Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by OkieT, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Hi, Everyone. This is my first time on this forum (just joined BYC) and I am also just getting started with a flock. I have a friend who "chickens" as well and she has a problem with one of her young hens that neither of us can diagnose. The hen started out with drooping tail and lethargy and has gone off her feed and water. This has been going on for about a week now. She stays hidden under the nest boxes, but if you pull her out and try to stand her up, she looks like she is trying to stand on tiptoe and cannot keep her balance. I've tried googling it, but have been unable to find anything. Anyone have any ideas/advice? I would think she should have isolated the bird, at least until she knows what the problem is, but she still has her with the flock. They have just recently enlarged their chicken pen, but the chickens have had free range about every other day.
    Any help you all can give will be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012

  2. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Songster

    Nov 8, 2011
    Well first of all, [​IMG]

    Secondly, she should isolate the chicken and try to get it to drink and eat. It's possible that the chicken might have a vitamin deficiency as well, but I'm not sure. It's something I'd start with. She can get Poly-vi-sol vitamins made by Enfamil (NO IRON) in the baby aisle at any drugstore/supermarket and try to get a couple of drops in her, or add several drops to her water. In the meantime, if you don't have the vitamins yet, try to add some sugar to the water to get her to drink it and get her energy up a little so she can eat. I'd scramble up an egg and see if she will eat that. This may or may not help, but I know it won't hurt. I'm no chicken expert, but I've had to "wing it" before and these things helped me. There are quite a few people on here that really know their stuff, so hopefully you can get to the bottom of what's going on. Pictures are always helpful, too. Good luck!
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us, just wish it were under better circumstances! :frow

    For a hen to act that way, something is definitely wrong. That does not necessarily mean she has a disease though. After a week, I think it is too late to isolate her, but that is always an option. There are so many different things it might be, it is really hard to get specific.

    Is she laying? You might do a search for the signs and see if you think she is egg-bound.

    Is her crop enlarged? She might have an impacted crop, but you'd almost certainly mentioned that since the crop would be so enlarged. But it is also possible the gizzard is impacted. You would not see that.

    Perhaps she swallowed a nail or screw and it punched a hole in her gizzard while she was grinding it up.

    One of her internal organs may have failed, like kidneys or liver.

    I once had a hen acting a bit like that. She had injured her neck.

    Or it might be some disease, like maybe coccidiosis. That's the first treatable one that comes ot mind, but it could be something else. I'd suggest you look for the signs of coccidiosis and see if you think that might be it.

    What I would suggest, since she is off her feed, is that your friend use a medicine dropper to give her some liquid. Dehydration is a real risk. Just put a drop on the inside tip of her beak and see if she will swallow it. You don't want to drown her or put it down into her lungs, so just put it inside the tip of her beak. I use that syrup you feed hummingbirds since it has sugar to give her energy and I have it on hand, but sugar water or those vitamins would help. In addition to fighting dehydration, the sugar gives her energy. Maybe if she gets some energy, she will feel up to eating and drinking on her own.

    Since you really don't know what the problem is, a round of antibiotics would be a reasonable precaution, though I hate to medicate without knowing exactly what I am medicating for. I would not give the antibiotic to the flock in general unless another chicken started showing signs of a disease. The antibiotics can mess up the probiotics in their digestive system and cause them unnecessary problems, but if you identify a disease, it is something you need to do.
  4. Thanks so much for the quick responses and the warm welcome. I can tell already that I will enjoy this group.
    We were "yard-saling" together last weekend when her husband called and told her that one of her hens was drooping and her tail was down. Coccidiosis was our first thought so we went straight to the feed store for meds. However, she has shown no improvement through the past week. Her crop isn't enlarged. I'm not sure if she is laying, but would think, yes. (It would help if it were my own chicken; I'd know a little more!) She will drink a little water out of my friend's hand, so I will definitely tell her about the vitamins and sugar water, and also to check for a "stuck egg". So far, all of her other chickens are fine, so I'm guessing that whatever it is, it probably isn't something contagious (fingers crossed). At any rate, I won't be walking into her chicken pen anytime soon and then coming home to my own![​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by