Slowly losing hens. Anemia?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bamachick86, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. bamachick86

    bamachick86 In the Brooder

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    I lost one of my older hens a few weeks ago. We attributed it to old age—she just started slowing down, lost color in her comb, lost interest in food and then stopped roosting until she passed in the night. Well now I have another one showing similar signs, and I don’t think she’s as old as my other hen was (though we don’t know for sure, we got her from another family and guess she’s maybe 4 years).

    She started kind of hanging out on her own about a week or so ago but honestly didn’t look sick—we decided to keep an eye on her and watch for other signs. We’re in GA and have had this crazy cold snap, low 20s and teens at night and she’s taken a turn for the worse. I brought her into our garage where it’s warmer and now she’s refusing water and food, little to no reaction when I handle her and just looks half asleep. I’m afraid it’s too late for her, but I’m wondering if we could be dealing with a pest issue.

    We’ve had no signs of respiratory issues or anything obvious. I’ve not noticed anything weird about my chickens’ droppings, no bumblefoot or injuries, can’t find mites or anything, but the pale comb and lethargy has me wondering. I’ve got yet another hen (between 1-2 years) who’s now got a pale comb, but she had a rough molt.

    I guess my question is: would it be worth it to try and de-worm them? I’ve got a goat wormer (safe guard I think), but I don’t want to stress them as it’s already so brutal with this weather.

    Here is a pic of my Jemima—you can kind of see a dropping, it’s white and runny. Side note: I haven’t checked for egg binding, don’t want to stress her out and would rather leave her in peace at this point. Besides she hasn’t laid an egg in close to a year.
     

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  2. Samannemm

    Samannemm Chirping

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  3. Samannemm

    Samannemm Chirping

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  4. bamachick86

    bamachick86 In the Brooder

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    Oh man, that thread gives me some more things to think about that I hadn’t considered. Thank you
     
  5. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

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    Greetings Bamachick86,

    Your hen sounds critical. If you can't take her to a Vet for whatever reason, please be aware. Internet doctoring has a wide margin for error. But if you are interested, here are my thoughts.

    You didn't mention whether you checked the crop. Refusal to eat or drink, along with watery dropping, can be due to a crop issue.

    Check her crop:
    • Is it hard? If so, contents have not moved out, and are condensed in the crop. Administer a bit of oil and massage. I usually will also give Lactulose, orally, 1.5 mL, every 12 hours, to get things moving. You should be able to but some at PetSmart.
    • Is it filled, but soft, sour smelling? If so, treat for sour crop.

    Watery stool with white urates, can also be some kind of intestinal issue, enteritis etc. When I see unusual stools like this in my hens, I administer an herbal antibiotic. Most times it will clear up. You say she has been sick for over a week, so it may be too late for her. And yes, if there are rats or mice in their coop/feed, then it can be a pest issue too. Vermin do cause disease in chickens.

    If you would like my recipe for an herbal antibiotic just let me know. I also have a recipe for a good crop tonic, for sour crop.

    If you can get her feeling better and eating again, supportive care is extremely important: warmth, soft diet, water.

    I know you will do your best to help this poor girl.

    These are my thoughts I hope they are of some use.

    God Bless :)
     
    Cynful481 and Samannemm like this.
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    I would return her to the flock, in case she is becoming more ill due to separation. A dog crate with food and water in view of the others would be good. I am starting to lose a few of my chickens who are 6,5, and 4 years old to various problems, such as internal laying and ascites, and a couple with crop problems. I would check her crop as instructed, and look her over for mites and lice. Feel of her breast muscle for weight loss, and feel of her lower belly for any swelling. Give her 3 ml daily of Poultry Cell or NutriDrench, or put some electrolytes and vitamins into her water. Offer some chopped eggs, and her usual feed, which they sometimes will eat if it is wet with water. I just lost a hen today who appeared to have a large mass under her vent from internal laying.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  7. Brahma Chicken5000

    Brahma Chicken5000 Araucana Addict

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    Did you check your chickens for mites?
     
  8. bamachick86

    bamachick86 In the Brooder

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    I should’ve mentioned her crop feels empty, no foul smell coming from her mouth. From the little bit that I’ve handled her and looked her over I see no signs of pests (mites, etc.). Her vent is pretty dirty so I think I’ll go back to the garage and try to clean her up a bit. I’m hesitant to soak her or anything bc she really does look like she’s on her way out sadly. She won’t take water on her own so I’m going to try giving her some Nutridrench with a syringe.

    I feel horrible saying this but my husband and I have run ourselves to the ground in the past trying to save chickens—we had a major coccidia outbreak about a year and a half ago and we spent countless hours and hundreds of dollars at the vet and on meds. I just don’t know at what point you stop trying to intervene and just let nature take its course. I’ve shed so many tears for my chickens and with so many losses we’ve grown sort of numb to it all. Our chicken vet is over an hour away (and it’s the weekend) and to be honest it’s never done us much good. A quick $150-200 later and we still end up with dead chickens.
     
    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.
  9. bamachick86

    bamachick86 In the Brooder

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    I do appreciate everyone’s advice and input though. I’m not giving up on her yet, but I also don’t want to prolong her suffering. My vet also told me with chickens so much is a guessing game—most times you don’t know what’s wrong unless they’ve passed and you get a necropsy done. Even then it’s not always certain.
     
    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.
  10. bamachick86

    bamachick86 In the Brooder

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    Little bit of an update: I got a few syringe-fulls of Nutridrench in her which seemed to perk her up momentarily. But as soon as I set her back down she slumped down and closed her eyes, so really no change. I did, however, rinse her bum under warm water and felt all around—no bound egg and her vent looked perfectly normal. But honestly I was startled at how much she has wasted away. She’s an Australorp so her stature and fluffy feathers are deceiving, I had no idea how bony she actually has become underneath all her fluff.

    I’m starting to suspect a parasite of some sort or enteritis as another commenter mentioned. I think I’ll gather the small bit of droppings she’s passed and take them to my local dog vet—he’s done a fecal float test for me in the past.

    I just feel so bad for her and hate that with chickens they’re so good at hiding illness that by the time you know something is truly wrong it’s too late. Hopefully it’s something easily detected and I can help the rest of my flock.
     
    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.

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