spider bite? egg bound?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by patienceprudencecharity, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Hello all,

    One of my hens was not feeling well tonight, and I'm wondering if any of you have thoughts. She was fine this morning (and laid her egg today), but around 7 pm she seemed depressed or hurt and was not interested in the scratch grains I brought out. She was lying in a little dust bowl the ladies dug, and eventually did get up to come over the edge of the run to see me, but just laid down by the fence then. All three birds are always busy and rush over to greet me, so it was obvious that something was really wrong. They are Golden Buff pullets, fully vaccinated, and have been laying an egg each day for about 7-8 weeks.

    I was thinking she might be egg bound, because one of my birds has laid more than an egg a day a couple of times, but it does seem unlikely. She typically lays in the morning around 9 am. But as I watched her tonight she seemed at times to be holding her bottom up a bit, although her tail is tucked. (she looks sort of Cochin-like, if you can picture that). The only explanation I could think of was internal discomfort. (This bird has always tucked her tail/held it relaxed or even at the wry angle when eating with the others).

    She did get up to walk into our little two-story hen house, which I lock up at night, but she did not go up the ramp with the others and when I checked about an hour ago was still lying down on the shavings in the lower level. I'm wondering if she will be alive tomorrow, she is so clearly not well.

    I decided not to traumatize her by bringing her in tonight, will see how she is in the morning. One thing I thought of tonight, as I've been worrying about her, is that I did see a spider in the nest box when I pulled the eggs out tonight. It just occurred to me that she might have been bitten/might not want to go upstairs for that reason. I was talking with a spider expert at the university where I work last week about brown recluse spiders, so I looked them up a little while ago, and although I will have to find the spider to check I think it may very well be one/the photos I found online looked right.

    I know brown recluse bites are really dangerous for mammals, but don't know how chickens would react the a bite. Since chickens eat spiders, I am assuming they may not be as effected, but I wonder. Has anyone ever heard of a hen being bitten by a brown recluse? i'm thinking it must happen a lot in the Midwest, since we are so overrun by them.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Oh, by the way this hen has always been a little smaller than the others. Her beak was significantly overtrimmed at the hatchery, and I've always attributed her smaller size to life being just a harder for her because of that. She was the last to mature and begin laying eggs of the three birds. She had trouble with shell quality a couple of times over the past month-- I have to mix a lot of oyster shell into the feed for her to get enough. The other hens have always had good shell quality.
  2. Jolyn

    Jolyn Songster

    Apr 5, 2008
    Northern California
    I don't have any answers for you but i do hope you find her back to normal in the morning!!
  3. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

    Jan 1, 2008
    Shell quality and other symptoms can be a sign of a disease process. I think it may be infectiouse bronchytis. I dont know for sure though. Try the links at the top and look for symptom chart and shell quality. I know this disease causes a great drop in egg production.

    Its the last sticky at the top of this page and the bottom link for diagnosis
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  4. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Not much description in your post to go on besides lethargic hen. You need to pick her up and examine her- vent, belly, crop, keel, bottoms of feet, open her beak ect. Confine her away from other birds to see if/how much she is eating and the character of her poop. If you post more info, someone may be able to suggest something helpful for her/you.

    As for spider bites- brown recluse bites can cause local reactions- large tissue slough or whole body reactions. Or not much at all- depends on how much venom injected and the size/sensitivity of the host. I doubt there is much out there on chicken bites besides anecdotal evidence. Supposedly they are not very aggressive spiders and will bite when squished up against you- they don't leap up and attack. If she has a spider bite bad enough to make her act lethargic- you will likely be able to find it by parting her feathers and looking. But soft tissue trauma/predator damage may look very similar- bruised/tender/maybe with a central necrotic (dead/slough) zone.

    If one eats a spider- it is quite different that getting bitten by one. Chickens eat insects all the time. I would guess that a chicken could make a good meal out of brown recluses or black widows. The GI tract is not a hospitable place for most biologicals. Don't really know though- I think I might look that one up...

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