sick hen... please help!

mmaddie's mom

9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
Elmwood, Illinois, USA
I have a hen with a problem that I haven't seen before... it started with loosing feathers on her head... she was at the end of nesting and I thought it was just the stress of sitting for so long. She hatched 7 babies and all was well, even though bald. Now her face has swollen up and is hard and crusty yellow... her one eye is half swollen shut. She continues to eat and take good care of her babies, but looks uncomfortable. I have a small flock of 15 adults and 13 new babies. No one else seems to be effected. I keep my birds as pets. Has anyone seen anything like this before and what can I do to help her? So far I am washing her face twice a day with an antiseptic, antimicrobial, bactericidal hospital soap and applying vaseline to soften and soothe and also smother any parasites that might be involved. Am open to ideas... she's a good bird. Thanks!
A picture would really help! Can you do that?

I don't know what's wrong with her, but you're doing well cleaning her. Give her some vitamins, and some extra protein. PolyViSol, baby liquid vitamins without iron you can get at the drugstore. Dribble a few drops along her beak to get her to take it. Give her some soft cooked egg for a nutritional boost.

It could be a respiratory problem, does she have a rattle in her breathing or runny nostrils? mycoplasma comes to mind. ??

It could very well be the beginnings of Wet Pox. That stuff has to be treated early. something to look for is the condition of her comb. does it look a little beaten up? smell bad?

Check her mouth and see if there is any obstruction, look for signs of Canker.

You can use benadryl topically, I believe.

ETA: I forgot to mention a bee sting, is it possible she's been stung by insects? if so, that's why I mention benadryl.
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Many good feed stores have a powdered antibiotic that can be mixed in with water (she would need to be isolated from the others, of course) and is recommended not to eat the eggs while on the antibiotic. Might help if it's bacterial..... Have dosed a few of my hens with injuries to prevent infection, doesn't seem to bother them and only one girl was too badly injured and would not have benefitted from any assistance.

I haven't wormed mine, (will do it this summer and start w/ minimal, as recommended) but there have been some good discussions on here about worming and parasites. If she's not feeling good, maybe wait on the worming, not sure about other parasite treatments.

Good luck!
will try and get a pic up but working long hours tonight and over the weeend... thanks for the input so far.
Update on hen:
I post this so it might be helpful to someone else in the future.
Yoco is much better but won't look much better until her head feathers come back in.

After a talk with a vet who was willing to talk to us over the phone, we determined that it was a bacterial infection.
Here is how we treated her... we continued to clean the affected skin with HIBICLENS ( an antiseptic, antimicrobial and bactericidal cleanser that is affective against a wide range of micro-organisms... found it at the pharmacy ). The vet also recomended an antibiotic called TYLAN... this was given as a shot (sub-q, under the skin of her chest) twice a day, .01 mlgms. Also alternated applying Aloe (for healing) and Vaseline (to soothe). Will continue the Tylan for at least 2 weeks maybe longer if she is still swollen around her eyes (this is still a problem). The swelling of her head and the extremely crusty/scabby skin is so much better.
The vet said that this can happen after an injury... but Yoco didn't have any apparent injury... possibly she could have gotten into a plant/weed that irritated her head and face?
The 7 babies are all doing fine!

Thanks, all, for responding!

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