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Yellow skin on lethargic, not eating, young pullet/hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bocktobery 10, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2010
    Hi,

    I hope you can help me. I have a sick bird. My first. I hope to get her healthy again. She is very sweet!

    I noticed about two weeks ago that she was getting lighter when I picked her up. Then a week ago, I noticed that she wasn't eating as much as the other birds. She seemed to just stand off to the side and watch the others eat. I also noticed at this time, she was getting picked on, so I thought perhaps she was just doing the chicken hierarchy thing, being the last and staying out of the picture until the others had their fill. She seems to be getting more sleepy and more lethargic. She seems happy otherwise- she doesn't seem depressed to me... I can't explain it but her 'personality' is the same as it ever has been. For instance, she will groom herself. I thought for a while I was overreacting until today when trying to examine her some more, I found that she has bright yellow skin. I felt this was a big sign that something is indeed wrong. I'm wondering, do chickens get yellow skin when they have liver failure? I'm wondering if her problem is organ failure or a genetic issue.

    She is ,as far as I know, not laying eggs yet. There is one other chicken that is large and healthy (a rhode island red) that is not laying either. I got them all at the same time in May of this year (2010).

    I cannot feel a crop. She has become so thin that I can start to feel that bone in the front of her chest.

    Her breath does not smell, nor does her poo, nor does her body anywhere. She smells like a healthy chicken.

    She will eat, but stops after a few morsels full.

    I have not noticed her drinking water..and it does seem as though her comb is dry.

    I have heard her sneeze a few times. I have seen her nose be runny at some times.

    She appears not to have as thick of feathers as the other chickens do, as if she did not grow more for the winter like the other chickens seem to have. As far as I know, they have not molted yet. I've never seen any patch of skin showing on any of my birds.

    I've never treated for worms or any sort of treatment for anything. They have free ranged. They would hang out at the compost pile a lot. I have looked for mites before and found nothing that I could see to indicate a problem. I've used DE in both coops.

    Here is the qeustionaire filled out:

    1) What type of bird , age and weight.
    Barred Rock, born May 15th of this year, I'm guessing about a pound- she is very small, and getting smaller.

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    She is just not eating much at all, not walking around much.. she is still active...not listless, but just not as active as the other chickens. I noticed this got worse when it got very cold. (She seemed to be fine otherwise) I have them in a sheltered shed, so no drafts, but the temps still go low. Its been about 20 to 30 degree F lately. During the day I have a 60 watt bulb on them. I have noticed she also shivers a bit sometimes. She wants to hang out near me at all times. She has not layed an egg yet that I know of, but all but one other hen have.

    3) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    No. BUT her skin is YELLOW!!!! Like the color of lemon drops candy. (She also was born with a crooked toe which has not seemed to bother her at all. Also her eyes are a bit slanted like.) Her comb and wattle have always been more orangy red then red red too. I noticed this a long time ago and posted here about it but figured that she just wasn't of laying age yet and therefore was not regular red.

    4) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    Cold weather. She gets picked on a lot too- her and another chicken who has just started to lay and since has not gotten picked on as much. Also wondering about botulism, or poisoning.. I am not free ranging anymore since the cold weather, (I do not let them out unless it is about 40 degrees F) but I have noticed they have eaten pokeberries a few months ago and also once about 4 months ago they got to some paint chips that possibly might contain lead and which also contained the paint remover Citrus Strip.


    5) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    I feed the chickens Purina Layer Feed in pellet form, Whole Corn, and Oats. I have also fed them scraps of vegetable matter, leftovers. I have fed them some onion and they have eaten onion green outside.. didn't know that was bad for them. They eat it anyway. I've fed them zucchini, rolled oats, yogurt, egg shells and any salad greens.

    6) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    Poop is greenish, with white- somewhat dry looking with a bit of mucus. Tiny poops. Not much substance. I still have a few examples.. will try and post a picture of it if I can.

    7) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    I've brought her in to monitor her for a few hours. She seemed livened up a bit since she was out of the cold. But she is not eating or moving around like a normal bird. I'm going to be bringing her inside to warm her up so that she does not have to deal with cold temps.

    8 ) 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 want to treat myself. I may call a vet but I doubt my vet treats chickens.

    9) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    photos.
    I will try and post a picture of her and her poo.

    10) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    They were in a small coop (4 x 5 x 3 ft) since they were pullets... just recently (2 weeks ago) switched over to a large shed (8 x 12 foot area) I use wheat straw mostly for bedding with a bit of wood chips bought from Tractor Supply mixed in to help dry up the poops. Inside the shed I have built a 'hay hut' with blocks of straw stacked so that they have a structure similar to the small coop they were once sleeping in at night. I did this so that they could have better heat at night.

