Unkown problem/very poorly hen, any advice appreciated...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kellybelly, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. kellybelly

    kellybelly Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2009
    I really do need some help with this. I have done copius amounts of reading on the net but have not been able to come up with a definitive solution or answer...

    Hen: Winnifred fluffybutt ( Winnie) Light sussex about 8 months old

    Winnie has been acting strangely since around the end of July. I noticed her occasional stumble and that her balance wasnt as great as the other girls. She did have an attack by our number one girl , who grabbed her comb and pulled her head right over to the ground before I could run her off. I dont know if that caused a problem for Winnie and I also can not remember if that happened before I noticed the balance problem or not, so it may have nothing to do with it...

    Winnie began tilting her head to one side which sometimes was severe and sometimes not. It would come and go. The tilting, when really bad, would have her head right turned to the side, verging on upside down. the neck was not pulled down nor back like in the photos of Newcastles, but on its side.

    She does seem to have diarrhea, not watery , but loose and smelly ( sorry, yuck!). Colour varies but it mostly brownish with a reddish brownish colour that I suppose could be blood but is not a bright red.

    She sometimes hangs around with our 3 other girls but is often on her own. She looks in fairly poor condition although she did look well until this last week. I think she is molting now but hard to say if it is genuine molting or the "illness"?

    If the symptoms are bad, she falls over everything...when trying to get in the hen house, over rocks , over steps etc. She seems to not know which way is up. Her pecking is often off mark although not all the time.

    She is not laying but hasnt anyway since we bought her. The breeder told us she was about 5 months when we bought her, maybe a bit younger.

    She is always the first one in the house at night but last night we checked on them bfore locking them up and she was not in there. We found her hiding under a bush. We brought her in the house and kept her warm. She was very unwell, eyes closed and laying on her side but made it through the night. I noticed she had a strange, unpleasnt smell although her vent area is clean.

    She is in the garden now, very slowly moving and trying to eat a bit.

    she has no respiratory issues that I can tell and no mites.

    Any advice?
    Thank you...
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  2. gabby3535

    gabby3535 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If she's not eating or drinking, she'll just fade away.....................
    Can you bring her to your vet?
    "My" vet doesn't know a 'whole' lot about chickens, but certainly does the best she can when I bring her a sick one.......
    she could call a Dept of Ag vet for advice, after she see your poor girl...........or mercifly put her down with a bit of Phenobarb,
    if needed. Don't let poor Winnie suffer........................
     
  3. kellybelly

    kellybelly Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2009
    Hi, Im waiting for a call from the vet now. I have been very worried about Winnie suffering but then she seems to pick up and be ok ( not perfect) but ok again. I had been giving her high doses of vitamin E because I read that it could help with certain issues . I hoped that would solve the problem but as of yet, no luck.
     
  4. Nif

    Nif Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2008
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    The fact that she has a bad smell is probably not good. There's been a lot of discussion about botulism...could she have gotten into compost or any rotting material? They can also get botulism from eating maggots.
    Botulism can also account for feather loss...but it is molting season. Also, if this has been going on a long time I would not suspect botulism unless these issues are not related...meaning her loss of balance is not related to her recent sickness.

    Until someone with expert knowledge comes on to help, the only thing I can tell you is to bring her in, keep her warm and quiet. Make sure she is at least drinking some water. Search this site for botulism, you should get a few threads that have great info. (threehorses is very knowledgeable on this, and just about any subject)

    Good luck, hope you can keep her going!
     
  5. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    High doses of vitamin E are toxic. Please stop giving that right away. She need to be in a dogcrate or something similar so she can rest and hopefully recover.

    Make sure she has water and food. Make her special treats to eat. Try scrambled egg, a little corn (cooked) cut off the cob and some oatmeal mixed with a little yogurt.

    What does her poop look like and when was the last time she laid an egg.

    Sounds like she has something wrong internally but try the above.
     
  6. kellybelly

    kellybelly Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2009
    Hi Nif, thank you for your suggestion. I admit that botulism is not something I have really investigated yet. She free ranges so could get a hold of something "suspicious".

    I did notice something about thier food that was concerning me. Our number one girl has a bad habit of knocking as much food as possible onto the floor of the run instead of eating it! The food sits on the ground overnight and often is mouldy due to our damp/wet weather conditions. I didnt think anything of this until I recently read something about it and how it could cause problems so now we put the dish down outside the run. I take the dish away after they have a good feed and whatever bits are spilled on the grass get eaten throughout the rest of the day.

    Another thing I learned about ( I am fairly new to chicken keeping) was their water and just how clean it has to be kept. Of course I know they need clean water but despite my best efforts I found some of the girls would somehow find the tiny little gap in the water dish where the water comes out and they would pooh in there! I would not find it till maybe hours later when I checked their water supply and of course by then it will have been drunk by some....

