Sick Hen - Missing Feathers on Neck and Butt, Diarrhea

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KS_chickens, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. KS_chickens

    KS_chickens Hatching

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    Aug 5, 2018
    Hi all,

    Hoping you can help me figure out what I have going on and a treatment.

    I have an almost 2 year old Golden Comet with some issues. Late this winter, early spring she starting missing feathers from the front of her neck. I wasn't sure if she was pulling them herself or one of the 3 other hens she lives with was (Barred Plymouth Rock, Austalorp, Rhode Island Red.) I didn't think it was mites or parasites because all the other chickens were fine. I made sure she had dust baths with diatomaceous earth and also tried some Blu-Kote. Didn't seem to be bothering her too much, but they haven't come back. I thought maybe they would grow back at next molt this fall.

    Then this spring she started getting a bare butt, looked caked with diarrhea. Her butt is missing all it's fluffy feathers, just has some of the larger ones. She's always been my best layer...and kind of skinny because of it. She does seem light but I'm not sure how different than before. I see her eating but think she has stopped laying. They are all let out every day to roam the yard for a bit...the rest of the time they are kept in a 8 ft by 14 ft run, their coop is in the corner. Sometimes when I pick her up it almost looks like she throws up water.

    I've tried giving her a "spa treatment." Epsom salt bath and then rubbed some Povidone iodine solution on her butt and neck. Doesn't seem to be helping. We are in Kansas, it's been a hot summer...but all the others seem fine.

    Please let me know what questions you have. In the pictures, I just rubbed the povidone on yesterday so that's why some of the feathers probably look stuck together. Any advice or recommendations appreciated.

    Thanks! Bare Butt.jpg Bare Neck.jpg Bare Butt.jpg
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Hi @KS_chickens :frow Welcome To BYC

    Do you know for sure if she is still laying or not?

    From what I can see, her bottom looks a bit full or swollen, would that be a reasonable assumption (if you compared her to the others). If she has stopped laying, I would lean toward her having a reproductive problem. Internal laying, Egg Yolk Peritonitis, Ascites, cancer, tumors and Salpingitis can all be common in laying hens.

    The throwing up water could be the way she is picked up and the crop is being pressed, which makes her expel water, but I would check the crop first thing in the morning before she eats/drinks to make sure it's emptying properly. (Crops should be full at night, empty/flat in the morning).

    The feather loss on the neck could be from her flock mates. Roosting birds often pick at one another. I would observe her just to make sure she is not scratching a lot. The loss could also be from scratching at the skin because of external parasites.
     
  3. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    I agree her abdomen looks full like she could have a laying disorder. How does it feel compared to your other hens? It could also be a digestive tract infection or ascites from something else (cancer, organ failure). Sorry to sound so bleak.
    What is her behavior like? How does her breast muscle feel?
    The neck looks like feather pecking to me. It could be from overcrowding, boredom, nutritional deficiency or they could be picking on her because they detect weakness/illness.
    Is an avian Vet an option?
     
  4. KS_chickens

    KS_chickens Hatching

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    Aug 5, 2018
    Thank you both so much for replying. I also thought her rear area looked a bit full/swollen. I'm going to isolate her to see if she is laying or not (I'm pretty sure she isn't...as she always had the darkest eggs and I haven't been seeing those). That also might help those neck feathers grow back in...maybe if her necks gets covered the others would stop (although this is low priority.)
    I read about feeding her some olive oil to try and "clean everything out". I know I probably can't do much for cancer/tumors/etc... but are there any other treatments you would recommend in case this is something treatable?
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    The feathers likely will not grow back in until she molts, I do see a couple of pin feather in the photos, but most look broken.

    If she still seems happy within herself, I would keep her with the flock. Separation causes stress. If you want to know if she is laying, you could put a small dab of Blu Kote or blue food coloring on the bottom "lip" of her vent. If she lays an egg it will have a blue streak on the shell.

    Olive oil is sometimes used to treat a slow, impacted crop. If her crop is not emptying overnight I would follow the steps in the following article https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/

    As for cleaning her out? I'm not sure about that, if she is eating/drinking/pooping and not having any troubles at this time, I would watch and wait. Getting a fecal float to check for worms is a good idea.

    I hate to be so vague, but I have yet to find anything that will prevent or cure internal laying/reproductive problems. I let mine be until they start to show symptoms, then I provide supportive care - seeing that they are drinking/eating, that they are pooping well and the crop is clearing overnight. Vitamins can sometimes give them a boost and some people administer antibiotics which may help for a short period of time depending on the cause of decline. Once mine refuse to eat and the crop won't clear, I usually put them down, but each time is a little different.
     

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