Sick Hen...Please Help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by nychicks, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. nychicks

    nychicks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2007
    I have a araucauna hen who is about 1.5 years old. She has been a somewhat regular egg layer until she went broody in May and since then didn't begin laying again until two weeks ago.

    A few days ago we noticed she was acting strange. She was getting spooked more easily when we were around. Now for the past few days she is walking around somewhat hunched over with her tail down. She also has very runny stool that is a very bright yellow/green color.
    When she walks, she looks like it is very uncomfortable as she is lifting her feet carefully and then slowly placing them down.

    The strange thing is that she continues to run (as best she can) around the yard with the rest of the flock. She does not have the same energy and is not pecking as much as the others though and hasn't been dust bathing. She also eats all of the treats that I throw out to them and I offered them a bowl of milk which she also drank.

    She also seems a bit out of it. I had to show her where the milk was. Last night she also couldn't get up to the roosts. She was looking up like she wanted to fly up but she wasn't attempting to do it. Finally she climbed up the ladder in the coop and slept at the top of the ladder/ramp.

    She also seems to have a lot of feather loss under her wings. It looks like there are quills sticking out. But that is the only place where I see feather loss. I don't think the others are picking on her because she has always been one of the feisty one and even this morning was "growling" at one of the other hens.

    Could this be a molt? Do you think she has worms? Egg bound?

    anything would be appreciated!
  2. tim_TX

    tim_TX Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2008
    It sounds like colibacillosis, which is a bacterial infection and is also called coliform infection and E-coli infection. Antibiotics can help if started soon enough, but you should have her tested to identify the strain in order to make sure that the drug and dosage is appropriate. Unfortunately, results are often disappointing. You should isolate her from your other chickens and keep her warm.
  3. You know, I am just gonna HAVE TO take exception. colibacillosis ?

    There are SOOOO many diseases and toxins and natural processes that chickens endure to get a diagnosis over the web so specific.

    I DO NOT mean to flame the person or the diagnosis, I just take exception to it.

    OP, please go to the sticky that is at the top of your index in the emergencies threads. There you will see that the mods have put together a list of questions that you can answer so we on the forum may have a fighting chance at helping you.

    Please, do not take offense, either of you. We are only trying to help and there are so many times even those who have a great deal of experience with the dieseases of chickens get stumped.
  4. nychicks

    nychicks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2007
    She doesn't seem to have the symptoms of e coli in poulty that I have read. She is not exactly listless, just less active than usual. She is still out there running. She is more out of it than listless. She also does not have any of the labored breathing or coughing which seem to be symptoms of e coli infection.
    She also doesn't seem to be sick enough to tolerate my putting her in a box in the house. She doesn't want to be picked up (as usual) and is still free ranging out there.
    However, the funny walking and tail down are constant. I just threw some crackers out there and she went after them as usual so she is eating. I did notice that she is going up to the leftover piles of snow and eating it. I don't know if this is strange or if she has figured out it is like water????

    I find chickens to be so difficult to diagnose! I get all upset when they are sick or losing feathers and they have always turned out to be fine in a few days. So, I never know when I should start getting serious and isolating them and giving them antibiotics. I have a vet I could take her to, but honestly...I usually don't get a very definite answer and then have to pay the vet bill! Unfortunately, this is not the season when we are flush with cash!
  5. Quote:So well put !!
  6. nychicks

    nychicks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2007
    Here are the list of questions:

    1)araucana, 1.5 years old, not sure of weight
    2) Behavior is not as active as usual, yet still free ranging, eating, and drinking. Could not fly up(didn't even attempt to) on the roost last night. Although her wings do not seem injured. Missing a lot of feathers only under her wings, looks like there are quills sticking out under there. Bright yllow/green loose stool. Walking around sort of hunched over with her tail down. Walking very funny picking feet up high then slowly placing back down.
    3) No apparent bleeding injury or trauma
    4) I have no idea what could have caused the situation
    5) Bird eats and drinks as usual
    6) Poop is loose and a very bright green/yellow color
    7) No treatment has been administered other than a bowl of milk ( I have to get some live culture yogurt at the store)
    8 ) I would prefer to treat the bird myself with natural remedies, however, I have no problem giving medicine if necessary.
    9) I don't have a camera missing
    10) The housing is a full size shed/coop built for the chickens with pine shaving purchased from local feed store for bedding.

    Chickens always have a feeder full of layer pellets and get treats from me daily (fruit, veggies, bread, crackers, etc.)
  7. sammi

    sammi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    check the hen for fever...feel the comb and under the wings for heat..also moisture under the wings.

    this girl has an infection..possibly strept..
    could be she had an egg problem leading to infection..such as a soft shelled egg, for example.

    she should be separated to a warm safe place.
    check the to check in the morning before she eats..the crop should feel empty or flat.
    feel for any lumps or grainy the crop soft? hard? like a balloon?
    any odor?
    check the belly/vent area for any heat or swelling.
    check vent for drainage.
    check eyes for any wetness or swelling.
    listen for wheezing or breath sounds..

    what all do you feed the chickens?
    do they forage or free range?
    do they get wild bird seed?

    do you have any vitamins on hand, or antibiotics?(such as Penicillin..Pen-G procaine, Amoxicillin, or Tylan 50)
    do you have access to a vet?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  8. nychicks

    nychicks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2007
    Thanks for everyones help! I actually took her to the vet today because she was sitting in the corner of the coop when I got home while the others were out and about. She wouldn't eat and let us pick her up without a fight.
    We brought her in the house and then decided to take her to the vet. The vet found that she had some lice around her vent but didn't think that was the problem. However, he was concerned that she has so much feather loss (they are growing in again). Anyway...she is definitely sick and not feeling well (for whatever reason)and along with being stressed from having feathers growing back and probably being quite cold with the temps none of this was helping to make her feel any better. He gave us antibiotic pills and dusted her for us.
    Now we have to look forward to shoving a pill down her throat every day...he made it look so easy but I am sure it is going to be a production [​IMG]
    Anyway...she is now sleeping on a chair in the living room with us. She was in a box which she flew out of and then roamed around the house for a bit after eating and warming up. Hopefully a few days of antibiotic and being warm in the house will fix her up!
    She seemed a bit better already tonight....we will wait and see how she does.
    Again...thanks for everyones help!
  9. dinologano

    dinologano Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2009
    Salem, Oregon
    Would you mind telling me the name of the antibiotic pill that he gave you?

    I have a hen that's very lethargic. She will not eat or drink on her on. She has a loose green stool. I have given her some enfamil baby vitamins and tried to give her some yogurt, but that's the best I've been able to do. Just don't know what to do. Maybe antibiotic and yes I know that may not be the problem, but she won't eat or drink.

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