Sick Silky hen - not eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lorraine, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Lorraine

    Lorraine New Egg

    Jul 30, 2008
    Hi all!

    I have been lurking and reading posts for some time now, and have been learning a lot from everyone. I really enjoy the caring and humorous posts. Thank you! [​IMG]

    Ok, I'm having a problem with our 6 year-old silkie hen. She is not eating on her own and is pretty thin. We are syringe-feeding her baby food, baby parrot food, Polyvisol vitamins, and she is on Predisone. This has been going on for about a month. I realize that she's getting up there in years, and I am reasonable about her not making it, but I want to do everything I can to help her. Here's the problem in a quick rundown list of events.

    1. About a month ago, she stopped eating and not moving much. We removed her from the coop and brought her inside.
    2. Had several seizures.
    3. Found lice infestation and treated with Seven Dust.
    4. Took her to vet and was prescribed prednisone (Vet gave her initial injection of prednisone, and she ate vigorously when we got home, but has not eaten on her own since).
    5. Treated her for two days for cocci because I found blood in the poo of one of my other chickens. Not sure if I got enough Sulmet into her. This hen's poo has never had blood in it. The poo color ranges from pale yellow/green to brown. Depends on what foods we have given her.

    Can anyone tell me why she is not gaining weight? Or what we can do to help her? She is feisty and fights us when we syringe-feed her. She is not weak, although she has some bad days where she does not move much. We have been taking her outside in the grass, and she moves around and pecks and eats the grass. ??? I don't understand why she won't eat her food in the bowl, but can figure out how to eat grass. The vet thinks that there might either be a tumor, or a neuro problem, and that is why the pred is stopping the seizures. Could she have cocci? And if so, can I treat her with Sulmet while she's taking the prednisone?

    Thank you for any ideas that you can provide! She is our favorite hen.


  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Silkies are prone to neurological issues due to the incomplete closure of ths suture lines in the skull... in orther words, their skulls have a hole in the top where their little wee brains bulge through.

    An injury, peck or other incident can cause swelling of the brain and lead to seizures, difficulty walking, etc. The prednisone was prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling, which can help get brain swelling under control.

    I doubt cocci is the problem here, but I could be wrong. Severe cocci has the bloody stool generally, which you said you aren't seeing with her.

    I'm not sure what else to tell you here either - I'd definately keep force feeding her - maybe you need to increase the amounts?

    Have you tried offering her high-protein chick starter moistend with warm water to try to intice her??

    I'm sort of typing 'out loud' here... hopefully someone else can comment or have other suggestions!
  3. Lorraine

    Lorraine New Egg

    Jul 30, 2008
    Hi Arlee!

    Thanks for your reply.

    I have to tell you that this silkie hen has always been a little "off" in the head. She may have suffered a peck in the head at a young age. Before all of this happened, she would at times, look up into the sky and her head would start going back. I heard that this was called "star gazing" or something like that?

    We are force-feeding her to the point that her crop is full, or what I consider to be full just by feeling the crop of our other silkie. I work during the day and my daughter tries to get her to eat yogurt and other treats while I'm not home. It's much easier to feed her when there are two people. We have a system down pat.

    Anyway, I'm still baffled about her behavior outside. It's almost like after sitting in the grass for about 10 minutes, her brain has a "blip" and she realizes that she's a chicken and starts clucking around and digging and eating grass. It's all very strange.

    We have not tried the high-protein chick starter, but will certainly give it a shot! Thanks for the info!

    Lorraine [​IMG]

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