Sick hen :( Please help, new to raising chickens.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PineAcres, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. PineAcres

    PineAcres Just Hatched

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    I'm new to raising chickens so please forgive me for what might be some very basic questions. I have four hens that are a cross between a Rhode Island Red and White Rock. They are free ranged during the day and supplemented with layer's pellets. Last night they all looked normal and ran to the coop when I brought food. All of them ate normally. This morning when I opened it up to let them out for the day, one of the hens was laying on it's side, breathing somewhat heavy. I tried standing her up but she seems very weak. Her head is kind of twisted sideways and her legs are pulled up beneath her. All her feathers look normal and I don't readily see any mites or lice on her. However, a few weeks ago I saw what I thought were worms in the fecal matter of one of the hens (not sure which) on one occasion. I began treating all the hens with Rooster Booster about a week ago. Could this behavior be caused by worms? Is there something else that could be causing this problem? I feel so badly she's ill and that I lack the skills necessary to help her. Please advise if you can. Thank you!
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Those symptoms, to me, sound like the signs of a poisoned chicken. Could she have eaten anything spoiled, rotten, or poisonous while free-ranging? These are not the symptoms of a chicken with worms. I'd start giving her a molasses flush as soon as possible. Mix four tablespoons of molasses with 1 quart of water, and give this as the sole source of drinking water for no more than 24 hours. If she doesn't drink it on her own, try dipping her beak in or dripping some onto her beak with an eyedropper. The purpose of the molasses flush is to draw poisons out of her body as soon as possible.

    Though not immediately concerning, you should worm your chickens. A broad-spectrum dewormer, such as Safeguard (liquid goat dewormer) and Valbazen would be a good choice. I use the Worminator.(http://www.twincitypoultrysupplies.com/store/index.php main_page=product_info&products_id=584), which also kills almost all worms, except tapeworms.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Hens can drop dead at any age if something is defective. She might have fallen or gotten hurt. Some chickens will break their necks falling off a roost at night. With her neck twisted to one side, it sounds as if she has wry neck, which is a symptom of vitamin deficiency, head injury, and Maraks Disease, and other illnesses. Put her in a crate either in the coop or in the house to watch her closely. Try to get her to drink by dipping her beak in water, and wetting her feed or pellets will make her food more attractive. It's possible that she is poisoned, but there are too many things it could be. How old is she? Did she have any vaccines?
     
  4. PineAcres

    PineAcres Just Hatched

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    Thank you for your response. I guess it's possible she could have gotten into something poisonous but I'm not sure what... We have a large, wooded property with many plants and shrubs. I will start the molasses water right away. I'll have to try an eyedropper because she is definitely too weak to get there herself. Should I try to keep her separated from the others?

    The Rooster Booster I bought online was supposed to be a wormer + vitamins. I think roundworms was what I noticed. If you think Worminator would be more effective I will definitely try it. Can I begin using it now and just discontinue the other?

    Thanks again for your advice. I really appreciate the help.
     
  5. PineAcres

    PineAcres Just Hatched

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    Thank you Eggcessive. The woman I bought them from said they started laying last fall, so I think they're approximately 1 1/2 to 2 years old. I don't think they've had any vaccines. I have a large dog crate and will bring her into the house. I'm at work now but will enlist the help of my children and get her resting indoors and recieving liquids. So sad to see her like this. They're such wonderful, friendly, inquisitive pets.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I would not worm her right now or do the molasses flush because it may dehydrate her. If you think she got rat poison or something that is didfferent, but molasses will give her diarrhea. She needs fluid and elctrolytes now, and try dipping her beak into water. Worm her as soon as she is back to normal--she is too weak at the moment. Valbazen is a great wormer.Homemade electrolyte recipe: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/272142/need-help-fast-electrolyte-recipie
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    I agree with eggcessive, it sounds like your hen is too weak and not stable enough for worming. Your best chances of saving her are bringing her inside and trying to get her warm up and hydrated, but that can be hard to do if they aren't drinking on their own. Also, if she hasn't eaten for awhile she might have low blood sugar, so if she's alert enough, you could try to give her a little corn syrup.

    I gotta be honest, most of the time I find them on their sides and breathing heaving it means that the dying process has started... I hope that's not going on here, just thought you should know.

    I know it's expensive, but if you can take her to a vet, that would be best. Trips to the vet for chickens are not an option at my place, only my more expensive peafowl get that luxury, so I'll understand if it's not an option for you either.

    [​IMG]

    -Kathy
     
  8. PineAcres

    PineAcres Just Hatched

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    Thank you all for you kind and informative replies. I moved the hen into a dog crate and attempted to give her water. This morning she was able to drink a bit but she has progressively gotten worse and if I place her beak in the water, it just runs out of her mouth and seems to also come out through her nose. She appears gravely ill and only has one eye open. Her neck is contorted into a hideous position. When I try to straighten it to give her water it seems to upset her. I'm not sure what I should be doing now. Would it be more humane to euthanize her? Is there any chance she could survive? I'm also concerned for my other hens. In your opinion, does this sound like something contagious? As I held her and tried to comfort her, I did notice what I believe to be a mite on her neck. Can mites kill a chicken even though there was never an outward appearance of them? Sorry for all the questions. I didn't realize it would be so difficult to lose one of my hens but they have truly become my pets. :*(
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I'm so sorry that you may lose her. She probably won't make it much longer. Just keep her comfortable if you can. If she is in pain you may want to put her down. Mites can make a chicken very anemic, but I think she had something much more serious going on.
     

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