The case for doing very little...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Stephine, May 28, 2019.

  1. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

    May 30, 2016

    I want to give my (unusual?) perspective in treating chickens with health issues. It seems that lately doing very little has been just the right thing to do.
    I have decided from the get go (a bit over three years ago), that I would never use antibiotics on my flock (trying to help preserve those drugs’ usefulness for humans as long as possible), nor would I risk making them more miserable by ambitious treatments and unnecessary separation from the flock. So far, I have had one hen die suddenly without any warning (BR, 1yr old), one hen die after severe smoke exposure (my flock are all firewalkers - we lost our home in the 2017 wildfires and the chickens had to be left behind, no feed or water for 2 1/2 days in 85 degree heat, locked in coop, then evacuated to friends farm, then moved back months later, all this while in molt) and stress, she just never recovered from her molt and slowly deteriorated. Finally one hen developed diarrhea and died soon after I finally figured out which hen had the issue. Here’s what I do do (depending on the issue): Give nutridrench, extra protein (after fires), raisins (for hens that need a tonic, like two injured ones I had after the fire), they all get a bit of yoghurt 2X a week, feed is Scratch and Peck.
    I only separate if a chicken is bleeding. I know how freaked out chickens get about changes to their environment and I err on the side of keeping them in their familiar surroundings if at all possible.
    I figure introducing as little stress as possible is valuable, too.
    Now a few weeks ago I had a hen - my biggest, top dog hen - standing still with her tail down and moving slowly and clumsily. She’s a huge Brahma, so not too agile to begin with, but it was clear something was off. I brought her home (we’re in temporary housing away from the farm) and gave her an Epsom salt bath. Thinking she was eggbound (she is rotund) or possibly had ascites. I felt (on the outside) for a stuck egg, but couldn’t tell anything. Her abdomen was a bit big and squishy. Hm. I let her dry in her pen in the warm car and gave her part of a tums, wrapped in raisins so she would eat it and drove her back to the farm, put her back with the flock. Next day she looked a tiny bit better, the day after that she seemed fine! 10 days later, same situation, droopy, tail down, pressing... I bathed her again, gave calcium, exactly like before, put her back. Found some blood and broken egg shell on the poop board a day later. Did not investigate. She made a full recovery and has been fine for weeks now.
    Next, a hen with a pendulous crop. For a week her crop looked big every time I saw her. Then it started sagging and swinging. Read about pendulous crop. They had been out free ranging more than usual the weeks prior. Maybe she ate long grass pieces? Dry grass? Also read that pendulous crop can’t really be helped and is reoccurring. Read about people inadvertently killing their hens trying to make them throw up. Knew I wasn’t up for surgery. Decided to wait and see. Two weeks of a swinging crop, now at the very bottom of her chest. Then: it disappeared! Over the course of a week she went back to normal. Which reminded me that my other brahma hen used to have a swinging crop before the fires and came back to me completely normal again after her month in exile, too. What on earth? Anyway, I have a few more examples, but this is already so long. All this to say that I have had good success, so far, with minimal treatment and a wait and see approach. Anyone else?
    EggSighted4Life and ellend like this.

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