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What more can I do?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by itgirl, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. itgirl

    itgirl Hatching

    Aug 15, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    I noticed on Saturday evening that one of my white leghorns (23.5 weeks old, started laying about 10 days prior) seemed to be acting funny. She was standing under a tree while the other hens were foraging in the yard and didn't move at all when I picked her up to put her back in the run. She then stayed in a corner of the run for most of that evening until she was the last one to go into the coop to sleep. I was hoping she'd be better the next morning, but when she came out of the coop she didn't go straight for food and water as usual but instead went to a corner under the coop. She finally ate a little bit, and when I let them all into the yard she did a bit of foraging but mostly stood around with her tail feathers down. On Sunday evening I finally brought her in the house and gave her a warm bath and oiled her vent in case she was egg bound. She stayed in the house in a dog crate overnight. Yesterday morning she drank a good amount of water in the morning and ate a little bit of food, but she was still standing in one spot with her tail feathers down. I got her into a vet with chicken experience in the afternoon. The vet did a physical exam (her vitals were normal and her body condition good) and felt inside her vent but couldn't feel anything wrong in the upper part of it. I let them anesthetize her to do a more thorough internal exam. The vet said she could feel a soft oblong shape deep inside her and even see the tip of it, but because it's still covered in layers of tissue, she couldn't tell exactly what it was or remove it. It could be a soft-shell egg that hasn't left the oviduct. Rather than pay for an expensive x-ray that wouldn't really change the course of action, I opted for supportive care. The vet gave her fluids and calcium and vitamin injections. I bought some liquid calcium to mix with her food. I brought her back home and kept her in the house again.

    Today she seems worse. She's breathing heavily with her mouth open, and her backside is pumping up and down nonstop. The vent itself doesn't look red or swollen, but after giving her another warm bath this morning, the rest of her has dried but the area around the vent is still wet. I haven't seen her drink at all - though several times I've seen her standing with her head over the water bowl but not drinking - and she has barely ate a thing even when I offered all sorts of things she normally loves. I can't give her the liquid calcium because she won't eat. She's hardly pooping at all, and when she goes it's watery with just a bit of very dark green. I think that is a sign of dehydration/starvation?

    I'm so confused about what is wrong with her and what to do to help. She laid her last egg around 9 or 10am on Saturday, and I first noticed her acting strange around 5pm. Isn't that too early to be considered egg bound?

    Is there anything I can do to make her eat or drink? I've tried putting water in her mouth with a dropper but wasn't very successful. I've seen posts where some people put in a feeding tube, but I don't think I would trust myself to do that.

    Is keeping her in the house separated from the others the right thing to do?

    I'm very new to chickens, and I appreciate any advice the more experienced members can offer. Sorry for the long-winded post!

  2. itgirl

    itgirl Hatching

    Aug 15, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    I'm bumping this up because I still need advice. I hope my long post hasn't scared anyone off. After going to the vet on Monday, the rest of the week has been like this:

    - Tuesday and Wednesday she wouldn't eat or drink at all. I gave her water with an eye dropper and finally got some liquid calcium into her the same way. For those 2 days she was constantly panting with her rear end pumping up and down.

    - Yesterday first thing she was drinking on her own, and I managed to find something she would eat - yogurt! She ate quite a bit of it and also some oatmeal. She perked up quite a bit when her "sisters" came into the house, and I let her follow them outside. She had her tail feathers up for a while! She was panting less, and her butt wasn't moving up and down that much. I was hopeful.

    - This morning she is still drinking on her own, but she only took a couple bites of yogurt. She's panting very hard again, though her butt is mostly still. She did not want to come out of the crate. Poop is still all liquid.

    I'm still looking for any and all advice about what could be wrong with her and what to do to help her. It pains me to see her so miserable. I am willing to take her back to the vet, but I don't want to spend a lot more money if there's nothing they can do for her.

    Please help!
  3. Sorry...Either go back to the vet or Humanly put her down...I for one never go to the vet with a Chicken...She sounds very stressed by her condition...Sorry...
  4. farmgirllvo

    farmgirllvo Chirping

    Apr 27, 2016
    I had a roster acting weird for two weeks just like that, but I just left him alone and gave him time, he is not back to normal
    Outside, other hens, and space are the best thing you can do for her
  5. animalgrl

    animalgrl Chirping

    Jun 7, 2015
    Poor girl. It doesn't sound like she is doing very well. Have you gotten any of the calcium into her? Do you have a small, needless syringe? If so you can try putting the calcium straight down her throat. If you google medicating a chicken or search in the forums here, you will find instructions on how to do it. It sounds scary, but is actually not very difficult. If not, can you drop by drop get the calcium into her beak and let her swallow it. It may not help at this point, even if she is egg bound. Have you tried feeling just inside her vent again? If it is an egg, maybe it has moved and you can feel it now. Also, my vet recommended steam (put her in a small bathroom and run the shower on real warm until the bathroom is nice and warm and steamy and let her sit in the bathroom for 10 minutes or so in the steam) a couple of times a day instead of baths for an egg bound hen as it can help with loosening the muscles but you don't have as much risk of them getting chilled as you do getting them wet with a bath. Do this a couple 2 or 3 times a day. Good luck!
  6. WiddleChix

    WiddleChix Chirping

    Jul 15, 2016
    From what I've read it sounds like she could be egg bound. I also read in the case of egg binding soak her in water warmer than her for 20 minutes which will relax the muscles and hopefully let the egg pass. I am not experienced with egg binding as my girls haven't payed yet.

    If you're really concerned about how much she's eating you can definitely tube feed her, there's a thread on here called go team "tube feeding" that you can check if you want to feed her, I personally wouldn't unless she hasn't eaten and I was really concerenrd(but I'm kinda nervous about stuff like that). You can keep trying to get her to eat yogurt if you'd like that's fine as well, if she'll eat that you can try to mix it with some of her feed to make a mash. Really make sure she's drinking plenty. Her poop is liquid because she's drinking much more than she's eating.

    What did the vet say when you took her?
  7. itgirl

    itgirl Hatching

    Aug 15, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    Thank you for all of the replies! I ended up taking her back to the vet, and I learned an important lesson: When you go to a vet's office that has a chicken expert on staff, make sure you actually see the chicken expert. When we went on Monday, that expert was not in the office. Today he was. The "soft, oblong thing" that the other vet felt and thought was an impacted egg was actually...wait for it...her gizzard. She is not egg bound. (For the record, I was giving her warm baths a couple of times a day and did get some calcium into her with an eye dropper. At least the baths seem to relax her a little bit even if they served no other purpose!)

    The theory we're working with now is that she has some sort of bacterial infection, though there's no way to know what it is without blood work, and even that may not be accurate. The vet gave me a lesson in how to medicate a chicken and sent us home with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Because I was concerned about her not eating, they tube fed her in the office, and now I know how to do that as well if I ever have to.

    I've certainly spent more money than I ever intended to, but if she comes through this and is a happy chicken for years to come, I'll forget about the money. It wouldn't hurt, though, if she showed her gratitude with a golden egg. [​IMG]

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