    Have any ideas as to where to take this?

    All help would be much appreciated. She is a very sweet little chicken. And it will hurt to loose her! I will try and post photos later.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. lilcrow

    lilcrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, my first thought is chickens aren't supposed to have runny noses. That's a sign of some kind of respiratory distress or involvement. Since I don't know where you live, I have no way of knowing how the weather may be playing into this, but if it's anything like Ohio, that plays a big part in chickens getting sick in several different ways, they get cold, we sometimes don't spend as much time with them as we normally do, so we miss things, confinement, ventilation, and on and on. Most folks will tell you that it's important to get a sick bird away from the rest of your birds and in this case, I'd say that would be the case and once she's alone you might be able to discern her symptoms a little better. Just off the top of my head, when I think of runny noses, I think of upper respiratory issues. These respond best to Tylan - IF - you're going to treat with an antibiotic, I use Penicillin for lower infections. I've had good luck with antibiotics and respiratory stuff, but I'm not certain that everyone would recommend this without more conclusive evidence. I don't have a vet that will treat my birds, so I'm on my own. I do however have some folks that are very experienced and I have been very lucky that they have been willing to help me out in the past.
    If you feel the least bit nervous about anything I've said, by all means ask somebody else, or several somebody elses, I don't want to be responsible for steering you wrong or causing your hen further problems.
    Best of luck to you.
     
  3. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
  4. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update about my chicken,....I ended up taking her to the vet this afternoon. The vet examined her and said she looks to still be in good shape. She did comment that the yellow skin was abnormal. She took a fecal sample and had it tested for parasites and from what she could see, there was no evidence of any intestinal parasites. Her suggestion was that we try a round of antibiotics to see what it may do. At this time, without lost of tests and major cost there is not much other than that we can do. She did say that the chicken looked to be in good condition. We both suspect it is organ failure having to do with the liver, but it could be anything really. I hope the anitbiotics will work.

    For now, I have her secluded in a small cage inside the house.

    Many thanks for your replies lilcrow and chkn I appreciate the help so much! I appreciate any advice or suggestions anyone can give. Chkn- I am going to look further into the blood parasite disease. Wish I could find more information about it! I wonder if treating with antibiotics would get rid of it? I will have to do more study.

    If I find anything I will post again. Oh.. and I wont' post the poo pictures because the vet said they were normal- or fairly normal. ???

    Thanks again to all!
     
  5. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oops forgot to say to Chkn... No, I have never treated her for parasites.


    I should also say that she weighs 3 1/2 pounds.. a few more than what I posted.
     
  6. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    I pretty much think all chickens have internal parasites even though the lab tests are non-conclusive. You might consider it as a next step but for now I think the antibiotics is enough so I would wait and see. I've had chickens for years and never treated them for parasites (other than poultry dust) until recently and now they seem healthier than ever. Anyway, we'd love an update when you can...
     
  7. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all and thanks again for your replies.

    Chicken Update: Patient is doing the same, not much change. She is inside the house in a small cage, and I have the room she is in heated up more than the rest of the house just for some added comfort. (We keep our house temps low because of cost of fuel) She seems to be doing a bit better, but it really is hard to tell. She still eats minimally. I would say that her intake of food is no more than 1/4 cup. Her water intake is about the same. In her recent droppings it seems they are more watery brown with white urates (I think that is the word?), although some of her fecal matter is still greenish with the white bit in it. Last night, she actually had a crop to feel! So I guess that is a good sign. I think she is increasing her food intake. Hard to tell since I was not able to monitor her intake while she was in the coop.

    One thing I noticed is that she tends to only eat small bits of food- if the food is in a large or medium sized clump, she is not interested in eating it. She likes the small teeny tiny bits that she can find easily find on the floor. She has now received 4 regular doses (sorry, I forget the size of the dose) of Amoxicillin. Remarkably, and I don't know if this is my wishful thinking or not, her yellow skin seems a bit less yellow, but I think this is just me hoping for the best. She stands all day in her small cage, and lays down intermittently. She is quiet, but fully alert- I would not call her listless, and although I called her lethargic before, I think she is a small step up from that. She will peck at her food for a little bit or peck at the bedding sometimes, but that is about it. (When she pecks at her food, she doesn't really eat it. She just nibbles and lets it drop.) I was worried when last night she seemed to have one of her wings drop- as if tired of holding it. That didn't last long, but I took it as a sign of possible fatigue.

    Is it normal for chickens to pull away their heads if touched near the ear? She seemed to be in discomfort when I touched her around her ears. Not grabbing the head, but just the ball of my finger trying to pet her head. I'm half wondering since she does not act like a seriously ill chicken that she may just have a minor problem that could easily be cleared up with proper and timely treatment. I would discern that her condition is serious only in the fact that she is not eating properly and not moving around as peppy as a normal chicken. Her behavior seems as such as if you had an ill child with the common cold- they just aren't acting themselves, but they aren't acting in a way that would 'say' that death is imminent.

