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Sick hen

codebunny107codebunny107 Junior Member
edited October 2006 in Poultry Health and Welfare
I keep four chickens, one of which I have had to cull because it was in obvious distress. The symptoms were:

Loss of appetite
Pale comb
Half closed eyes
Semi collapse
Loss of control over wings

Does anyone have any idea which disease might cause these symptoms and if it is likely to spread to the other birds?

All advice appreciated.

CB107

Comments

  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    The symptoms you have described are those of any sick bird

    1. What are the droppings like ... color... consistency... urates yes or no

    2. What do you feed the birds

    3. Was the bird still eating and drinking

    4. How long was the bird sick before you culled her

    5. Any swelling of the head or face area

    6. Is the crop emptying over night or still remaining full in the morning

    7. Have you introduced any new birds to the flock within the last few weeks

    8. What has the weather been like

    9. Have you ever wormed your birds.. if yes.. when and with what

    10. Do you have any medications on hand .. if no.. can you get some if you need them

    Lets go with these questions first.. then we might be able to figure out what is happening to your little flock ok
  • codebunny107codebunny107 Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    The symptoms you have described are those of any sick bird

    1. What are the droppings like ... color... consistency... urates yes or no

    Brown and fairly soild

    2. What do you feed the birds

    Corn and the odd baked potato

    3. Was the bird still eating and drinking

    No

    4. How long was the bird sick before you culled her

    I am a bit vague here but I think a week

    5. Any swelling of the head or face area

    None

    6. Is the crop emptying over night or still remaining full in the morning

    I don't know what you mean

    7. Have you introduced any new birds to the flock within the last few weeks

    No

    8. What has the weather been like

    Wet and cloudy

    9. Have you ever wormed your birds.. if yes.. when and with what

    I have never done this

    10. Do you have any medications on hand .. if no.. can you get some if you need them

    None on hand

    Lets go with these questions first.. then we might be able to figure out what is happening to your little flock ok
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    The crop.. is the stomach of the birds.. it is about 2 to 3 inches down the neck and hangs to one side ... when it is full it feels like a hard ball.. when it is empty you can only feel the sac maybe with a few grains in it .. but it feels empty..

    If it feels hard in the morning before they have eaten.. then the birds probably have a crop problem.. = Crop impaction or Canker

    If it feels soft and gritty with lots of fluid in it and squishy.. then the bird probably has a crop problem = Sour Crop or Pendulous Crop or Canker

    Corn has no nourishment in it for the birds at all.. it only puts on weight

    I strongly suggest you get some layer pellets and slowly introduce them to the birds.. maybe mixing some hot water with the pellets and corn and feeding as a wet mash.. this makes the mixture crumbly not wet or sloppy

    They also need green feed
    They also need oyster shell for the calcium for egg production
    They also need grit to help them digest their food

    Your bird may have died from
    Lack of nutrition... starvation.. even if the bird was heavy or fat.. potatoes and corn give the birds no real nourishment at all

    It may have also had Rickets.. due to lack of [FONT=&quot]vitamin D3, calcium and/or phosphorus, making the bird use the calcium in its own skelatal structure to produce eggs.. so the bird would have become unable to stand and support its own weight .. finally falling to one side and unable to get up .. there fore unable to eat or drink and die

    It may have had something else wrong with it .. with a lack on vitamins and minerals in its diet.. many birds die from deficiencies

    I'm sorry I can't be more specific .. but the symptoms and replies to my questions have not given me a lot to work with

    The best advice I can give you is this

    Change over your feed to a more nutritious feed .. suitable for laying birds.. but do it slowly .. don't change it over night.. take at least a month to change over

    Start giving green feed in the diet ...

    And if any other of your birds get sick this is formula that you should have in your cupboards.. or easily get at your local shop to help the bird to re build if Rickets is the problem

    If you notice any birds ailing .. I would strongly suggest you make this up and give it to them

    [/FONT] Modified Rickets diet for energy

    “” This amount feed one bird””

    Feed the birds once a day for three days or until you feel the bird is looking and acting better

    I like to feed this to my sick birds for at least 3 weeks

    Start feeding your birds this formula please: First thing in the morning.. also have her ordinary feed and fresh clean water available at all times: if it has not been fully eaten with in 12 hours throw it out... make another one the next morning.. don't add to it.. clean out the dish it was in also before adding the new mixture

    Each serving consists of

    ½ to 1 x cooked egg yolk… crumbled into mixture….. give the whites to the other hens mixed into their seed or pellets (depends a lot on the size of the egg yolk)

    1 teaspoon honey…. .given for energy, only a small teaspoon

    2 x tablespoons yoghurt…. Given for calcium and also to make the intestine go back into normal production (¼ teaspoon calcium powder if you can’t get the yoghurt), but I would prefer if you could get the yoghurt – the one with no sugar or fruit .. it must be if possible the one with the active ingredient in it

