Won't eat, losing feathers, losing weight, what am I not thinking of?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Harriet&Lucy, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Harriet&Lucy

    Harriet&Lucy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2010
    Puget Sound
    I have two Barred Rock hens. Harriet has stopped laying and stopped eating, though she will drink water. She's lethargic and has had a couple of light green and white poops. She's lost a bunch of weight and is losing feathers like crazy. I think she's been this way for about four days. At least I think that's about when I saw the light green poop, and there started to be feathers in the coop.

    I looked through the threads here and decided that she probably had some kind of crop problem. When I felt it, her crop felt like a water balloon. So, guided by the advice I had read here, I gave her olive oil and massaged her crop. She did some burping, and I thought it smelled bad. I came back in and read everything I could find on this forum about sour crop. Then went back out with more olive oil about an hour later. This time I was massaging down (instead of just general ineffectual massaging, which she seemed to like just fine, but didn't do anything). With no warning, clear liquid with mushy grass fragments just kind of flowed out of her mouth. I repositioned her so it wouldn't land on my jeans anymore, and eventually got quite a lot of liquid out of her crop by massaging down. It wasn't smelly, though. We were outside, but from the descriptions I have read here, I would have expected it to be bad enough that I would smell it anyway.

    I've got her isolated in the duck house - no ducks yet - with wood shavings, water, some bread soaked in olive oil, and some grit. My husband put a small sawhorse in there in case she wants to roost. I'm going out to check on her again now. But I'm wondering if I'm on the right track, or if I'm overlooking something else that might be a problem. I'd be so grateful for any advice you could give me. I'm actually a bit daft over Harriet, and Lucy is complaining loudly that one hen does not make a flock.
     
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Everything you described could be a number of things. You need to visually inspect her for lice/mites, especially around the vent area. If she's over a year old, she could possibly be moulting, which is normal. Another possibility is that she could have worms. If she has a worm infestation, it's possible you could see a few worms in her poop. You can also take a poop sample to a vet and have it checked for worms and treat accordingly for what type of worms you're dealing with. It shouldnt cost much. Keep her seperated til you diagnose which problem she has. In the meantime you want her to rebuild her strength....bread soaked with olive oil and grit isnt going to work. Give her plain yogurt (probiotic) with scrambled egg (protein) mixed in her layer feed to make a mash and give it to her to eat. You can also get poultry nutri drench at a feed store and give her 2 drops orally once a day for 3 days. Nutri drench is loaded with vitamins and minerals, dont give it to her more than 3 days though, it can cause diarrhea. good luck.
     
  3. Funky Feathers

    Funky Feathers former Fattie

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    My Coop
    Mites, Lice, Coccidia, worms, any kind of parasite. They can kill the bird. You need to examine the bird & find out what parasites it has. [​IMG]
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello-

    A couple of things come to mind. With the feather loss, she could be molting. Hens will usually molt once they reach their second autumn season. I've got a couple of hens that really look scrappy right now. I would definitely check her all over for parasites too, as another member mentioned. Look under the wings and around the vent.

    Another thing that comes to mind is, could she be broody. A broody hen will lose weight because they eat less, and sometimes their underbelly will be bare because they pull out their feathers so the eggs can have direct contact with their warm skin. The broody will act like she wants to stay in the nest boxes all the time, and only eat once a day, which sometimes is when you don't see her, giving you the impression that she's not eating at all.

    I really hope that it's something simple like I've mentioned. You could give her some vitamins/electrolites in her drinking water, and also, it really wouldn't hurt her if you want to give her some duramayacin in her drinking water, if you don't think she's molting or broody.

    Good luck to you!
    Sharon
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    I dont recommend an antibiotic (duramyacin) unless your dealing with a respiratory issue or an infection such as bumblefoot. There isnt anything indicating a bacterial infection in this instance. Coccidia would most likely occur in chicks and would have bloody poop.
     
  6. Harriet&Lucy

    Harriet&Lucy Out Of The Brooder

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    I went out and examined her for mites and lice. Boy, did she hate that! I didn't see any. And she doesn't have blood or visible worms in her stool.

    She had eaten the bread and oil, which I think has to be good. Last night she wasn't one bit interested in the treats (kitchen scraps and tuna fish). Lucy got them all. And I hadn't seen her eat anything all day. (I'm embarrassed to tell you how much time I spent watching her.)

    She might be a little better. She was up on the sawhorse, which I figure took some energy. And she was peppy enough to try to peck me. Also, she's holding her tail higher. Not up, exactly, but not down anymore.

    I don't think she's broody, chicmom. She came out to range immediately. She just kinda wandered around listlessly while Lucy ate. She probably is molting, though. The timing sounds right, and the feathers are falling out, she's not plucking them.

    I'm going to try the yogurt and egg mash, dawg.

    Thank you all for your help. I'm feeling so much more hopeful.

    (Do any of you do chicken psychiatry? Lucy is furious at Harriet's absence! I didn't think that awful racket could be a chicken, but when I looked, it was Lucy standing in the middle of the garden, facing the house and giving me a long, loud piece of her mind.)
     
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Harriet&Lucy :

    I went out and examined her for mites and lice. Boy, did she hate that! I didn't see any. And she doesn't have blood or visible worms in her stool.

    She had eaten the bread and oil, which I think has to be good. Last night she wasn't one bit interested in the treats (kitchen scraps and tuna fish). Lucy got them all. And I hadn't seen her eat anything all day. (I'm embarrassed to tell you how much time I spent watching her.)

    She might be a little better. She was up on the sawhorse, which I figure took some energy. And she was peppy enough to try to peck me. Also, she's holding her tail higher. Not up, exactly, but not down anymore.

    I don't think she's broody, chicmom. She came out to range immediately. She just kinda wandered around listlessly while Lucy ate. She probably is molting, though. The timing sounds right, and the feathers are falling out, she's not plucking them.

    I'm going to try the yogurt and egg mash, dawg.

    Thank you all for your help. I'm feeling so much more hopeful.

    (Do any of you do chicken psychiatry? Lucy is furious at Harriet's absence! I didn't think that awful racket could be a chicken, but when I looked, it was Lucy standing in the middle of the garden, facing the house and giving me a long, loud piece of her mind.)

    That's good news. I'm glad you thoroughly checked her out in a timely manner. After reading what you typed, I agree with you that it's moult. Yes, try and get her the yogurt, scrambled egg mixture....you can add canned beef catfood if you wish, high in protein as well. It sounds like it's going to be a full blown moult too...so you'll want to keep an eye on her to make sure she doesnt get picked on by the others. Good luck. Edited....chicken psychiatry? Are you kidding? I'm one of THEIR patients!!! "They're coming to take me away haha!"​
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  8. Harriet&Lucy

    Harriet&Lucy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2010
    Puget Sound
    Harriet is better today even than she was last night. I took her the yogurt mash, and she seemed fairly lively - staying out of my reach and clucking at me. She's also holding her tail up. Not perky up, but definitely up. I'll go check her more closely later this morning, but I think she's going to be fine. Thank you all for your helpful advice. It's good to have some experienced folks to turn to when I'm feeling totally inadequate.

    Oh, and Dawg.... LOL!
     

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