Strange, scary symptoms in a hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Dawn S, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Dawn S

    Dawn S Out Of The Brooder

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    I am a new member from southern Michigan. I have three hens, two Black Sex Links and a Barred Rock. They are 3 1/2 years old and their egg production is going down, but they all have been pretty healthy up until now.

    It's late summer, but the weather has kind of calmed down and it is comfortable during the day and cool at night.

    One of the BSLs is clearly suddenly ill - fever (noticed yesterday), kind of lethargic (we can pretty easily catch her), her comb is its normal red color (but kind of limp - guessing from being dehydrated), she's clearly lighter than the other BSL now, she's sitting on the ground about half the time and then seemingly normal the rest of the time, but still eating and drinking. Her pooping was the weird part though. For the last two days, she'd be laying down when we would go out to take them out. She would then reluctantly get up, start walking out, and then poop out an extra large egg size solid poop (unusual for any of our chickens)... Then she would be up and around as if nothing had happened for a while and we thought she must've just been trying to pass the big poop and that was why she was laying down. This has been going on for the last two days. This morning when we took them out, we noticed she didn't get up when we took them out - just sat there, and she had clearly pooped some light green watery poop during the night or early morning. We put together a cardboard box to put her in while we tried to figure out what was going on because she must have an infection or some other thing and we wanted to prevent her from getting her sisters sick and prevent them from maybe picking on her. Once we put the box together she got up and wanted to be with her sisters and they were all upset that she wasn't there with them, so we put them together. Same behavior (on again/off again laying down/acting completely normal including eating and drinking). Her eyes are clear, no sneezing or breathing problems at all.

    I called my local Tractor Supply store where they have multiple employees who have chickens and can usually answer health questions. We gave them her symptoms and they suggested we call back when another employee came in because her problem seemed unusual. We called back later and talked to the woman who actually has a chicken farm. We told her about everything above as well as the mega poops changing into the watery green poops. We told her we were thinking it might be Coccidiosis. She asked if there was blood in the stool and we told her there wasn't any. She then told us that was unlikely without the blood in the stool. She suggested we check for mites and told us how to do it (no mites) and she suggested it might be she broke an egg inside of her and it is infected or that she might be egg bound. From her description, it sounded like the cracked egg inside of her might be a really bad situation... We felt from the outside of her, but didn't feel anything was amiss. We then looked up how to check to see if she was egg bound (yuck, but will try) and how to help her pass it (warm Epsom salt bath for 15 to 30 min followed by a blow dry and then leaving her with food (suggested high protein food) and water in the box we prepared for her earlier and watch for the egg to pass in a couple hours and also watch for food and water consumption and pooping.

    We are about to start with the checking for a bound egg.

    Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Dawn S
     
  2. Dawn S

    Dawn S Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2016
    UPDATE: There is no cracked egg or whole egg in the hen... I moved her into our dog's crate (positioned so she can see her sisters and they can see her) and gave her water and some scrambled eggs as well as her normal crumble.She ate over one egg's worth of scrambled egg and was nibbling on the crumble. Her crop (prior to eating the scrambled egg) was kind of watery (more so, but not tremendously more than the other BSL's crop at the same time). She has not laid down since putting her in the dog crate (yea!).

    Any ideas on what might be going on or something else to check on?

    TIA

    Dawn S
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    You may want to look up egg yolk peritonitis. Internal laying and EYP are very common in older hens and can affect walking, eating habits, and overall health.
     
  4. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sadly I agree with Eggcessive. I recently had one of my original chickens put down with the exact same symptoms. She was a 4 year old barred rocked who stopped laying in February. She seemed happy and healthy for several months but then started showing the confusing signs you describe. I suspected internal laying but at the end it became fairly evident that she had some sort of internal tumor growth below her vent. It seemed very uncomfortable and she slept in a dog cage on pillows for the last month of her life as she couldn't perch comfortably. When it became clear her bad times were outweighing her good times I did the last thing I could for her. I hope we are wrong but reproductive issues and tumors are pretty common in hens of that age-especially hatchery birds. Supportive care with extra protein and a close eye on food intake and poop may be your best option for now. Best of luck.
     
