sick hen won't walk, eat, maggots

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dfclimber, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. dfclimber

    dfclimber In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2010
    North of Boston,MA
    2 year old rir (does not lay and never has) from our small backyard flock of 5.
    we introduced 2 new birds into the main coop recently . The 2 birds were first isolated for 2 months then lived next to main coop/free ranged together for another 2 months.

    when we added the 2 new birds this rir stayed in the coop guarding/ preventing the new birds from entering from an enclosed run. After a weekend away we found her to be week and not eating or drinking. She was isolated in a dog crate and did not even move. She became covered in her own poop and now has maggots all over but no open wounds or skin breaks on thorough examination. I have hosed them off but flies are landing all over her.

    she does not have bumble foot
    her crop was hard and the size of a golf ball but this emptied with upward massage.
    I do not think it's mareks. She can move wings,legs but is just weak

    I have forced fed water and vitamins using eye dropper (it does go down) but this is difficult and I can not keep doing it

    she does not SEEM to be in pain

    any and all ideas including justification for putting down/culling
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Sounds pretty bad. First thing I would do is separate her so she can heal by herself. Next I would get her wormed. She may be suffering from too many worms and they are sucking the life out of her. Start with some Wazine, a liquid put in the water for one day. Make sure she drinks it and if you have to, use a syringe to administer it to her several times a day. Then 2 weeks from this Wazine treatment, she will need the wormer Safeguard to rid her of the rest of the worms. (don't use the safeguard first, as if she is loaded with worms the dead and dying worms can overload her system and kill her). She probably has mites. So dust her a couple times a week with Sevin powder, you can get that at any garden store. Check for leg scaley mites on the legs. If her scales look really open and raised, then she may have scaley mites. You can use mineral oil to coat the legs to suffocate the mites. Also vaseline will work if you massage it in well under the scales. Do this for 5 days.

    Give her vitamins in the water, make sure she is eating and try to nurse her back to health. Some probiotics or even yogurt might help boost her immune system. If she get too bad, you might consider putting her down. She may not look like she is in pain, but it does sound like she is in bad shape.
  3. Echobabe

    Echobabe Songster

    Oct 30, 2007
    I'm going to suggest an alternative course here--wazine is very limited in the type of worms it treats, and so is of little use here. Not only that, this bird needs immediate help and is not going to drink worm medicine on her own!

    If she's going to live, first off, she needs a bath. To get ALL the maggots off of her. Inspect her for any wounds. If there are maggots coming in and out of a wound, they must be picked out (with tweezers). Maggots will go into the body and come back out for air. Check her vent-she may have maggots using that as an entry point. There is a product called SWAT for horses at the feed store. It can be applied to cleaned, dressed wounds to keep the maggots off and smother any you miss when they come up for air.

    2nd. Is her abdomen swollen? Is it normal feeling? Is there any squishy areas or hard areas? Do a quick feel on 1 or 2 other hens if you need to quickly get familiar with how a normal bird feels. My main concern is that since she has never laid eggs, she may be laying them internally. After a few months of this a hen often develops sepsis (which would draw the maggots). If this is the case, the infection would eventually get into her bloodstream and cause the symptoms you are describing. In most cases of internal laying, you can feel a rock hard area in the abdomen that doesn't belong (multiple egg shells all jammed together). If this is the problem your only course is to put her down.

    3rd. If you suspect worms, take a fecal sample to a vet who will look at it under microscope, today. A good vet can do this, make care recommendations, and follow up by sending the sample to a lab for a definitive answer.

    If your hen has worms (and she might), you would be better served by treating her either topically with Eprinex (full dose for her size on the back of the neck) or dosing her by mouth with Panacur goat wormer (fenbendazole) from TSC/feed store. Look for posts by DAWG (or send him a PM) about the exact dosage by mouth. And yes, if she's infested die off could overwhelm her body, so the Panacur treatment should only be a HALF dose the first time, followed by full dose 7-10 days later.

    So, clean her up first, see if she'll take some water and inspect her abdomen for egg peritonitis. Apply the SWAT, or bring her into the house to keep the flies away (if they keep landing and laying eggs, they will eventually chew a way into her). She is a very sick hen--she needs either a lot further care from you or to be culled. A trip to a competent vet could help you isolate exactly what is going on, and whether to continue the fight.
  4. chkn

    chkn Songster

    Jun 27, 2010
    Give her a good bath. There must be some place where the worms are reproducing. Get some SWAT at the pet supply and apply to wherever the worms seem to be congregating. Apply it liberally. It will kill the maggot infestation.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

  5. dfclimber

    dfclimber In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2010
    North of Boston,MA
    thank you all for the replies. There were thousands of immature maggots on her skin from neck to vemt. As the day went on hundreds of green blow flies were landing all over her and for the first time seemed very uncofortable. I put her down for her own comfort. Broomstick method. It was quick.

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