sick hen! please help if you can!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by shellyhens, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. shellyhens

    shellyhens New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 26, 2014
    Hi All,

    I have been nursing a sick hen for about a week whom I suspected had/has a sour crop. She showed all the obvious symptoms and I've given her many of the remedies I've found on this site (including Monistat3). I actually think her crop has been getting healthier (or is cured? It's not mushy anymore and is a lot smaller.... but hasnt ever gone down completely). however, she continues to become weaker and weaker and has lost a lot of weight in the process.

    Ive made tomatos, eggs, yogurt and even some grain feed available to her most of the time b/c ive been so concerned about her weakness. if i put her outside for a minute to she wont forage at all but will plop down and close her eyes.

    this morning i noticed white mites or lice on her, especially around her eyes so i gave her an ash "dust" bath. im becoming so worried about her..... as if im just letting her die slowly. i have no idea how to get her to eat more... or if her crop needs more help... or anything. she has had diarrhea this whole time. id have to check again today to see if that's still an issue.

    any help at all would be SO APPRCIATED. I'm ofcourse, bonding so much with this chicken in the process.... giving her warm baths and all.

    Thank you so much,
    Michelle
     
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    23,605
    1,314
    396
    Jul 24, 2013
    First, [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    Now for your poor sick hen. It sounds as if you have her possible sour crop under control, and I don't think that would be weakening her this fast. How old is she? I would consider worming her if she is over 6 months of age, since worms can easily burden a bird's system.

    Also, it is essential that you get rid of the mites. Their bites make birds miserable, and the fact that they suck blood quickly can cause a bird to become weak and anemic. The wood ash may have killed them all, or it may not have. I would look closely beneath her feathers/next to the skin all over her body (near the vent, under the wing, beneath the neck feathers, etc.) for any more mites or lice. If she has any, I would recommend getting Sevin dust and dusting her with that--Sevin is a very effective parasite killer.

    Is her abdomen swollen at all, and has she been laying recently? If her abdomen is swollen, egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying could be the cause. Unfortunately, there are no real good cures for either of those ailments.

    If not related to egg production, some sort of bacterial infection could be the problem. That might explain the diarrhea, gradual weight loss, and weakness. If she did have an infection, an antibiotic (like Tylan50, Terramycin, etc.) would be the treatment.

    I'm sorry I can't give you a definite answer on what is wrong with your hen. However, I wish you luck in healing her!
     
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    57,231
    12,626
    751
    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Can you take her to a vet? If not, I would dust her with poultry dust or 5% Sevin powder and stop bathing her. I would also start tube feeding - fluids first, then fluids and baby bird food. Has she been de-wormed with Safeguard or Valbazen? Do you have any antibiotics? Have you checked the inside of her vent for a stuck egg?

    Tube feeding won't "cure" her, but it will keep her from dying of dehydration and starvation:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/805728/go-team-tube-feeding

    It's easy to do with the right supplies and I'm available by phone to walk you through it.

    -Kathy
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    57,231
    12,626
    751
    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    FYI, crop problems are almost always secondary to something between the crop and the vent, so that's what you need to figure out. Could be a bacterial infection *anywhere* in the abdominal cavity, cancer, many diseases, an obstruction or a yeast infection. Poop picture would be great, but I think you might have to post a few times more before you can add pictures, but don't quote me on that. [​IMG]

    -Kathy
     
  5. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    545
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    As Kathy said above, there are a lot of things that can contribute to a slow crop. Last year one of my hens had a mushy crop. Like you, I treated her myself for a while, and the crop was emptying better but it did not completely resolve her condition. So I finally took her to a vet, who did a swab of her crop that showed it was a bacterial infection. He gave her an antibiotic shot and showed me how to tube feed her and gave me the equipment to use at home. It turned out that tube feeding was not as hard to do as I thought, especially with the help of my husband. I was lucky that I had a vet nearby, and it turned out not to be as costly as I thought it would be. My hen was even a more cooperative patient than my cats are at the vet.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    57,231
    12,626
    751
    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Great post! One of the most common "mis-informations" on the web is that these crop problems are all from yeast.

