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Sick Little Penny Girl :-( RIP 3-27-2006 - 1-4-2010

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Backyard Buddies, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    My girl, Penny, isn't feeling well. She's a 3 year, 9 month old RIR. She has a history of soft shelled eggs, but has been in a molt for a little while and hasn't been laying. She's normally a very solid bird, full of energy, curious, and sweet. Two days before Christmas, I noticed that she stayed on the bottom rung of the roost rather than joining her two coop mates on the top roost. When I felt her, I noticed she was quite thin and her crop was still full in the morning. Her backside was a tad messy.

    We brought her in the house on Christmas day and I gave her some bread crumbs mixed with olive oil, then massaged her crop. The crop went down just fine and she began to eat a little bit, but not with her usual gusto. She won't eat her pellets, but will eat a little bit of her food if it's mashed up and mixed with yogurt. She's also eaten some blueberries, scrambled egg, a few crickets, and a bit of a pancake. Other than the crickets, it has to be soft or she won't touch it. She will drink water. I've been giving her avian vitamins that a Vet prescribed to her when she had a mild case of bumblefoot a year and a half ago.

    When she eats, there's a bit of grumbly noises, almost as if her tummy is growling.

    Since she isn't eating much, she's not passing much in the way of stools. Other than that they don't smell as bad as normal chicken poop, they look fairly normal, albeit small.

    It appears to me that her abdomen is a bit swollen and I *think* I might feel a bit of a mass toward her back left side. I put her in a warm bath this morning, in case it was a case of egg binding. She can move the mass around, but it didn't appear that she was trying to lay it and none of my girls have disturbed the nest box since I completely cleaned the coop out a few weeks back. Her comb and wattles are smaller than when she's laying and not nearly as red. However, she's not completely pale, either.

    She doesn't move around much and is content to sit in her box and look out the window. Every once in a while, she'll venture out and walk to the back door to go out and eat some grass with the other girls. When it's time to come back in, she's happy to sit in her box and look outside again. Since she's been in the house, it appears that she's put on a little bit of weight, though she's still quite thin.

    Any thoughts on what's going on? With her history of soft eggs, I realize that internal laying could be a possibility. How can I differentiate between internal laying and egg binding?
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    The problem with soft shells would be separate to any eventual "internal laying" (I will come back to that in a moment)
    >Thin egg shells are most often correlated to a nutritional problem (sometimes the bird has something else going on, it can even be a virus, whereby their ability to uitilize the nutrients in their feed is affected > this is called malabsorption) > the nutrients concerned are calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D3 > these not only have to be in sufficient quantity but also in the correct ratio to each other. Have you been offering oystershell free choice/ If not please do so. For this particular bird I suggest you order Aviacharge 2000 (available online from McMurry hatcheries) as this is a complete nutrient/vitammin supplement (also approved for organic certified) all in the correct ratios to each other, formulated as a daily supplement. Keep your girl inside in a warm temp stable environment > in this state any type of temp stress (cold/hot/temp swings) will simply exacerbate everything. You can crush a TUM and give that to her (emergency replacement for the calcium gluconate she would get from a vet). Offer her free choice live culture yogurt .

    As to internal layer here is basic info on that:
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/205807.htm&word=impacted,oviduct
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  3. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Thanks Diana.

    My girls always have oyster shell available in their run but I haven't had any in the house for Penny, so I'll get her some as soon as she wakes up, as well as offer her some crushed Tums. Does it matter whether it's flavored?

    The soft eggs have been going on since some time in 2008 (I keep a calendar but would have to pull that one out to know for sure). In this year, she laid some soft eggs for a few days in January, then normal eggs through late March when they became large and misshapen with thin shells, then eventually soft in the box or off the roost. She ceased laying in mid June while the other two were laying every other day. None of the girls has laid since late October. I do have some pictures of her odd eggs from back then if you care to see them.

    I do have some AviaCharge and offered that one day in her yogurt. I'll give her more today.

