Silkie with lice has lost her balance

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by puffypoo, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. puffypoo

    puffypoo Crossing the Road

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    Our silkie hen has been acting strange as of a few weeks ago. She is around four or five years old and is at the bottom of the pecking order in our flock of five bantams. I felt her crop this evening and it did not seem very full, and I could tell she was very skinny as I could pinch her keel. Her most prominent issues, however, are that she was completely infested with what appears to be lice, and she has lost her balance and stumbles around. She does not like to stand up and instead falls over on her side. I found her unable to get up the ramp to her henhouse this evening. I will try and get a video later if needed. I also was able to spray her (more like drip her, the spray bottle was awful) with permethrin today. I tried feeding her layer pellets and some cracked corn and she seems to have an OK appetite, though when she eats it is slower than usual and it appears that she has a harder time eating it. She also will sometimes peck in the wrong place as though her vision is off. Also ETA, she will not sleep in the nest box but just outside it on the ground.

    Now, there are multiple puzzle pieces that may or may not be part of the same puzzle. The questions I have are, how should I treat my poor silkie (and possibly the other hens) of course. And also I would like to know is if I am dealing with one problem, a problem that has triggered another problem, or if the problems are completely unrelated.

    1. We noticed soon before we first noticed the lice or the chicken began stumbling that after dust bathing, the hen in question's eye was closed and appeared slightly sunken. Presuming that dirt was kicked into her eye, we squirted saline into her eye as instructed. Her eye began to open again but it is not all the way open. We may treat the eye again tomorrow.

    2. Another of my hens had a bubbly eye for less than a day, but it went away soon after. Other hens have shown other symptoms of a respiratory infection (some wheezing and dirty nares). We did see bubbly eyes and nasal discharge in another silkie hen who has since passed (she was not in our possession at that point so I cannot say exactly what killed her). We will buy some Tylan 50 in case our birds show symptoms again.

    3. We were babysitting our neighbor's chickens and unfortunately did not think about biosecurity when we discovered that their young BR hen was unwilling/unable to walk after a fox attack. We thought it was a bruise or possible Marek's attack. No other hens had shown symptoms. We brought her in close contact with the others and put her in a sling. She was able to recover to the point of stumbling/ walking with some balance. Unfortunately, she was killed by a weasel in the night in our neighbors' very unsecure henhouse before she had the chance to recover completely.

    4. We were concerned that our chickens would be cold over the winter, so the barn builders built them a henhouse inside our barn which was nearing the end of construction. I would have built it much differently than how it was designed. It was not very large and the only ventilation was the crack under the door. There was also no clear place to dust bathe. They were let outside to free range for an hour or so once a week when we were there (we have two houses and cannot be with our chooks 24/7). Up to a few weeks ago, the coop had a strong ammonia smell and was covered in dust. I was so enraged that it wasn't clean that I, with my weak upper body strength, mucked the entire thing out all by myself! Our chickens have been moved back into our well ventilated, large, dust-bathable summer coop as of last week, but I have seen no improvements in the chicken and am unsure if she even bathed at all.

    4. Our chickens all had scaly leg mites but are being treated with vaseline.

    5. We got our flock as adults from a farmer who, although was a nice person, kept his chickens in unsanitary conditions. I am sure that we will not buy chickens like his again. I think that had we gotten birds from somewhere else, they wouldn't have had so many problems. We are opting for baby chicks only from now on.

    6. One of our young cockerels had died from what was presumed to be marek's several years ago, but no other flockmates that we currently have have shown any symptoms or died from the disease,

    I know this sounds like our chickens are not well taken care of...To be honest, we aren't able to be with our chickens most of the week so it's a bit difficult to monitor their health constantly. Also, my parents are somewhat clueless as to what to do and how to treat and prevent these health issues in chickens, so I have to provide all the information for them. We will be sure to keep our chickens healthier in the future, and will be glad for any assistance you can offer. :) Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  2. puffypoo

    puffypoo Crossing the Road

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    anyone?
     
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  3. puffypoo

    puffypoo Crossing the Road

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    bumping
     
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  4. ButtonquailGirl14

    ButtonquailGirl14 Crossing the Road

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    Wow.... I honestly do not know how to help. it sound like an array of problems. D.E is good for lice, it sounds like you might have Marecks. that would be bad.. hmm... @casportpony @Farmer Connie @Wyorp Rock @Cyprus @somebody else???
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Can you take some fresh fecal samples to your vet for testing?
    Photos or a video of her are welcome.

    For the Silkie, it sounds like first priority is to take care of the lice and see that she is hydrated. Once she is drinking, then offer her some food. Layer pellets if fresh would be good, you can also see if you can entice her with some egg, tuna or meat. Check to see if her crop is emptying by morning.

    Permethrin is an effective treatment for external parasites. For lice, you need to repeat treatment again in 10days. You may need to treat up to 3times. Clean out the bedding and treat your housing as well. It would be a good idea to check all your other hens and treat them too.

    The problem with vision and what sounds like loss of balance could be a few things-dehydration, lack of eating properly/vitamin deficiency, feathers/fluff obstructing her view making her unsteady, parasites or disease.
    If she has a lot of fluff around the eyes, trim it back.

    Hopefully getting her hydrated, eating/drinking, her fluff trimmed if needed and getting rid of the parasites you will see improvement.
     
  6. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

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    I agree with tha above post.
    Your first priority is hydration and treating the lice.

    If she really truly will nit drink on her own then use a syringe to get water into her. Drip drops down the side of her beak.
    You can use the spray for treating lice.
    Personally, I use the dust. I repeat treatment every seven days just to be safe.

    Try giving her some scrambled eggs with oregano and a little bit of garlic powder. The oregano is a natural antibiotic and garlic helps to deter lice and mites.
     
  7. puffypoo

    puffypoo Crossing the Road

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    We will be gone at our other house for the week and have no idea what to do for her. Should we make a chicken sling and take her with us?
    She really struggles to balance and walk, and I don't think she can eat or drink from the feeders. She can't go up the henhouse ramp either. She just lies on her side with her legs sticking out, kind of like Marek's.

    We made her a smoothie slurry with her feed, water, yogurt, egg, kale and some garlic and oregano. We syringe fed it to her as well as the water, but the syringe was small and I don't think it's very effective.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    How long has she been like this?

    It doesn't sound like she is able to take care of herself and needs supportive care.

    If you were to take her with you, will you have time to tube/syringe feed her several times a day, keep her bottom cleaned up, etc.?

    What does your family think?
     
  9. puffypoo

    puffypoo Crossing the Road

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    My family could do it, but it would be a hassle and we were wondering if it would cause too much stress for the bird, with the transport and the stress of being away from the flock
     
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    You have a tough decision to make. Only you can make it.

    That said, I will give you my opinion.
    I do offer supportive care to my birds when they are not feeling well, but I also take everything into consideration-especially quality of life. My goal is to do what I think is best for the bird, even if it's heartbreaking to me.
    Your bird is 4-5yrs old, has lost weight, can't eat/drink well on her own, lays on her side most of the time/has trouble standing seeing and maneuvering, has had a mite infestation and this has been going on for several weeks with no signs of improvement and what seems to be a slow decline. IF she were mine, I would put her out of her misery.
    I'm very sorry:hugs

    And yes, I do feel the trip would be stressful.
     
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