    -Kathy
     
  7. shellyhens

    shellyhens New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 26, 2014
    Thank you all so much for responding so quickly. I received this hen about 6mths ago and she was already atleast 1.5 or 2yrs of age..... so I'm not sure about the worming and I could find out. I have a feeling she was not though.

    She has not layed an egg in atleast a week.... I have to check her bottom. I think when I was checking her vent for mites/lice I did notice that her "belly" area may have been a bit swollen. If I think it might be an obstructed egg situation.... not much I can do?

    If I think it's a bacterial problem, are those antibiotics available over the counter? I have a feeling finding a knowledgeable vet could be an issue, but i'll look into it.

    I'm willing to try feeding tube, but am a little intimidated. I will pick up supplies after work today, along with the Sevin and then go home to care for her. What is the suggestion for feeding material? Baby bird food?

    Disclosure: I think i'm a great hen/animal keeper but this is the first time i've ever kept chickens, so i'm learning everything as I go. All of these suggestions are invaluable to me. Thank you again.

    and PS: very weird and odd thing happened lastnight which could be totally irrelevant, but since you're bird folks I need to share:

    Yesterday morning I took her into my vegetable garden, in her cage, just to be outside for a little bit. I opened the door and she walked out a few steps, but kind of plopped down and didnt look too distressed otherwise. I ran inside my house for maybe a half hour, with her securely fenced in by gate door and her very close to her cage if she wanted to walk back in for shelter. When I walked out a while later she was missing. I was beside myself with guilt, assuming that a hawk came and grabbed her (though I heard nothing). I could not understand a way for her to have escaped, especially b/c she isnt walking very far right now. I mourned her and was shocked and all kinds of things. The day went on... in the evening I closed my other 5 chickens in their coop, went to sleep thinking of her and feeling awful, still, especially after our week together of trying to heal.

    Lastnight at 3am a chicken was making loud calling sounds. I thought something had gotten into their coop and I jumped out of bed to go check. What I found was THIS HEN that "disappeared' earlier was standing near my picnic table making the noise. I felt like I was hallucinating and promptly caged her again, brought her back inside the house.


    Nobody needs to respond to this end of my story --- im MUCH MORE CONCERNED with her current state of health. But I felt it too strange to not share. Thank you all again so much. I'll be home in a couple of hours to care for her with this new information.

    Michelle
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    57,231
    12,626
    751
    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    If it is a bacterial infection, something like Baytril is what I would use and you can get that online or from a vet, but not at the feedstore. *Any* vet can swab her throat and look at her poop under a scope to check for bacteria and/or yeast. Some will also do fecal floats in house, but most send them to a lab to check for internal parasites. When I take one to the vet it's $45 for the office visit and exam, $30 for the gram stain to check for bacteria and $25 for a fecal float.

    For tube feeding you'll want Kaytee Baby Bird Food (Petsmart or Petco) a size 14-18 french catheter (vet office, medical supply or maybe pharmacy) and a 35ml or 60ml catheter tip syringe (vet office, medical supply or Tractor Supply).

    Baytril:
    http://www.ladygouldianfinch.com/product_baytril.php

    You could also use a human antibiotic like Cipro or Augmentin.

    -Kathy
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    57,231
    12,626
    751
    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    I don't want to scare you, but search for ascites in poultry, egg yolk peritonitis, internal laying and oviduct cancer in poultry.

    -Kathy
     
  10. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    545
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Unless her belly is noticeably bigger than the other hens, the ascites in poultry, egg yolk peritonitis, internal laying and oviduct cancer in poultry are just things to look up and keep in mind even though they could potentially lead to a slow crop, especially if she was laying normally before the crop issues. It is typical for a hen to stop laying if she had a crop issue to the point where she is loosing weight; my hen stopped laying at least when she was going through it.

    I hope you can find the French catheter. I got mine at the vet office. Is your hen eating on her own much. If so keep giving her the scrambled eggs since that is so nutrient dense.

    That is strange what happended yesterday with her in the garden. I guess she was fine when you were there, but decided she wanted to hide when you left. I suppose where she hid will remain a mystery. I'm surprised she did not stay hiding until daylight. It sounds like you were both pretty alarmed at 3 AM.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by