Sick hen - unable to use her legs and floppy comb

VJK

Chirping
May 11, 2019
41
48
59
Minnesota
Looking for advice after vet was unable to find what could be going on. I have a 3 year old leghorn whose comb recently became limp and purple-ish on the edges. I've had these symptoms with other hens and have been able to turn them around using Nutri-drench and sometimes a high fat nutritional supplement. Another hen also has a limp comb but is acting normal otherwise, but this hen is failing fast.

She started isolating herself a week or so ago and not eating as much, wings hanging down to her sides and back appeared arched. I syringed food into her being she was becoming so thin, though she will eat a little fruit or cucumbers. She gradually lost the ability to move her legs and her feet began to curl in. The vet was unable to figure out what was going on with her and put her on antibiotics just in case it would help. So far no improvement. I built a support for her with a sling so she could sit up and rest more easily and access food and water placed in front of her. She is in a separate "hospital" pen in our coop. Fecal tests were negative though the vet said cocci doesn't always show up? Her poop is somewhat loose - but could be from the supplement which is high in fat and sugars (advised by the vet to get weight on her). She hasn't laid an egg in over 2 months, but only one or two of my six hens have been laying at all lately and only occasionally at that. She has moments where she pecks at her food and is alert but then gets tired again. If any of you might know what could be the problem, please let me know. I'd hate to lose her and am trying everything I know to do (which isn't much!). Thank you in advance.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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3 year old leghorn whose comb recently became limp and purple-ish on the edges.
not eating as much, wings hanging down to her sides and back appeared arched.
gradually lost the ability to move her legs and her feet began to curl in. The vet was unable to figure out what was going on with her and put her on antibiotics just in case it would help. So far no improvement.
hasn't laid an egg in over 2 months,
Can you post some photos of her and her poop?
What antibiotic did the vet give you?

Feel her abdomen for bloat or fluid. With the symptoms you describe she may have a reproductive issue like cancer, Peritonitis, Salpingitis, etc. Sadly, a lot of times there's not a lot you can do if one of these conditions is the cause of decline. Offering supportive care, sometimes can help them rally. Check to make sure her crop is emptying and do what you can to make her comfortable.
 

VJK

Chirping
May 11, 2019
41
48
59
Minnesota
Thank you for your response. I already cleaned her cage so no pics of poop (it wasn't completely watery and this morning's had the white top on it?). The pic I'm posting was from a couple of days ago when I had her on the barn counter getting ready to feed her. She is in a sling I made so she isn't laying down on the pen floor with legs sprawled out to the side. You can't see the other side of the comb- but it is darkened. Her stomach does feel squishy and full - and it seems I can't get her crop full enough with the food I'm syringing to tell if it's emptying! I lost another hen about 8 months ago and the vet thought cancer being they couldn't find anything else wrong with her. She's on Baytril. Makes me wonder how common is cancer or is something else going on?
20200810_074038.jpg
 
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Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
32,171
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Poor girl :(

Sadly, reproductive problems are common in laying hens, it's disheartening at times. I think you are doing what you can for her. It's good the vet was able to see her and rule out parasites and give you medication.

If you happen to lose her, consider sending the body to your state lab for more information.
Some of us do our own informal necropsy to see if we find anything obvious.

https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
 

VJK

Chirping
May 11, 2019
41
48
59
Minnesota
Poor girl :(

Sadly, reproductive problems are common in laying hens, it's disheartening at times. I think you are doing what you can for her. It's good the vet was able to see her and rule out parasites and give you medication.

If you happen to lose her, consider sending the body to your state lab for more information.
Some of us do our own informal necropsy to see if we find anything obvious.

https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
Thank you. I was thinking about having our vet perform a necropsy if it isn't too expensive - just to find out what's going on. With the others not laying much at all- makes me wonder if I'm not doing something right? They have a large clean coop, cleaned daily, and a 14x70 foot run outside (not free ranged) , fresh water, high quality food and daily treats kept to a minimum of mostly greens and mealworms. But to have 3 of these leghorns pass within 3 years is heartbreaking. I got them from someone who rescued them from a bad situation where they were dumped off when the original owners' plans fell through, but they seemed healthy at that time and was told they were a year old (3 years now)- so they're still young. First chickens I've raised.
 

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