that egg was pressing on the sciatic nerve and causing the paralysis it should have passed when the egg did. :hmm

    Have you considered what you will do going forward? If you will try to support and keep her or if you will cull? My bird with Marek's lived 3 weeks before I culled as it was no life for them or ME. But we all have different abilities and goals.

    Hope to see a miraculous recovery! :fl
     
  7. dewtattoo

    dewtattoo In the Brooder

    79
    14
    49
    Feb 23, 2017
    Modesto, CA
    My Coop
    As of this morning she is still in a box in our living room. She still looks healthy. Fully feathered, bright eyed, and alert. She doesn't even seem dizzy or tired.

    Some of the strength is returning to her legs. When I pick her up to check she is moving them now, and I gave her a little strength test yesterday. She has definitely gotten stronger ....but she still hasn't stood up.

    She is eating and drinking. She ate a handful of baby spinach leaves last night that my wife gave her.

    I haven't given her any supplements or vitamins yet. To be honest, I don't know what to buy. If you have advice I will for sure use it.

    My wife has grown very close to the hen, so I will be monitoring the birds strength closely to see if there is any improvement each day. But with that said, I have told my wife that if we don't see any improvement in the next week or so I will have to cull.

    By the way.... What's with the word "Cull"? Are we just saying "Kill" and using a deep southern/Cajun accent? LOL
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    So cull basically means eliminate from your flock. It can mean kill or dispatch. Or it some cases it could mean selling or giving the bird away. Good question. :)

    Poultry nutri drench is a good product to supplement when needed. It is meant for rapid absorption and has amino acids in addition to the vitamins and minerals. Otherwise a vitamin E and/or B complex (even made for humans) might be helpful.

    Some people have had success using a chicken sling to get weight off the legs and let the birds try to stretch and practice using them. Some have seen recovery but it usually takes working with the bird for several weeks to months of physical therapy type stuff. Here is pic for some ideas...
    upload_2018-4-10_7-29-7.jpeg [​IMG]
    It's so frustrating to have a bird that seems super great except the legs. I know. :barnie
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: