Sleepy, ruffled hen with possibly abnormal faeces - Cocci?

chooki3s

Hatching
Oct 29, 2020
6
1
5
Hello! New member here, so hopefully I'm posting correctly?! I've always been too shy to post or join the community, but I'm getting desperate. I've been lurking the forums for a long time now since I've lost another hen to similar signs, but I want to see advice specific to my case.

My usual, chatty, social hen suddenly acted weird - started to become a bit more inactive than usual.

She's a 3 year old, RIRxWL. It's been a few days now since she started showing behaviour that is abnormal to her.
She still eats and drinks just fine - her comb is large and vibrant red! She hasn't lost any weight, and from what I can tell, her body condition score is ideal. She was last wormed a couple of weeks ago. I've also taken her temperature - Nothing abnormal (41C).
But recently she's been inactive. Her tail's down and her feather sometimes ruffled. Her vent is a bit daggy and she sleeps standing up or would stay standing in one corner of the yard. Instead of standing, sometimes she'll sit either in her nesting box or at a spot in the yard. Her laying has definitely slowed down - I have been told it is normal for her breed to slow laying at 2-3 years of age - but I have seen her lay/"poop-out" soft/shelless eggs (2 occasions). And although I've said she's been eating and drinking just fine, I guess she is eating a bit less than usual today.

Here are some pictures of her faeces (hopefully this works!).

3.jpg
1.jpg

I took a picture of these ones a few hours after it was defecated. Are those blood spots I see? Should I assume Cocci, or could they also be ovarian cancer?

2.jpg

This one was taken only a few seconds after she defecated it. I don't see any blood spots here (floor's just dirty).

Here are some pictures of my girl. She's been standing at this spot for quite some time today.
5.jpg
4.jpg


I have a RIRxAustralorp, same hatch group, who is displaying no similar signs.

As mentioned, I've lost another hen (same breed and age as this sick one) earlier this year in May with similar signs, though she had "laid" more shelless eggs more frequently (and possibly some lash eggs?). They were apart of the same hatch group but I don't know if they had the same parents - Colleague thinks it might be a defect with the line? We took her to an exotic vet who suspected ovarian cancer and/or ascites, though they couldn't really tell unless they open her up, which all of us really didn't want to as it's a risky procedure (so I've been told). I can detail the treatment they did for her, but to summarise, she got drained, got better after a week of medication, got worse again, vet upped her dosage on our second check-up and she ended up passing the night after this visit. One other difference between these two is that the hen who had passed became very anaemic. Another side note that may or may not be helpful, her comb was large and bright red as well until she stayed overnight at the vet and had a procedure done on her. She came back home with a very pale looking comb.

Now that my other hen is showing similar symptoms, I am distraught, especially since she's the sweetest girl in my flock who is happy to cuddle up with you.
Up until recently, I've been treating her with calcium supplements, given directly orally, to treat her shelless eggs. I stopped as soon as I saw these other signs just in case. Beside's the vet's opinion, I also want to know what this community thinks.

Personally, I strongly suspect cocci, but before I start medicating her, I want to see what the community thinks. For now, I'll be doing a full coop clean out and I'll be isolating her into a hospital area, which I keep indoor.

[EDIT:] Another thing - What she has... comes and goes? I remember with my last hen, she would get super sick one week, and then alright the next. Sometimes she'd be alright for a month, and degrade the next for a few days. But the more this occurs, the longer amount of time she'll behave sickly (if that makes sense?). Seems to be a similar case with this one. I remember her acting weird a few weeks ago, but she went back to her usual self until a few days ago.
 
Last edited:

piminuse

Songster
Jul 17, 2020
449
1,967
161
Portland, OR
Cocci is a very communicable disease, so if your previous hen had it then the others would probably have displayed symptoms around the same time. Cocci is also (usually) a young bird's illness as your established flock should be quite used to the native soil of your run/coop.

This isn't to say your bird doesn't have cocci, just that it might be worthwhile to consider other things. When my birds had it they completely lost their appetite, became listless and spent their time huddled and hunched. I've attached some pics for reference.

IMG_20200721_094304.jpg
IMG_20200721_094236.jpg


You can probably treat all your flock for coccidiosis to play it safe without any issues. I apologize that I can't give you other ideas for what your poor bird might be sick with, but we happen to have really great, knowledgeable folks here who can chime in.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

chooki3s

Hatching
Oct 29, 2020
6
1
5
Cocci is a very communicable disease, so if your previous hen had it then the others would probably have displayed symptoms around the same time. Cocci is also (usually) a young bird's illness as your established flock should be quite used to the native soil of your run/coop.