    2 to 4 tablespoons rolled oats…. To give substance to the feed, and they are easily digested by the bird also putting less stress on its system

    1 dessertspoon of beef tin cat food…… Not dog food …… the bird needs extra protein not carbs

    A few grains of multi vitamin powder (only if you are not already giving it to them in their drinking water, don’t overdose) it is very strong.. so only a few grains into the mixture is needed – do not put a large pinch or a teaspoon you will overdose the bird and make it sick

    2 tablespoons of grated apple.. do not just cut it up .. it must be grated for easy digestion…. Apple is really good for any ailing bird, grated apple that is

    Mix to make a crumble mixture not runny, if you have to roll into pellets and force feed, and then gently massage the neck in a downward motion to get it down into the crop, then do it, the bird may be too weak to eat or have lost the desire to eat….

    Don’t hold back….

    The longer it goes without the worse it will get

    If the bird is not drinking by itself:– only give drops onto the beak or use the crop tube to get fluids down the throat, don’t try and pour any fluid down a chickens throat, it will more than likely go into the air passage and into the lungs and end up drowning the bird

    Always have fresh clean water available at all time for the bird and good quality food

    The egg yolk will give vitamin D

    The bird will be lacking in protein due to sickness.. they leach all their own proteins from their system.. by adding a dessertspoon of cat food (not dog food) tin / beef .. this is help to replace this loss and help in the healing process
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Rickets

    Rickets can occur in young birds due to insufficient vitamin D3, calcium and/or phosphorus. Commercial feeds and supplements provide these nutrients, but if they are over-diluted the birds will not get enough. Birds can synthesize their own vitamin D, to a certain extent, with exposure to sunlight.

    A deficiency of any of these nutrients can also lead to problems with egg-laying birds. Egg production may be reduced and/or the quality of the egg shell may be poor. In severe cases hens may be afflicted with a disease called cage-layer fatigue (brittle-bone disease, osteoporosis). As indicated by the name, this disease is not usually found in birds raised on the floor.

    Rickets (hypocalcaemic)
    Introduction
    Vitamin D deficiency or phosphorus/calcium imbalance is seen in chickens, turkeys and ducks worldwide.

    Signs

    Lameness.
    Hock swelling.
    Soft bones and beak. - sometimes
    Birds go off legs.
    Poor growth.
    Birds rest squatting
    Or lay on their sides unable to stand
    Reduction in bodyweight.
    Post-mortem lesion

    Bones soft and rubbery.
    Epiphyses of long bones enlarged.
    Beading and fracture of ribs.
    Growth plates widened and disorganised.
    Beak soft.
    Parathyroids enlarged.
    Diagnosis
    History, signs, lesions. Differentiate from Encephalomalacia, Femoral Head Necrosis.

    Treatment
    Over-correct ration with three times vitamin D for 2 weeks, or Vitamin D or 25-hydroxy vitamin D in drinking water.

    Prevention
    Supplementation of vitamin D, proper calcium and phosphorus levels and ratio, antioxidants.

    Web Sites:
    http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/factsheet.html
    http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/factsheets/31.html


    http://idis.ifas.ufl.edu/BODY_PS044
    http://www.agr.gov.sk.ca/DOCS/livestock/poultry/Nutrition.asp?firstPick=Livestock&secondpick=Poultry&thirdpick=Null
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/DiseaseInfo/Default.asp?Display=123



    My Treatment is this


    “” This amount feed one bird””

    Feed the birds three times a day for three days a mixture of

    This mixture is what you will need for the entire three feeds…. It is not 3 egg yolks and 3 teaspoons of honey etc…. divide the contents into three

    ½ to 1 x egg yolk….. give the whites to the other hens mixed into their seed or pellets (depends a lot on the size of the egg yolk)
    1 teaspoon honey…. .given for energy
    2 x tablespoons yoghurt…. Given for calcium and also to make the bowel go back into normal production after this upset
    ¼ teaspoon calcium powder (if you can’t get the yoghurt)
    3 to 4 tablespoons rolled oats…. To give substance to the feed
    Sprinkle of multi vitamin powder (only if you are not already giving it to them in their drinking water, don’t overdose)

    Mix to make a crumble mixture not runny, if you have to roll into pellets and force feed, and then massage the neck to get it down, the bird may be too weak to eat or have lost the desire to eat…. Don’t hold back…. The longer it goes without this the worse it will get

    If you must give it something to drink – only give drops onto the beak or use the crop tube to get fluids down the throat, don’t try and pour any fluid down a chickens throat, it will more than likely go into the air passage and into the lungs and end up drowning the bird


    You can use different ingredients if you wanted to
    A D & E Powder
    Mixed with 1 teaspoon honey
    Rolled into a few rolled oats make into pellets and force fed


