Toxic Plants or Bugs Sickening Chickens? One Fatally!: (

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Porch Chickens, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. Porch Chickens

    Porch Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2013
    Amy Pond is the Golden Silkie on the left-- sweetest little bird ever

    My one year old Silkie, Amy, (Amy Pond-- for any other Whovians) started staggering and putting her wings out to catch herself like a drunken sailor today. Then she sat down on the porch near the dog's water bowl and drank a lot of water and then just sat with her eyes closed and all puffed up. She was tipping forward so her breast feathers were dangling in the water and I was actually concerned she might fall forward and drown in the water bowl. I picked her up and she opened her eyes to look at me, but her head just kept drooping and eyes closing like she just couldn't stay awake.
    This happened to this chicken once before, and also to one of our Buff Orphingtons once and both recovered within a few hours. It's like they are intoxicated, and I wonder if it's something they've eaten in our yard-- a bug or plant. We have made every effort to remove any toxic plants from the yard even before we got chickens.

    I was worried about Amy this morning, in case the other birds picked on her in her weakened state or a cat or hawk found her like that. My chickens are in a temporary enclosure at the moment and she's so small she can walk out under the door, which is how she managed to stagger to the porch (see how she would seek us out for help!). I had to leave for work, so I put her into the brand new coop we are nearly finished building where she could have some peace and her own food and water. I put her on a fluffy clean bed of new wood shavings in her new nesting box. I returned 3 hours later to find her dead and stiff.: (

    This particular little silkie had a bit of a hard time as she was new to the flock last year and is at the bottom of the pecking order. She never seems to be injured or missing any feathers, but I do catch the some of the other birds pecking her when she tries to eat, including one other silkies.
    She definitely did more foraging in the yard than the others since they'd chase her off from the feeder. I'd often feed her by hand away from the others to make sure she got food. Today, before she died, her crop felt very full and hard.(husband was worried she wasn't eating-- thought maybe she was weak from hunger, but she was very full). She'd been so happy lately since she was able to get out and away from the rest of the flock. She was hanging out with one of our Easter Eggers who flies out OVER the temporary fence and who was always nice to her.
    Anyway, we miss Amy a lot and are very sad. Because she was picked on and tiny we hand fed her a lot and she was very tame and followed us around when we worked in the yard, and was very talkative with us. Her eggs tasted TERRIBLE, but she more than made up for it by being a sweet, affectionate little bird.

    I mainly posted this to see if anyone has had a similar experience with these kinds of symptoms, fatal or not, as it makes me worry what my girls might be getting into in my yard.
    However, I now realize that this has also turned into Amy's eulogy as well.
    RIP little Amy-- I hope you are in chicken paradise and will get plenty of respect from now on, and no more pecking on.: )
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  2. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

    Oct 21, 2015
    First, I'm sorry for your loss

    You'll see these symptoms quite a bit on the forum. There are various reasons. Here are just to name a few possible problems.

    Egg Binding
    Hardware toxicity or poison
    Crop issues

    I too recently had the same problem with one of my geese. Started out drunken behavior and she didn't eat and had liquid diarrhea with bits of slime indicating a possible bacteria. My ordeal went on for two and a half weeks. After a week I had to start tube feeding her so she wouldn't starve to death. But she drank plenty. I never did find out what it was but she is cured now, happy and healthy again.

    I first ruled out Egg Binding.
    Then started her on a flush for toxins.
    Then started her on a 5 day course of Corid (amprolium) for possible coccidiosis.
    Then started her on a Wormer - Safeguard paste with Fenbendazole.
    I was also tube feeding her baby bird formula and providing her with electrolytes and probiotics in her drinking water.
    I was about to start antibiotics when she started acting normal again.

    I had her separated from the flock the entire time so I could monitor her and check her poops (poops tell a lot about a birds state of health). Since she got better I didn't need to start the antibiotics. But there was a point after the first week that I almost lost her. I did have a very good and informative support team. I met them here on the forum and they gave me a lot of helpful and valuable information on Corid and wormer dosages. They also taught me how to do the tube feeding of which I'm certain saved her life.

    If you see that again check for Egg Binding first as it can kill a hen in 24 hours if not treated promptly. Then do a flush. Then you may have to start Corid and/or wormer. Meanwhile, make all observations as you can. That way you can give as much information as possible when you come to the forum with questions for help. That will help you get the best advice.

    -Free Spirit
  3. Porch Chickens

    Porch Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2013
    Thank you so much, Free Spirit, I really appreciate all the suggestions.
    I don't think it was egg binding, because none of our hens are laying right now, and it's been a while since they stopped.
    Now that you mention diarrhea, she did have very yellow liquid poop the past few days, which was unusual for her.
    She was eating and drinking plenty. Just yesterday I fed all the hens some fresh spent grains from a neighbor's beer brewing and they all loved it, including Amy.
    It just came on so suddenly. Yesterday she was following us all around the yard talking to us and the next morning completely out of it and dead before noon.: (

    I will look up all the other ailments you brought up for future reference. This absolutely happened to her once before, and to one of the other hens, but it was just a very quick thing and they recovered quickly, but if you say this is a symptom of many illnesses, maybe it's just the way chickens act if they aren't feeling well.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving.: )
  4. Porch Chickens

    Porch Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2013
    After reading about "Flushes" on here, I remembered that when my Buff had these symptoms I did feed her activated charcoal. I just thought it might help and didn't know what else to do. I wish I'd thought of it for Amy this morning. I just thought she would be fine, since she and the other recovered quickly the last times this occurred : (

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