  5. Sue Gremlin

    Sue Gremlin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  6. Nineplus5

    Nineplus5 Out Of The Brooder

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    You do't notice any bloating in her abdomen? Compared to the other girls?
     
  7. Dawn S

    Dawn S Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2016
    I have another update.

    I picked up some Oxitetracycline HCl after talking to the chicken lady at Tractor Supply last night and put it in the water for all of them this morning (figuring out dosage was a b*tch!) Last night I picked up some yogurt also. When we put them up for the night I noticed that her fever was better and she had some normal poops so I was less concerned about her. All three of the chickens were stressed out when I separated them yesterday, so I decided to put them back together last night and today and they were all happy and she was looking better last night.

    However, this morning she was laying down again. ;- ( I checked her again this morning for internal egg (still no) and after seeing Eggsessive's post about egg yolk peritonitis, figured that might be it. However, there is still no internal bloating, so I was a little less sure, but the only real treatment for it is the antibiotic I started them on this morning, so I hoped she might be one of the 20% that survive when caught early and treated...

    I fed her the yogurt in her crumbles today (she loved it) and fed her the rest of the scrambled eggs I made for her yesterday. She is still eating and drinking well and after I put them all out together, she was active again. I let them cruise the garden together. They all had fun, but then I noticed two very disconcerting things. First, the other two chickens had dried diarrhea on their feathers although I didn't see any runny poops anywhere on the ground. That is not good. I cleaned them up and they are not showing any other signs of anything. Second, after the original sick chicky, Buttercup, started eating the yogurt (which she loved), she started flicking/quick shaking of her head and spewing fluid of some kind when she did that. She is not sneezing though. Could she be allergic to the yogurt or could this be another symptom of what ails her?

    Another possibility, just throwing it out there. They had been eating fallen apples from our trees that were attracting yellow jackets. I never gave them any rotten apples, but I wonder if one, the yellow jackets passed on a bacterial infection (every time my husband id stung by one he gets a bacterial infection), or two, if the chickens ate any maggots that were eating the remains of the apples in the litter that she/they (?) might have gotten some bacteria from that... Any ideas?

    Help!

    Thanks for any responses.
     
  8. annaBsChick

    annaBsChick Out Of The Brooder

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  9. Dawn S

    Dawn S Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks annaBsChick. My daughter looked at the symptom checker site and it came up with everything but the kitchen sink...

    We tried to separate the chickens last night, but she was freaking out about being alone (even though we had a comfortable perch for her in the dog cage) so we put her back with her two sisters to sleep. This morning she was laying down again, tucked under the dominant chicken's wing. She has plucked all of the feathers off her lower chest (maybe to help her cool down from her fever?). Th feather loss doesn't show when she is walking around. We picked her up and put her outside in the separate cage with her food and antibiotic water, hand fed her around 3/4 of a scrambled egg and dribbled yogurt into her crumbles that she quickly ate. She also drank her antibiotic laced water. Her wattles and comb are still droopy but they are more deep coral red than pink as she had for a while yesterday. She has been up and down so far today, kicked out most of the shavings in her cage, had normal poops, and my daughter is going to monitor and play with her in the yard... However, she still seems like she is losing weight.

    What could this be? By the way, her sisters seem totally normal now (no more loose poop).
     
  10. Dawn S

    Dawn S Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, our sick chicken has been kept separate from the other two chickens (in separate cages, but next to one another) to keep them from picking on her. She is laying down sometimes, up and around other times. She still preens herself and is eating really well (scrambled eggs, yogurt, her normal crumbles, and her crumbles with some warm water added to them, some fresh watermelon, and occasional water from her dish. She did not like the water with the added antibiotic so much that she flat refused to drink at all, so we went back to just plain water, but now she doesn't trust the water and is not drinking (which is why we went to putting water in her crumbles and feeding her watermelon. Her fever seems to have abated and her pooh is pretty much normal again, but she still seems to be losing weight and I think she is not long for this world.

    Thanks for the support, but it looks like her demise is going to go under the 'unknown' category unless someone else has any thoughts.

    Thanks.

    Dawn S
     

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