Thin Hen, need ideas why and treatment ideas no parasites

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Thassa, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Thassa

    Thassa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adirondack Park, NY
    1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.) 2 year old Buff Orpington hen, currently molting, but has been thin for about 6 months.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? ~6 months maybe longer

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?no

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. She seems to eat well, her crop feels full when I feel it and it seems like it should be, not squishy. Currently the whole flock is getting Flock Raiser (22% protein) because only 4 hens out of ~45 are laying. The flock free ranges 3-4 days a week and they get sunflower seeds, a small amount of scratch and leftovers as treats.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.poop looks normal not runny

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? none

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?I'd like to figure out why she is thin.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use. 10x20 coop, large run (100x100?) and free ranged 3-4x a week or more. Pine shavings for bedding.

    I have had stool samples done tested by a vet every 2-3 months and no parasites are found. She has no external parasites that I can see. She never really layed well, maybe 1x a week at her best and I'm not really sure when she layed last. She seems like she is a little weaker than she has been but its hard to tell. No nasal discharge, eyes bright, feathers shiny and in good shape. Feet have been checked for bumblefoot, crop nice and full, not squishy.

    I read somewhere that internal fungal infections could cause thinness but I am totally stumped.
     
  2. Twistedfeather

    Twistedfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you been adding things to her diet? Catfood, Milk and sunflower seeds will help with weight.
     
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  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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  4. Thassa

    Thassa Chillin' With My Peeps

    258
    15
    113
    Apr 6, 2012
    Adirondack Park, NY
    1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.) 2 year old Buff Orpington hen, currently molting, but has been thin for about 6 months.

    It isn't uncommon for birds to go off feed for awhile or eat less during moult. That is why people supplement feed/water pre-moult, and during moult..
    What do you suggest for premoult/moult supplements?


    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? ~6 months maybe longer

    That is a long time span of symptoms with no treatment.
    I know it is, I've been scouring the internet, asking questions and no one has any ideas, that is why I came here.


    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?no

    Immunity varies from bird to bird in some cases, just like other animals. This is why I have always been attentive to raising chicks with Cocci preventatives and extra attention paid to their digestive systems since that is where immunity begins. Just because other birds are showing no symptoms, does not mean disease or parasites are not a problem for this particular bird.
    I do give probiotics as an additive in the food and also as yogurt about once a week. Although they have never tested positive for Cocci, they have had Corrid in the last 2 months as a preventative.



    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. She seems to eat well, her crop feels full when I feel it and it seems like it should be, not squishy. Currently the whole flock is getting Flock Raiser (22% protein) because only 4 hens out of ~45 are laying. The flock free ranges 3-4 days a week and they get sunflower seeds, a small amount of scratch and leftovers as treats.


    A 2 year old hen does not need such a high protein content even during moult. Lysine and methionine are important amino acids, but so are minerals such as calcium, magnesium, A, B vitamins,D,E, K, etc. Grit is also important and should be available, especially if feeding hard grains. Probiotics aid in proper digestion. Sunflower seeds are a non-essential, and are fattening in addition to the hulls being difficult to digest compared to oat hulls and other grains like corn, wheat, and milo. Diets too high in wheat can also cause enteritis. Prolonged diets high in protein can cause gout, so during moult, a 20% protein is acceptable for a short period of time as new feathers develop. Here are a few simply stated facts regarding protein and calcium:
    http://www.poultryshowcentral.com/chicken_gout.html
    The flock gets sunflower seeds as a treat, not as feed. The higher protein feed has been for about 3 weeks otherwise they get a regular layer pellet. Grit is not offered in summer because the flock free ranges, oyster shell is available at all times.


    There is a condition called fatty liver disease which happens to inactive birds, or birds in moult for longer periods of time. A supportive supplement containing thioctic acid like Lewerstim will help detoxify and support the liver function if the liver isn't damaged. Protozoa and intestinal worms can cause anemic conditions too, so just because no worms were visible, does not mean intestinal worm eggs were not existent during analysis, or worms couldn't be ingested within a 2-3 month period:
    http://www.sprcentre.com/sprc/Worm_Control_in_Poultry.htm

    Strains of Coccidiosis are also a common problem when preventative methods are not used:
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/1138/coccidiosis-control

    Both of those mentioned above can cause enteritis and irreversible damage to the digestive system, making nutrient absorption difficult for the life of the bird, or eventually causing death.
    I don't ever rule out parasites, but I would think if I have a test done every 2-3 months, something would have turned up at some point. It was just done the last time about 2 weeks ago. I refuse to give wormer as a preventative.


    I will look for the Lewerstim, maybe Amazon carries it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I don't have anything further to add to what Michael Apple said, he pretty much covered it. However I will make one comment regarding fecal tests. For this method to be effective you would have to have multiple tests done on all your birds each time you have the tests done, and maybe that is how you are doing it. One fecal sample from one bird is a very easy way to get false negatives. If samples are tested when parasites simply don't happen to be shedding eggs then you won't see the eggs in the sample. Fecal sample testing can be done as a way of managing worms but when done correctly in order to get accurate results it generally involves more work and $$ then most people are willing to invest compared to deworming a couple times a year.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014

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