Sudden sick chicken

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Katieswan, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Katieswan

    Katieswan Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    Hey all, I have been searching the internet to find answers but am having a hard time figuring much out. I have a small flock of 7 hens that I have had since November. This is my first time raising hens and I admit I do not know much about this illness category. Everyone has seemed to be fine and healthy until this afternoon. When I went to close the door on the hen house, I could not find one of the hens. She was tucked away in a corner of the coop underneath a self-type thing. She was not laying down but I first thought she was going to lay an egg. I pulled her out to check her out and she was, lethargic, droopy tail and tucked in head. I was bringing in treats when I came and she didn't even try to go and eat them. I checked her body out and didn't notice anything too weird except her stomach seemed kind of featherless (to be honest, I never looked at their stomach to see how many feathers they normally have). I tried to put her on the roost with the other birds and she didn't even try to move from that spot or lay down but a couple birds pecked at her so I picked her up again and put her on the ground. She slowly walked to the corner again. I didn't know what spot was the best for her. Yesterday, I noticed one dropping that looked dark-blackish and watery but didn't think much of it because it was only one I saw. I checked her crop and it didn't seem large or hard. The birds are all around one year old and I have no idea if they have every been wormed. I am not seeing any respiratory illness signs as of now. Any ideas what this can be? Should I remove her from the flock right away tomorrow? any help would be great.
  2. HumbleHen207

    HumbleHen207 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2013
    These symptoms are often associated with so many diseases accurate diagnosis can be difficult. I feel it is safe to say most of us have lost birds with these symptoms without ever truly know what was the cause. I personally would never let a sick bird stay in the coop; both for the safety of the flock, and the safety of the ill bird. Chickens will kill birds that aren't acting right, its in their nature to help keep disease from spreading.

    Im going to give you a list of potential causes of your birds ailment based on my experiences with these symptoms

    First, I check their crops. Its located at the base of their neck. If it is swollen up, (about the size of a softball) and hard, impacted crop may be the problem. This happens when the passages from the crop into their gizzards gets blocked up by an obstruction of some sort. It can be fixed, however the procedure isnt pretty... If the crop is limp, or you cant seem to locate it at all, this means she isnt eating at all and your issue can probably be found elsewhere.

    Second, check the vent. It should be clean and dry. Maybe she is eggbound? Usually an egg bound hen will stand in an upright position as if attempting to lay her egg. Also, curable with a little effort. Another issue common egg laying issue is internal laying. It's pretty easy to spot in the advanced stages. Her vent will be extremely swollen and the skin around the area will have a yellowish hue. Its not treatable without an exspensive surgery. While examining the vent, look for parasites. If she has a heavy parasite load this may be causing her to be lethargic.

    If neither of these turn up concerns, your left with potentially a much more complex internal problem, or disease. I would try her on Duramycin if all else failed, its a broad spectrum antibiotic which has helped me in many situations similar to your own. If its going to work she should respond relatively quickly to the antibiotic. Sadly, often times hens come down with cancer, its a common issue, especially ovarian cancers. This is always something to keep in mind.

    Best of luck, hope this helps in some way! Keep me posted, if you can pinpoint her problem I may be able to help in giving you more advance directions in treatment!
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    If you could get a stool sample checked for worms, coccidia, and bacteria, today, it might save some guess work. Coccidiosis causes diarrhea, lethargy, puffing up, poor appetite, and ruffled feather. Corid or amprollium in the water for 5-7 days will treat that. Worms could also be the problem, and for chickens I would recommend Valbazen or SafeGuard Liquid Goat Wormer used once and again in 10 days. For difficult worms, SafeGuard may need to be used 3-5 days in a row. Enteritis is another intestinal infection that responds to certain antibiotics such as Tylan, amoxicillin, penicillin, Gallimycin, and chlortetracycline. Offer her electrolyte water until she starts on medicines, and make sure she is drinking.

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