This isn't to say your bird doesn't have cocci, just that it might be worthwhile to consider other things. When my birds had it they completely lost their appetite, became listless and spent their time huddled and hunched. I've attached some pics for reference.

View attachment 2392408 View attachment 2392409

You can probably treat all your flock for coccidiosis to play it safe without any issues. I apologize that I can't give you other ideas for what your poor bird might be sick with, but we happen to have really great, knowledgeable folks here who can chime in.

Good luck and keep us posted!
Thanks so much for your reply! At this stage, I'm just hoping that I'm being a worried mamma hen. Thanks so much for your info on cocci, though! The more I think about it, the less likely it seems to be cocci. It's just my wishful thinking since it's quite easy to treat, personally speaking.

Looking forward to other insights!
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
9,469
33,162
867
SE Missouri, USA
I'm sorry your bird is sick, but :frow hi and welcome to BYC! I'm going to tag @Eggcessive to get her opinion. Can you take all food and water away for the night and then check her crop in the morning before you offer her any food or water. Eggcessive will want to know if her crop is empty in the morning. Good luck with your girl!
 

chooki3s

Hatching
Oct 29, 2020
6
1
5
I'm sorry your bird is sick, but :frow hi and welcome to BYC! I'm going to tag @Eggcessive to get her opinion. Can you take all food and water away for the night and then check her crop in the morning before you offer her any food or water. Eggcessive will want to know if her crop is empty in the morning. Good luck with your girl!
Thank you for the welcome!
Yep, I can do that. It's still afternoon where I am, but I'll let you guys know.

Current state:
6.jpg
 

PDXJULES

Songster
Hello! New member here, so hopefully I'm posting correctly?! I've always been too shy to post or join the community, but I'm getting desperate. I've been lurking the forums for a long time now since I've lost another hen to similar signs, but I want to see advice specific to my case.

My usual, chatty, social hen suddenly acted weird - started to become a bit more inactive than usual.

She's a 3 year old, RIRxWL. It's been a few days now since she started showing behaviour that is abnormal to her.
She still eats and drinks just fine - her comb is large and vibrant red! She hasn't lost any weight, and from what I can tell, her body condition score is ideal. She was last wormed a couple of weeks ago. I've also taken her temperature - Nothing abnormal (41C).
But recently she's been inactive. Her tail's down and her feather sometimes ruffled. Her vent is a bit daggy and she sleeps standing up or would stay standing in one corner of the yard. Instead of standing, sometimes she'll sit either in her nesting box or at a spot in the yard. Her laying has definitely slowed down - I have been told it is normal for her breed to slow laying at 2-3 years of age - but I have seen her lay/"poop-out" soft/shelless eggs (2 occasions). And although I've said she's been eating and drinking just fine, I guess she is eating a bit less than usual today.

Here are some pictures of her faeces (hopefully this works!).

View attachment 2392378 View attachment 2392375
I took a picture of these ones a few hours after it was defecated. Are those blood spots I see? Should I assume Cocci, or could they also be ovarian cancer?

View attachment 2392376
This one was taken only a few seconds after she defecated it. I don't see any blood spots here (floor's just dirty).

Here are some pictures of my girl. She's been standing at this spot for quite some time today.
View attachment 2392383 View attachment 2392384

I have a RIRxAustralorp, same hatch group, who is displaying no similar signs.

As mentioned, I've lost another hen (same breed and age as this sick one) earlier this year in May with similar signs, though she had "laid" more shelless eggs more frequently (and possibly some lash eggs?). They were apart of the same hatch group but I don't know if they had the same parents - Colleague thinks it might be a defect with the line? We took her to an exotic vet who suspected ovarian cancer and/or ascites, though they couldn't really tell unless they open her up, which all of us really didn't want to as it's a risky procedure (so I've been told). I can detail the treatment they did for her, but to summarise, she got drained, got better after a week of medication, got worse again, vet upped her dosage on our second check-up and she ended up passing the night after this visit. One other difference between these two is that the hen who had passed became very anaemic. Another side note that may or may not be helpful, her comb was large and bright red as well until she stayed overnight at the vet and had a procedure done on her. She came back home with a very pale looking comb.