    IS yellow skin on chicken possibly normal? I found a poultry farm online that claims it's chicken is healthy because of its yellow skin. Supposedly they feed them a high corn diet so that they are a very tasty bird. Perhaps my chicken always had yellow skin? Or just prefers to eat only the corn I give her? Maybe the two symptoms of yellow skin and not eating are not related?

    I take her out from time to time and hold and pet her for some comfort and company. She seems to want out of the small cage (I don't blame her!). Overall, she seems less stressed. I think the cold weather outside was too much for her to handle in her condition. She seems at ease in the warmth. When I am away from her, I keep on some classical music or the religious radio station at a low volume. Oddly , she seems to be interested in and seems to enjoy the classical music at times... again, that could just be me imagining things. Just sharing my observations/thoughts.

    I am going to stick with what the vet suggested. If her eating has not increased after 5 days of treatment, I may look into some other treatment (like the parasites dust) or call the vet again about the possibility of her problem being a blood parasite. Thanks chkn for the heads up about the parasite tests.

    I've not been able to find any more information on the Blood Parasite disease Aegyptionellosis... even if she has that, I've never heard of chickens getting a blood transfusion before, which I think is the treatment for such a malady. Without costs going ridiculously high, I don't think there would be much I could do for her if that was her condition.

    That's about it for now. I'll keep posting updates for reference purposes.

    Thanks also for everyones help and concern!

    Happy New Year!
     
  8. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update: Chicken is the same, but seems to be doing ok despite the fact she is still not eating much at all. I even put her outside for a while (we are having some out of season warmer weather these past few days) and she took a dust bath and ate some dirt and small stones. I figured she can't be that sick if she is taking a dust bath. However whatever it is it does seem like she may be bothered internally, like she hurts inside. She doesn't move freely or quickly, but cautiously.

    Two days ago I got her to eat a lot of shrimp (about 12) and the next day she was not interested in it anymore. Just sort of nibbled. Her poo has become very mucusy, like green normal consistency looking poo, only oiled in clear odorless mucus. I think her mucus has increased since giving her the antibiotics. She has also had brown runny poo, the consistency of watered down ketchup- not sticky. She eats about 1/3 cup of food a day now. Not much difference from the 1/4 cup of food from before. She is vocal about wanting out of her cage, but mostly stands all day. Even when I put her outside for a while, she stands a lot, but has begun to be a little more active. Because of the mucus in her poo, I've trimmed her feathers around her vent to help keep her clean back there.

    Her skin is still yellowish.

    While the vet looked (not felt inside) to see if she was egg bound and didn't think that was the problem , I am going to try and just do a vent check just in case... like I've read here before, it may be bound somewhere in the egg track rather than just at the vent. I don't know if that could be felt or helped or not.. Just going to try just in case. She has never laid an egg yet and still has pullet characteristics... She is small and coos a lot like a chick. I have seen her exhibit hierarchy behavior with other chickens during these past few days- I saw her jump up and chest hit another chicken and also two other times hop on top of another. I suspect that the antibiotics are helping her cope a bit and therefore her behavior is peppy, but I am doubting that once the medicine is removed her problem will be solved. So, just going to do a vent check just in case.

    I don't know much about periodontis? (spelling?) (Something to do with egg boundedness) Does anyone know if that can be helped, remedied? Or is that usually a ticket for an early demise of a chicken?


    Thanks in advance.
     
  9. lilcrow

    lilcrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    VERY seriously doubt that she's egg bound. 1. She'd most likely be dead by now. 2. She would have been horribly ill, sat with her head down, unwilling to move, eat, or drink. No, I just don't think this sound anything like being egg bound.
    What kind of chicken is this? You've made reference to her yellow skin many times and I'm just wondering about this, some birds have a yellow tinge or cast to the skin of their faces and the shanks of their legs and bottoms of their feet normally.
     
  10. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi lilcrow,

    She is a Plymouth Barred Rock, about 9 months old. Has not laid yet but has started to exhibit squatting behavior lately.

    When I took her to the vet, the vet noted that she had abnormal yellow skin. She is indeed, everywhere that I looked an either lemony yellow or a golden yellow (like when you cook fried chicken). Her wattle and comb are an orangy color and have always been.. so I just sort of assumed (recently) that perhaps yellow is her normal coloring even if all the other chikens, including one other one that is of her breed, have pink skin.

    Thanks for the assurance that she is not egg bound... I know nothing of that except that it happens and its something to look out for.
     

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