Sleepy/lethargic hen with clear liquid excretion...disease?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by homegirl, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. homegirl

    homegirl New Egg

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    I am new to posting...I have tried to read through pages of postings and am not sure if this has been answered. I have a hen, who has been healthy for 3 years. She now seems sleepy and lethargic and I noticed today her feces have become clear and runny like water. We have in total 11 hens(...had a rooster, but he got so mean, we invited him to Sunday dinner!). A light Brahma had seemed this way for a while...lethargic, stayed by herself, walked around like a 90 year old cowboy (no offense meant to 90 year old cowboys). She seems to be getting some energy back. I have laid off some of the "treats"...fruit peelings, kitchen scraps, etc, thinking maybe I have spoiled them into ill-health, but their egg-laying has dropped to almost none. I don't know if this is an isolated incident with the hen or is this something that could be going through the entire flock? I dust periodically for mites, have cleaned the coop, add cider vinegar to their water at every changing, they have free access to grit and oyster shell, they have access to a grassy run and I do feed a laying mash which has not changed in the two and a half years since we've had them. I do allow them to range in the back garden...I have potato plants and tomato plants growing there, but if those are toxic to them I figured they would know what they can and cannot eat and would leave them alone, which they seem to have done...they scratch at the base and eat bugs. Also, could NOT having a rooster with them discourage their egg laying? I have included all the info I can think of incase something might be of importance. What could be the problem and how can I help them? These will probably never be meat birds as we have them all named and the particular hen in question is my buddy...the friendliest of all of them...I would hate to lose her. Any takers?
     
  2. WooingWyandotte

    WooingWyandotte Overrun With Chickens

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    As far as I know whether a rooster is there or not they will lay. Sometimes hens...I know this sounds silly but sometimes they 'mourn' for roosters leaving their flock. I've heard a couple cases of hens doing that. Are the hens egg bound? Parasites? Is there discharge near the vent?
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  3. homegirl

    homegirl New Egg

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    If egg bound, they would all be egg bound as none are laying. I thought that might have been the case with the light Brahma but that has been two weeks ago and from what I have read, she would have been done for in 48 hours. The rooster met his demise last summer and they laid well through the winter at the expected half speed which is what they did the winter before. These hens gave us nearly 11 eggs per day last year, and since spring has come, have never increased past 4 per day and this last week has dropped to maybe one per day.
    There doesn't seem to be any unusual discharge from the vent, only the clear liquid trailings when she defecates. Her comb does seem to be a little paler than normal and droopy but doesn't seem to be any warmer than the neighboring hen that I could grab randomly. I am not experienced at this, obviously, as we obtained our hens almost three years ago as a new adventure. I read all that I could read and obtained three of the hens, full grown, from a family member experienced at this. I have spoken with her and she did not seem to know what the problem is as she has never had this happen to her girls. I am trying to give as much info out so as to make a better diagnosis. If there is an organic solution that is more preferable but at this point I am really concerned for the girls, especially my buddy, Petunia. I would upload a picture but cannot figure out how to do that...
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Have you ever wormed them? If not, I recommend that you worm them with valbazen (albendazole.) It is a liquid cattle/sheep wormer and kills all known worms that chickens get, including tapeworms.
     
  5. karimw

    karimw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not to say they should be dying of old age just yet, but 3 year old hens are not known to be great layers. If you've had high temps at all lately that may affect them as well. Most likely she got into something that upset her system, something moldy perhaps? Giving a dose of liquid vitamins certainly wouldn't hurt anything.
     
  6. Chicks4MyFamily

    Chicks4MyFamily Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am having the exact same problem with my almost 1yr old hen. I have no idea what is going on. I hope someone can shed some light on this
     
  7. homegirl

    homegirl New Egg

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    May 25, 2009
    Thank you! I have never wormed them....was told that adding cider vinegar to their water would assist that. The valbazen mentioned...can that be obtained without vet at the local suppliers (Tractor Supply and the like)? And will it come with directions? And, if we do get the occaisional egg, are they safe to eat?

    We also have had very hot temps a week or so ago...high 90's bearing in on 100 degrees here in S. Ohio...they had access to shade in the grass and sufficient water...I even took them ice for their outside dish to melt and get while it was cool (I figure I am spoiling my girls...)!
     
  8. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Quote:Apple cider vinegar is an acidifier which helps in calcium absorption and lower gut PH to help with bacterial issues. It is not a wormer. It is true that high temps can cause them to drink more water, then excrete waterlike diarrhea. They will slow down laying eggs as well. We have upper 90's, low 100's daily, not to mention the smoke from the wildfires...I give mine chilled watermelon every 3-5 days, they love it. I also hang a head of chilled cabbage in the pen to pick on.
    Valbazen can be purchased online from Jefferslivestock.com or you can call them. Dosage is given orally to each chicken...1/2cc for standard size chickens and 1/4cc for smaller chickens. Redose them again in 10 days, same dosage. Altogether, there is a 24 day withdrawal.
     
  9. homegirl

    homegirl New Egg

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    Thank you again!...one more question...when I use the valbazen, will I need to repeat at a later date with a different wormer? We use to own an AQHA quarter horse and we rotated wormers every 8 weeks. Is this necessary with our poultry ladies?

    I appreciate all the help from this forum...this is such a wonderful asset to those of us who are beginners! [​IMG]
     
  10. homegirl

    homegirl New Egg

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    Also, have you used diatomaceous earth? I understand from reading other materials that this also works. Any word on this?
     

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