Now that my other hen is showing similar symptoms, I am distraught, especially since she's the sweetest girl in my flock who is happy to cuddle up with you.
Up until recently, I've been treating her with calcium supplements, given directly orally, to treat her shelless eggs. I stopped as soon as I saw these other signs just in case. Beside's the vet's opinion, I also want to know what this community thinks.

Personally, I strongly suspect cocci, but before I start medicating her, I want to see what the community thinks. For now, I'll be doing a full coop clean out and I'll be isolating her into a hospital area, which I keep indoor.

[EDIT:] Another thing - What she has... comes and goes? I remember with my last hen, she would get super sick one week, and then alright the next. Sometimes she'd be alright for a month, and degrade the next for a few days. But the more this occurs, the longer amount of time she'll behave sickly (if that makes sense?). Seems to be a similar case with this one. I remember her acting weird a few weeks ago, but she went back to her usual self until a few days ago.
Poo doesn't look bloody to me, just watery and narrow. Others would know better, but I also suspect she's just going thru an aging phase for her breed, which may involve watching for egg bound issues. Others reporting similar things have reported a major improvement with change of feed. Beautiful bird. Hope she perks up!
 

chooki3s

Hatching
Oct 29, 2020
6
1
5
Poo doesn't look bloody to me, just watery and narrow. Others would know better, but I also suspect she's just going thru an aging phase for her breed, which may involve watching for egg bound issues. Others reporting similar things have reported a major improvement with change of feed. Beautiful bird. Hope she perks up!
I've thought about EYP and egg binding. With my last one, the vet said it wasn't either of them. With my current case I don't feel anything egg-like down there, but I'll definitely keep a lookout for potential egg binding!
Thanks for the insight! She's currently on a layer pellet as her main source of diet, but after a brief research because of your comment, I saw it could be harmful?
I'll try changing her diet gradually (hopefully she'll survive), but further advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated!
 

micstrachan

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Apr 10, 2016
8,253
29,761
917
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Sorry about your girl. I do suspect a laying disorder. What do you feed her? I have a hen with seemingly poor genetics, as she sometimes has trouble making proper egg shells. Treating her with calcium for a few days took care of it, and I’d have to retreat about monthly. But then the calcium stopped working, and I was worried I was frying her organs. I did some research and learned a manganese deficiency can cause weak egg shells by interfering with calcium absorption, if I remember correctly. So I started providing occasional shredded raw zucchini just in case, snd, low and behold, her egg laying went back to normal. Of course, I don’t know whether the zucchini helped or whether it was a coincidence, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. If you are concerned about coccidiosis, can you get a fecal float done?
 

chooki3s

Hatching
Oct 29, 2020
6
1
5
Sorry about your girl. I do suspect a laying disorder. What do you feed her? I have a hen with seemingly poor genetics, as she sometimes has trouble making proper egg shells. Treating her with calcium for a few days took care of it, and I’d have to retreat about monthly. But then the calcium stopped working, and I was worried I was frying her organs. I did some research and learned a manganese deficiency can cause weak egg shells by interfering with calcium absorption, if I remember correctly. So I started providing occasional shredded raw zucchini just in case, snd, low and behold, her egg laying went back to normal. Of course, I don’t know whether the zucchini helped or whether it was a coincidence, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. If you are concerned about coccidiosis, can you get a fecal float done?
She's on layer pellets as her main source of feed. She does get a lot of grass as well since she free ranges most of the day. Besides the occasional treats and supplements, those are her main feed.
Unfortunately, I don't have the tools to perform one; If I had the equipment, I would've done one long ago... Definitely gonna invest in some in case of future issues.
But thanks, I'll try your zucchini advice! Wouldn't hurt to try and it's a good test for reactivity too.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
56,459
47,199
1,202
southern Ohio
You canntry to get your vet perform a fecal float on her droppins to look for evidence of both coccidiosis and worms. But if you cannot do that, I would go ahead and worm her epwith Valbazen, and also start some Corid in her water for 5-7 days. Valbazen dosage is 1/2 ml orally and repeated in 10 days. Corid dosage is 2 tsp per gallon of water. Corid dosage is Her main issue may be a reproductive problem, especially since she has laid soft eggs in her past. Is she still laying? If she has salpingitis or a reproductive infection, using an antibiotic early might be helpful.
 

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