Weakening hen and wringing neck

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Noreaster Egger, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)

    Olive egger. She's about 10 months old and is of average weight.

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.

    She has had some runny, loose stools for awhile. They are darker in nature and I've seen no blood or intestinal lining whatsoever on the poop board. She is the bottom of the pecking order and has taken some nesting box feather plucking in the past. We bring her into the house whenever she is due to lay so she can grow those few feathers back in her head. Despite the loose stool, everything was going fine.

    Over the past couple weeks she has been losing feathers on her neck and belly. She has bare spots on her belly now, but there is no irritation or redness whatsoever. It's just plain, smooth white skin. The feathers are not being pulled out by the others either. We've seen them just falling out of her. During this time she had started low, repetitive clucking too..."buck buck buck buck". This was atypical for her and the first thought I had was she's going broody. She still had the runs, but she was eating normally and seemed strong. She even challenged a few of the other lower pecking order birds which is rare (she lost the stare downs though).

    Last night she seemed to stagger a bit when she walked. I noticed she was wringing her neck too. It almost seemed like she was trying to clear her throat. I gave her water and she drank a lot of it up and went to sleep. I checked on her when I woke up this morning and she was eating and drinking, but still wringing her neck. She was due to lay early (no egg yesterday) so I brought her inside and gave her some fermented feed and electrolyte. She went into her nesting box to lay, but she kept shaking and wringing her head before going in. I'll add that she has been laying like a champ during this time with a cycle of about 3-4 days on and 1 day off. Her shells are the hardest of all of my birds so I'm not worried about her being egg bound.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

    I cleared that up above. A few weeks for the loose stool and 24hrs for the staggering/neck wringing.

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

    No. They all have healthy poops too. I'll add that this chicken's sister came from a breeder and she died on me last fall with what I suspected as Marek's. I never had her tested though. My other 10 birds are hatchery birds from Agway (I think they're from Mt. Healthy).

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    No.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.

    I have no idea. I'm worried that the loose stool has gone on too long, but I'd like to refrain from antibiotics.

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

    Free ranging, mostly fermented feed...some dry layer pellets. Lots of water and occasionally an electrolyte or probiotic added to the H2O. Occasional snacks are ground up coconut, leftover salad greens, mealworms, and some BOSS.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    Dark but watery/loose

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    I've just kept her on the fermented feed and made sure she was eating enough. She's been getting electrolyte tablets in her water here and there.

    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 would like to treat the bird myself, yet stay away from antibiotics. I have some liquid Corid that I'd consider giving her, but I didn't suspect Cocci with no sign of blood in the stool at all.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    No pics or vid yet

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use

    In the coop they have flake pine shaving from TS. The nesting boxes have Koop Clean in them. Outside they free range.
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Is her crop emptying overnight? Full at night/empty in the morning before eating/drinking.

    The wringing of the head - is it more like a crop adjustment or the shaking of the head - check her ears for any mites/lice, debris or infection. Ear problems can cause some loss of balance and shaking of the head.

    Since she is low in pecking order, watch to see if she is being kept away from food/water. Dehydration can cause loss of balance - since you mention that when you brought her in she drank a lot, it sounds like she didn't drink during the day. She may be trying to grab food/water in between being chased away which could possibly lead to a crop issue. Stress can cause quite a few problems.

    Just my thoughts.
     
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  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I would check her crop for possibly being impacted with grasses or sour crop from fungal or bacterial infection. It should be empty first thing in the morning, then slowly fill up during the day. It is feels full and hard in early morning, or full and puffy, it may be a problem. I would use some plain yogurt for probiotics daily for awhile, giving her a tsp daily with some chopped egg or wet feed. The bare feathers on her belly and cooing do sound like she may have started to go broody, but she may have quit, although they tend to cluck-cluck-cluck, and parade around with their tail feathers in an inverted V shape. She sounds weak. I have opened up a few chickens after death, and found blocked gizzards, so I am always a little paranoid about that or crop problems. Two Crows has a very good article called "impacted, slow, and sour crops, preventions and treatments," if you go to the top of this page and do a search.
     
  4. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have not seen any signs of mites nor lice. Again, her skin is perfectly white and smooth...no redness or irritation whatsoever. None of the other birds have had any issues. I could go in there and wipe under the roost at night to see if there's any hanging out, but there's no signs of it on her. The other birds do chase her from the feeders, but she goes right back to them to eat. I have multiple ferment feeders out there at any time so she usually has one she can go to. I do notice she drinks a lot of water and eats a lot of snow. I can't tell what is cause and effect...is she having loose stool from excessive liquids (snow, water, moist feed) or is she needing these fluids because she's dehydrated from the loose stools? I'm guessing it's the latter given the other birds are fine. I checked her crop this morning and it was empty. It was full last night. So that seems to be functioning normally.
     
  5. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks. I'll check it out and when I get home from work I'll check her crop again to see if it's filled up.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  7. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well she laid today but didn't touch her food inside. Her crop was almost empty. I brought her out when I came home and she ate some fermented feed and grit. She did a lot of staggering and neck wringing at first, but it's become more sporadic since I pulled the iPad out to record it. Here's video showing her eating snow and making her neck movements at times.

     
  8. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's all over the place when she tries to run. She tried to run to me and flew a bit in the air and landed out of control and crashed on the ground. It's sad to watch. She doesn't seem listless...just dizzy and off balance. I checked again for lice and mites and don't see anything and again, there's no irritation or redness on her skin. Just some missing feathers.
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Her neck movements look somewhat neurological in nature, but sometimes it is hard to tell if there is a crop problem and they are just adjusting threir crop. With her missing head feathers, was she pecked there and maybe injured? She shouldn't be molting at 10 months old. Head injuries can cause some of her syptoms of being off balance, weird neck movements, and staggering. You might look into her ears, just in case she might have an ear infection. You can insert a QTip in there to see if you get anything out. Was she vaccinated for Mareks disease? I don't want you to think she has that, but I'm just curious.
     
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  10. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She lost her head feathers early in winter when she refused to give up her nesting box for a higher ranked bird. We pulled her out when she was due to lay (nesting box was the only bullying issues) and they started growing back in. We put her back with the others for laying and the incident happened again. We've been bringing her inside to lay for months now. Most are growing back in, but the new ones that were plucked are probably going to take awhile. I haven't noticed any severe pecking through the time this started yesterday.

    She and her sister (a BCM) were from a breeder and not vaccinated. My other 10 hatchery birds were. Her sister never seemed to thrive here. I had all of them free ranging and on ferm feed. She stopped eating, got weak, had the lime green poop, and died about a week after I took her to an aviary vet. She got antibiotics, but it seemed to make her worse with completely watery stool and probably more dehydration. She had the neurological issues at the end too so I suspected Marek's with her. I've been wondering if this chicken has it in her and if a weakened immune system is allowing it to rear its ugly head now. She seems OK when down low scratching and pecking, but when she puts her head high to stand or run the issues start.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017

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