    Or

    ¼ teaspoon calcium powder (instead of yoghurt)
    ¼ teaspoon cod liver oil (instead of egg yolk)
    1 x teaspoon honey
    rolled oats
    mixed with milk to make into a crumble or make into pellets to be force fed

    What ever way you decided to go the reason is to give the bird a large dose of Vitamin D, C and A

    After 3 days cut back to once a day for 2 weeks, you should notice the difference in 3 or 4 days

    Give other food also, chick crumbles, grower crumbles or layer pellets depending on the age of the bird etc

    Also have fresh water at all times for the birds to drink in easy reach, remember it is not well so it may not go looking for the food and water, so put it just about under its nose so it can’t miss it




    http://www.angelfire.com/med3/poultrylovers
    Rickets- Affecting young chickens; brought on by a vitamin deficiency of Vitamin D & Calcium. Symptoms include weakness and crippling. Prevention is by proper nutrition. There is no known treatment at this time.


    Rickets

    Rickets can occur in young birds due to insufficient vitamin D3, calcium and/or phosphorus. Commercial feeds and supplements provide these nutrients, but if they are over-diluted the birds will not get enough. Birds can synthesize their own vitamin D, to a certain extent, with exposure to sunlight.

    A deficiency of any of these nutrients can also lead to problems with egg-laying birds. Egg production may be reduced and/or the quality of the egg shell may be poor. In severe cases hens may be afflicted with a disease called cage-layer fatigue (brittle-bone disease, osteoporosis). As indicated by the name, this disease is not usually found in birds raised on the floor.
    References
    Agriculture Canada, 1991. Raising chicken and turkey broilers in Canada. Publication 1860/E.
    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, February 1989. Ascites in meat-type chickens caused by right heart failure. Agdex 451/662.
    Saskatchewan Agriculture and The University of Saskatchewan, 1987. Guide to Farm Practice in Saskatchewan.
    Reference: http://www.gov.sk.ca/agfood/live/poultry.htm
  • codebunny107codebunny107 Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    I should have made it clear that I mix the corn with layers mash and that there is always a supply of oyster shell/ grit. In addition they have the opportunity to scratch around for worms etc, eat green stuff be it grass, cabbage or lettuce and are regularly given bacon rinds and the like (other than chicken meat!).

    I also had the chickens checked by a vet earlier this year when they had a skin problem and he commented that they were in excellent health. So even speaking as a novice I'm sure my chicken didn't starve to death and is unlikely to have had rickets.

    I will probably never know what the problem was but thanks for your advice.
  • crazychickcrazychick Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Hi,

    Looking at the symptoms, I would guess that it is possible that your hens probably had either lymphoid leukosis, egg binding or botulism, depending on how quickly the symptoms came on. If the bird lost weight and lost condition over a week to a month, gradually losing appetite and getting a pale comb (can indicate anaemia due to tumors taking up blood supply), only losing ability to walk in the last few days, I would guess that it was LL, which is a type of cancer caused by a retrovirus (moderately contagious). If the bird went from perky one day to draggy wings, loss of appetite, puckering vent (often with clear liquid dripping from it), pale comb (indicates either shock or internal bleeding) where it had normally been bright red because she had been laying well and the bird was easy to pick up, despite not normally being this way, then I'd suspect egg-binding, which usually kills within 24 hours from pain and shock. Lastly, if the bird was not actively laying and went from normal to sick within a few hours as well, with weakening legs, then weak wings, sometimes weak neck (or drooling), complete loss of appetite- comb color doesn't usually change much - it could have been botulism. Botulism and egg binding sound similar, but if you see a bird suffering from one or the other, it is pretty obvious what is wrong with them. Egg bound hens usually have their tail either straight up in the air (with wings dragging beside, eyes closed, vent puckering) or tail down, with feathers fluffed, lethargic and no desire to move.

    Without an autopsy, you won't know for sure, but just to be sure, keep the hens away from any rotting vegetation (such as a compost pile), pick up and dispose of dead mice and if you have a hen that you suspect has botulism, we can show you how to give an acitivated charcoal flush. If you suspect egg-binding, liquid calcium, given orally, and supportive care is the best way to go. If it is LL then there is nothing you can do and don't collect eggs from the affected hen to hatch as the chicks will probably hatch with the disease (or get the disease shortly after hatching).

    Laura
  • codebunny107codebunny107 Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    Thanks for the obvious trouble you have taken in writing your reply.

    CB107
  • jakelabjakelab Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    I too have had the same problem -with a sick chicken. At first we treated her for worms as her pooh was indicating that- she seemed to recover then went down hill quickly- we then noticed that her breath smelt and gave her natural yogurt just in case she had sour crop. However, she went bad again and we took her to the vet where they checked her and she has Coccidiosis.
    She has had a course of injections and we will see wjhat happens
  • omiwanomiwan Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    Hi Sandy! I found the information you gave VERY useful. I thank you for taking the time to try to help. You are soooo knowledgeable.....

    omi
    :)
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Thanks Omi...
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