Worried Chicken Parent - Lethargic Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Onkachonk, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Onkachonk

    Onkachonk In the Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Hi, all! I'm fairly new to raising chickens and I'm very worried for one of my girls. I have a year old Buff Orpington who is usually the most energetic and entertaining of my small three hen family. However, for the last two days, she's been lethargic and has a decrease in appetite (I first knew something was up when she didn't come sprinting full speed for treats). She has found a spot in the yard and has been lying there most of the day isolated from the other two. Her comb and waddles appear normal in color and she seems alert to her surroundings. I added some electrolytes to her water (not that I've seen her drink any) and gave her a warm soak earlier in case she is egg bound and have been trying to monitor her poop but so far I haven't seen any from her. I plan on giving her Wazine for worms as the woman who sold her to me noted that she has not been wormed yet. I'm just having trouble figuring out what can be the cause to her change in behavior and what I should do to treat her (Google searches are just giving me more anxiety than answers). Is there anything else I can do to help her or can someone help me figure out what is causing her change in behavior? She's very dear to me and it makes me sad seeing her like this. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Brooke
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Feel of her crop to see if it is empty, or if it is full and firm, or puffy. Pick her up, note any weight loss by feeling her breast bone and muscle mass, and feel her lower belly for fullness. Look her over for lice and mites especially under her vent area, and under wings and around neck. Offer her the water and electrolytes often with a cup or scoop. Egg, tuna, or liver are good snack, and wet feed sometimes will appeal to them. Has she been recently laying? Can you glove up and insert a finger into her vet to check for stusk egg?
     
    Cyprus likes this.
  3. Kailey the Animal Lover

    Kailey the Animal Lover Chirping

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    Mar 13, 2018
    I think she may be egg-bound. I suggest you quarantine her for a day or two to see if she poops or not. She could be a premature layer, lack of calcium, excess protein, obesity, oviduct infection, internal parasites, or just plain old bad genes. Soak her in a tub with ebson salts for 20 minutes. Dry her of an GENTLY rub a small amount of oil around her vent and massage it once more. put her in a dark quiet room for one day. Good luck!!
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Hi

    I would not worm her unless you are more sure worms are the issue. Firstly wazine will not treat all worms and secondly, if she is sick with something else, pumping chemicals into her system that will not help her illness could make her worse.

    Give her a thorough examination.
    Check her crop. Is it full or empty? If full check again in the morning before she has access to food. If it is not empty then you can infer that there is a blockage in her digestive tract somewhere. Does her breath smell bad?
    Feel her breast bone. Does it feel sharp under the skin or does it feel well padded? If sharp she may well benefit from being brought into the warmth of the house. If she feels quite light, like a bag of bones (feathers can hide such a lot of issues) she may also need a heat source, particularly if she has not been eating today. If she feels excessively heavy that would indicate possible ascites....check her belly... see below.
    Also feel her abdomen. Does it feel swollen between her legs or around her vent? Use a cupped hand to assess this and compare to other chickens at roosting time.
    Check her vent. Does it look swollen? Is it pulsing? Is it soiled?

    Isolating her will enable you to monitor her food intake and poop. A photo of the hen and her poop may help us determine the problem along with any observations you make about the above checks. Also any vet should be able to check her poop for worm burden and coccidiosis and possibly an infection. Whilst many vets will not see chickens, doing a faecal float test on chicken poop is the same as for cats and dogs so they should be able to perform that for you without seeing the hen and the cost should not be too high. Her in the UK there are labs that offer a mail order service for this and I believe there are similar facilities in the US if that is where you are located. Cost is typically about £10 here. A vet may charge 20-30.

    Chickens generally hide illness until they are too weak and sick to keep up with the flock, so it is likely she has been ill for some time, in which case it is important to figure out the problem and try to treat it rather than just pumping medicines like wormer into her to see if it will help and then have to start thinking what else it might be and getting medication for that. If you have access and funds for an avian vet, then that would be advisable.
     
    Eggcessive likes this.
  5. Onkachonk

    Onkachonk In the Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Thank you all for your advice. After not feeling anything when checking for an egg and seeing her gradually get worse, I decided to take her to an avian vet. They told me she has an infection and inflammation in her reproductive tract. We were given antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory and she's looking more like her usual self already. Thanks again for all your advice and support. Just one of the many reasons I love being part of the BYC community!
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Glad that you saw a vet. Reproductive problems, such as internal laying, salpingitis, egg yolk peritonitis, and others are very common and cause most hen deaths. Antibiotics usually won’t cure these problems, but may extend the life. I have had many hens over the age of two that have had those signs. I have not done necropsies on all, but have seen a lot of ascites, and many consistent with internal laying. Hopefully, your hen will fill better soon. Many of mine have lived 2 or more years with those symptoms.
     
    rebrascora likes this.

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