Success (?) story on sick chicken & advice to share

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by micstrachan, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. micstrachan

    micstrachan Crowing Premium Member

    I hope this forum is an acceptable spot for this post. First, my disclaimer is that I am only one year into chicken keeping. I always wanted chickens, but did not realize they have unique personalities and voices. My girls make me very very happy. I spend as much time with them as I can, and three of my four like to sit in my lap before bed. My New Hanmpshire Red, Rusty, has always been my smallest chicken and picks at (instead of gulping) her food. Despite her daintiness, she used to be top hen. She ruled in a very gentle manner.
    A few weeks ago, there was a broken, shelless egg under the roost. I didn't think much; thought it was an oops. A couple days later, Rusty was acting just slightly off. She was just standing in the middle of the yard during free range time with an ever so slightly lowered and bobbing tail. I looked her right in the eye and asked if she was alright. Keep in mind, Rusty is NOT a lap chicken and does not appreciate being picked up. I leaned over and scoopeenher up and she did not protest one bit. I knew something was wrong. I researched her symptoms and determined she was probably egg bound. I inspected (and probed... poor girl) her vent, couldn't feel an egg, and gave her a warm bath. Awhile later, egg white was passing through her vent. I made her as comfortable as possible in the bathroom and hoped for the best. In the morning, she was standing in egg yolk and gobbled it up upon spotting it. Since she seemed to have perked up, I took her out to her sisters. However, she made it clear she wanted to come back in the house. Ev ntually she passed a soft shll, and I returned her to the flock without ithout incident. She had the same symptoms a few days later, so I took her to an avian vet, who said she seemed perfectly healthy and had a shelled egg inside, which she laid when we got home. It was tiny and pink. She laid a soft egg, then a thin shelled, slightly deformed pink egg, and I figured she was working things out. Then som soft shell and egg white showed up under the roost. I wasn't overly concerned, as she seemed healthy and happy. Big mistake. BIG. Huge. She had retained the yolk, and I was not aware chickens who lay soft eggs are susceptible to egg yolk peritonitis. She was missing some feathers on her back end, so I figured she was coming out of lay and going into a molt. Did I mention big mistake? She was wasting away under her feathers.
    On a Friday after work, Rusty started showing egg bound signs again. I brought her in and gave her a bath. She quickly declined over the weekend. I did some research and determined she might have egg yolk peritonitis. I thought if I could get her through the weekend, she could see a vet on Monday. I didn't think she'd make it through Sunday or Sunday night. She was alive Monday morning, so I got her an avian vet appointment for that morning.
    Rusty was diagnosed with egg yolk peritonitis and the vet pulled over a cup of egg yolk stained fluid from her abdomen. He said her best chance would be hospitalization for the day with IV fluids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and forced feeding. He was honest and expressed concern for how weak she was, and indicated I could try home treatment. Since she did her part to stay alive over the weekend, I opted for her best chance. The animal hospital is right around the cornerl from work, so I visited her throughout the day so she knew I didn't abandon her. I even got her to peck at a couple drips of water and eat a couple tiny mealworms. The vet noted slight improvement and tld me his prognosis was guarded. I took Rusty home and set her up in the bathroom. She was so very weak, she face planted trying to move and laid trapped on her side until I rescued her. My non-lap-chick Rusty even eventually managed to climb into my criss cross lap for comfort. She wouldn't eat or drink, and was too weak to fight force feeding meds. She did drink tiny amounts of vitamin water dripped on her beak. I ran home every day at lunch. After Rusty had a mild setback, my boss patted me on the arm and told me, "She wants you to let her die, Michelle. You know that, right?" I went home that day in a panic at lunch feeling terrible. Was I prolonging her discomfort? I was thrilled to find her alert and happy to see me. She gobbled an entire container of meal worms. Rusty wanted to live! I brought her mealworms each day and eventually progress to super works. I sprouted grains. I scrambled eggs. I gave her little bouts of outside time to stay familiar with the flock and bathe.
    I am happy to report tonight is Rusty's second night back in the coop with her flock. Next week she will have a hormone injection to shut fown her laying for 6-8 months. She is at risk for recurrance, and I don't want to take that risk at this time.
    Rusty and I were very lucky. But now I know it's worth taking whatever measures you have at your disposal to try to save a chicken you love. I hope this lengthy post inspires sone of you to go that extra mile.
    MyHappyGirls and MissNutmeg like this.

  2. MyHappyGirls

    MyHappyGirls Chirping

    Sep 11, 2016
    Soquel, Ca
    That is so close to what I have been experiencing with my Blue. She didn't begin laying along with her sister back in March, since the she was drained 2 times and the second time took, she didn't build any fluid back up thank goodness! She did great for about three weeks, but then she got sour crop, diarrhea, now she is getting over vent gleet. It's been a hard time for sure! She is finally starting to put some weight back on and now her sister Happy Feet just layed a thin shelled egg last night I guess I found it this morning... After an egg with poop on it, and her bum is messy... My daughter & I decided to try worming them so we will see how that goes. I really want them to be happy and healthy. All this time she has had symptoms of worms but the vet didn't find any back in March so I ruled it out. But what if that has been the problem all along and we could have fixed this months ago! How is your Rusty doing?
  3. micstrachan

    micstrachan Crowing Premium Member

    Thanks for asking. Rusty has been doing great! She has gained some weight and acts like a normal chicken (except she isn't laying due to hormones). She has been doing the submissive squat for a few days (sooo cute!), went into the laying box once this past weekend, and her tail is ever so slightly lowered, so I'm watching her closely in case her hormones have already worn off.
    I have my fingers crossed for your girl!
    MyHappyGirls likes this.

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