Watery eyes, muff feather loss and now listless with diarrhea - Help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MrsFarmerJen, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. MrsFarmerJen

    MrsFarmerJen In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2009
    Hello all - I could use some help from you more experienced chicken folks out there with a problem I'm having before I resort to (gasp) making a trip to the vet...

    I have 5 Easter Egger Ameraucana hens (local good feed store) just about a year old, average weight for large fowl Egger (haven't weighed them, sorry). They are housed in a 20x20 caged run that is covered with an interior elevated 4x6 "house" containing their roosts and nest boxes in that they have free roam in and out of. I have some pine shavings and some straw in the house, otherwise dirt outside. They eat a commercial organic layer crumble/pellet and have oyster shells and water at all times from a galvanized waterer, no extra vitamins, etc, although they do get vegetable/fruit scraps and greens from the kitchen daily. They usually get let out for "play (forage) time" every day or so but not over the last month since I put my vegetable garden in. I don't use chemicals around the property (organic garden) and there is no evidence of any moldy bedding or food, water is cleaned daily.

    Yesterday evening, I found one (kids' favorite, of course) puffed up on the ground in the coop panting somewhat and generally listless. There were no signs of trauma/injury. Her vent looked normal (supple, clean) and there was no obvious mass or swelling that I could tell. When I felt around it caused her to poop which looked clear with white and yellowish-brown matter. Her crop felt soft and squishy, not the normal full buldge as if she had been eating. There was no detectable foul odor from either end of her. I gave her water by hand which she drank. Went to check on her later at about dark and she had gotten herself into her house and was in a nest box with somewhat labored breathing (mouth open sort of panting). It was fairly warm yesterday, about 85ish, but when I found her there was a nice cool breeze so I don't think it was anything heat related (heat may have made her feel worse, thus the panting which was absent this morning). This morning I found her outside by the water dish getting a drink by herself though you could tell she was weak and is now hunkered down puffed up with her eyes closed. As mentioned already, she wasn't panting this morning but now has greenish-brown diarrhea/poop all over her vent area. There is no blood in it. There have been a couple days over the last week or two that we've only gotten 1-2 eggs when we normally get 3-5, thought it was unusual at the time only getting 1 egg. Also, I haven't gotten an egg from this particular hen for a few days, can't say exactly how long but not more than a week. I didn't think too much of it earlier this week but one of the other hens had a watery eye and had lost some of her muff feathers. Being inexperienced, I thought she was just starting her first molt but now this morning three of the five hens have the watery eyes and muff feather loss. Their combs are pale and they look like they don't feel good! I haven't offered any treatment as I really don't know what the disease or problem is. Worms? Some type of virus? Oh, and I received 25 LF Ameraucana (APA true breed) day old chicks from a reputable breeder almost 6 weeks ago (Marek's vacc.). They are housed in a barn completely away from these hens and do not have any contact with them. We always wash down in between visiting one after the other just in case (although yes, I know that whatever could be on our clothes and shoes). Two of the lavender chicks had to be put down because of cross-beaks and one had a weird twisted neck problem and had to be put down last week. Another (buff) developed a weird leg paralysis/development problem and will have to go this week. ARGH! I wonder if the chicks could have brought something in...

    I would like to be able to diagnose and treat them on my own and will go wherever I need to in order to find whatever medication I need, but if it comes down to it, I will possibly take the one bad-off hen to the vet today. My husband is completely opposed to the vet visit (that was the deal when we got the chickens) but it obviously looks like it is some type of disease/condition that can be treated. Hopefully I've covered everything - I'd appreciate feedback.

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