Weight Loss and Swollen Face on one Hen, Another Hen Wasting Away

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickeepoo, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    These are my friend's hens, both Buff Orpingtons, about 8 months old, on Purina layer feed with access to some greens and scratch daily.

    The first one went through a period of listlessness and weight loss but perked up and is free ranging as well as having layer feed available and vitamin/electrolyte water. The right side of her face swelled up almost 2 weeks ago to the point she stopped eating and seemed to have difficulty swallowing, and her eye stayed closed for a few days. The main swellling has subsided and the eye is oped, but some really bumpy, tumorous looking swelling is still around her eye/ear area including a strange purple spot- it's pretty ugly looking. She seems to have energy but doesn't weigh hardly anything now.

    The other hen has been a poor eater but gets pecked and pushed around by the other hens, so she may not be getting her fill. She just seems to be wasting away and was sitting on the nest looking broody when my friend finally took her out of the coop and put her in a separate cage. She is listless, eyes closed, head falling slowly forward as she lays there, feathers fluffed, in the wood shavings. She did complain and fight back a little when I force fed her some vitamin water and gruel made with that water, powdered feed and liquified lettuce. She will not or cannot open her eyes now, and I saw her neck slowly turning to the side as she drifted off in rest again. The other hens had pecked off the rear half of her comb too.

    Neither of these hens seems to eat much feed as they are both bone and feathers, unless there is some disease involved. At least one of them had been laying eggs at 6 months, but neither is able to lay at this point. I took the second one home with me to hand feed and try to get her back to the point she can eat on her own, but I'm being very careful not to let her anywhere near my coops since I don't know if this was brought on by them being kicked around by the other hens or by some disease(s).

    My friend and I got our Buff Orps from the same place, but hers are losing weight and having more illness. Mine are housed with only Buff Orps while hers were in with Barred Rock hens and a RIR (so the BO's got kicked around by the more aggressive hens), and there were a few days wild doves got into her enclosure through the hog wire, possibly exposing her birds to some kind of infection. We're just not sure what these symptoms mean. The strange swelling and bumps on the other BO hen really concern me too… and none of her other hens show any signs of illness, just these Buffs. Could it be they just needed to be with gentler chickens, and they're beat up now and more susceptible to illness? Or do these symptoms ring a bell for any one who can tell me what it might be?
     
  2. SoJoChickens

    SoJoChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2009
    Fountain Green, UT
    Sorry to hear things aren't going well for these two BO's. I think you are right to suspect disease. Have you checked for parasites? It sounds a little like mites or chiggers. Either of these can cause weight loss and can eventually lead to death. The bumps sound a bit more like chiggers than mites but it's hard to tell for sure. Some worms can cause loss of appetite and weight loss but worms shouldn't cause the bumps on the face. Good Luck!
     
  3. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    We've checked our birds at both locations- no sign of mites or other parasites. The only birds having trouble are Buff Orpingtons. I contacted the seller to ask if any other buyer has called or if he's seen any illness in the remaining birds, but all others are fine. I'm thinking the weight loss and poor eating are tied to being put in with other more aggressive hens. The swollen face on the one and the remaining lumps/puffiness concerns me. The hen I took home to help has taken in vitamin/electrolyte water and gruel, but she looks to be one step from death's door. She had a little clear yellow diarrhea in the wood shavings this morning and is just lying with her head down, beak resting in the litter. I'd be surprised if she makes it- if not, I'll ask my friend to send her in for necropsy and separate the remaining BO permanently from the BR's and RIR.
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    They need to be separated immediately and as a precaution checked for worms, along with other parasites. Don't turle out disease and when separated they will be easier to observe and assist...

    With the others they may not be getting an opportunity to feed because they are bullied.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  5. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Thanks for responding, SoJo and LynneP - "Buffy" is surprisingly still with us, still looks like she'll keel over any moment but taking in the liquid diet by syringe. She has diarrhea, but at least she is having nourishment go through her. Her crop was at least partly full of the mushy stuff I've been feeding her plus the vitamin water, so if her little body can get back some energy to fight anything else ailing her, she has a shot at life.

    The other BO has been taken away from the flock at my friend's place, and I'm keeping Buffy inside and away from my birds. I added antibiotics to her water for lack of anything further I could do for her. She seems hot to me where I handle her beak to feed her - is it possible she has fever too? I've never heard of anyone having to check their hens for this, so if it is the case how do you measure the temperature?
     

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