    So maybe Winnie has got botulism from either of these issues? You would think the other girls would have the same problems though wouldnt you?

    We have spoken to the vet on the phone who says that he can give her an injection of antibiotics but that he didnt think it would be very helpful. I guess he means because it has been going for a long time? He suspects it is an ear infection.

    Its alot of money for something that he thinks will not work but I hate to think of Winnie suffering...
     
  7. kellybelly

    kellybelly Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi purple tree,
    are you sure about the vitamin e? everything i read said that high doses of E were what i could try and i told the vet, he said that it wouldnot do anything for her, good or bad? Saying all that, i gave her a big dose yesterday and it was in the evening yesterday that things got worse...??

    her pooh is runny and loose, with a reddish brownish colour in there sometimes, not like blood but like a slight orangey brown..,.and very smelly...sorry..

    she has not laid an egg since we first got her around the end of july. the breeder said she was about 5 months old so we assumed she would start laying soon..

    she went broody right away and there was an egg in the hen house which i thought was hers, it may have been but im not sure and we have never had anything from her since...and after that she started with the loss of balance and head tilting.

    I will try the scrambled egg and yoghurt/oatmeal. Thank you for that.
     
  8. Nif

    Nif Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Winnie just might have a compromised immune system and would be more susceptible to illness. Bringing her in and giving her some special treats is a good way to get her going again, and you can keep a close eye on her and observe for any other symptoms.
    Treating with antibiotics with out knowing what is wrong with her can be counterproductive and most experts on here suggest to avoid that.
    The ear infection is an interesting thought...but I have no experience with chickens having ear infections. Sure it could be a possibility though.
    I wouldn't mess around with the vitamin E...purpletree is pretty reliable!
    Is her poo always smelly? Are there any normal poos in between the smelly ones? Having her inside will make it easier to monitor her poop as well.
    Keep us posted on her.
     
  9. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2009
    Hi Kellybelly,


    How is the hen doing? Better I hope. Vitamin E is fat soluble which means if you take too much of it your body stores it in the fat and is not excreted by the kidneys like vitamin C if you take too much. It is highly toxic in large amounts. I did the math and a hen (IF SHE HAD A VITAMIN DEFICIENCY....WITH PROPER LAYER PELLETS SHOULDN'T HAVE) the dosage would be 3 mg or 2 IU. How much have you been giving her?

    The best advice I can give now is keeping her quiet so she can rest, good hydration and feed her anything she will eat and maybe this will pass.

    Are her feathers falling out? If so you might want to consider treating for botulism. There is a molasses flush that you can search for.

    Hang their waterer and feeder from a chain and keep it at the height of their backs. This way they won't spill out as much food and it's impossible to poop in.

    Good luck. I hoe she pulls through.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  10. kellybelly

    kellybelly Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Purple tree, thanks so much for that very helpful info.

    I had been giving her alot more Vitamine E than that unfortunately. I gave it for about 5 days then stopped. When there was no improvement I gave her another dose as mentioned previously, so in all she has about the VIt E about 6 days.

    I feel bad about this now after hearing what you have to say about it but I did follow the recommendations on several sites, for Encepholomalacia ( sp?) which seemed to have lots of the symptoms my girl is having ! I cut up a grape into tiny pieces and put the E oil on the pieces. Most of the oil ran off and was left at the bottom of the dish so she didnt get the full amount but still it was alot more than you suggested...

    The girls get layers pellets with a treat of a handful or 2 of mixed corn/grain during the day. They also get the occasional grape.

    I went to the shop and found that they finally got in some organic pellets, protein 16%, so I have bought that this time, been wanting to do that anyway but was having a hard time finding the organic stuff until the other day.

    I have kept her in our house in a box with some old clothing as soft, warm bedding. I fed her scrambled egg which she ate like she was ravenous. She still twisted her neck almost upside down but was able to straighten it while she ate the egg. I gave her water and another egg this morning but had to really guide her mouth to the water and tip her up to swallow it.

    I have put her outside now because Im not sure if it was ok to keep her in a box all day? She is very unsteady but seems to be ok out with the other girls. She does try to straighten up when she is out with them.

    Her feathers are indeed falling out, and I noticed today that the edges around her eyes are a bit yellow ( not the eyes themselves but the edge of skin around them) but her face has been very off colour all along, very pale or with a yellowish tinge. The colour issue comes and goes.

    Should I be keeping her in the house and box full time for awhile or is it ok to let her out during the day?

    One more thing, her poo's are very narrow, a bit thinner than a pencil and in small section, fairly normal colour with a bit of a white cap.

    Thank you.....
     

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