    I'm not excited about their food but it's the only thing available to me locally. The protein is only 16% so I occasionally give a higher protein grower food as a snack when I bring them in from free ranging, but they don't get that every day.

    So, if I was to feel for an egg inside, where exactly would it be? I've been trying to find an online source to show me but haven't had any luck.
     
  4. usschicago1

    usschicago1 Suburban Cochins

    Aug 11, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    Hope Everything Turns Out Well [​IMG]
     
  5. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Thanks usschicago1. She's hanging in OK today. She went outside with the other girls for a little bit. When she looked a little tired after a while, we brought her back in but she kept getting out of her box (I found her polishing off the cat's food) and wandering over to the kitchen door so we've let her back outside again.

    I thought I'd post some pictures:

    Yesterday in her box:

    [​IMG]


    A poop she did outside this afternoon (she's been eating blueberries, so keep that in mind):

    [​IMG]


    A photo of one of her misshapen eggs, dated 8-14-2008. The other egg was laid by her coopmate Ruthie.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Update: Penny is still with us. She's a bit more perky today and rarely stays in her box. She's still not eating much of what I offer her: yogurt, yogurt mixed with feed and AviaCharge, grapes (she's eating those), bread crumbs soaked in olive oil, etc. She will nibble on grass outside.

    She will, however, devour the cat's food if I've forgotten to pick it up, which I know isn't the best for her due to the sodium. It is a very high quality cat food, however. Because my cat is allergic to grains, we feed her a grain-free 36% protein food with chicken, turkey, egg, alfalfa, acai berry, and various vegetables and fruit. Sea salt is one of the ingredients. Because the cat is also a senior with fewer teeth, we wet her food so that it's very soft, which I think is also appealing to Penny. The food is Before Grain, Chicken, dry:
    http://www.beforegrain.com/

    She's still quite thin but I think may have put on a little bit of weight due to the cat food. So, do I let her eat the cat food, even though it's not the best thing for her or do I let her tough it out?
     
  7. usschicago1

    usschicago1 Suburban Cochins

    Aug 11, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    Ive read that catfood is pretty good for chickens once in awhile because it has nutriets your birds could be missing.
    I would look at some of speckledhens threads on her experience with her birds Ivy and .....(blanking on name) who were either internal layers or something similiar. But I think those threads could help you out the most. They show what she did to help and how it turned out.
    -mark
     
  8. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Quote:Rosemary? Is that the one you're forgetting? I hope I'm remembering correctly. [​IMG]
    Yes, I remember Speckled's troubles with internal layers. With one of the girls (Ivy?) the hen recovered for a bit, right? I think it was due to an antibiotic of some sort. I missed the end of the story, though, so I'll have to go back and read how it all turned out in the end.

    I found another food that Penny will eat, not that I'm willing to give it to her on a regular basis. We had salmon for dinner and so did she. [​IMG] I saved her some leftovers for tomorrow.

    ETA: Penny has been pooping a lot more and it *seems* that she's also less swollen. Maybe I'm imagining it, though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Ivy, a BR hen, has almost died twice. Slightly different symptoms each time, but both were reproductive issues. The second time, her abdomen was distended and there was a Buff Orp also, same symptoms. Treated them each with 3 days of penicillin injections, an almost double the usual dose. Ivy and Ginger are both back to normal. Ivy is laying again, three eggs a week (she is 4 yrs old). The first time, she and a RIR had symptoms of internal laying at the same time. Rosemary died. That's when we decided to dose Ivy with the Pen-G, as a last resort. Darned if she didn't eventually recover. The problem is that most of the common hatchery stock is prone to this stuff and she may relapse again.
     
  10. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Yes, I remember your story about this. That was a wild ride, wasn't it? If I remember correctly, you had some other family issues going on all at the same time as well. I'm glad to hear that Ivy and Ginger are doing OK.

    So, do you think this is a route I should try as well? She's so thin that there isn't much breast there to inject. I've never given an injection, so I wouldn't know where to begin.

    Any thoughts on Penny's symptoms? I'm thinking that her self choice foods are leaning toward a greater proportion of protein in her diet.
     

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