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problem with hen

carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
edited November 2006 in Poultry Health and Welfare
Hi everyone! I have a rhode island red hen and she is about a 1 1/2 years old. Today i noticed that she was lying on the ground outside. Of course i paniced and ran out there. She couldnt stand up and i tried to pick her up but she just kept on falling over. I noticed also that she probebly hasnt moved for sometime because there was very watery droppings behind her on the leaves. I didnt know what to do so...i ran inside got a towel picked her up and held her in my arms,and sat down in the sun trying to warm her up. Its kinda cold out where i live and she was shivering alittle.She would close her eyes and look at me like what was i doing. We are pretty close and i am kinda a mother figure to her because i raised her since a chick and she always runs to me when i call her..She did eat some grass that i gave to her and she pecked at my jacket so she wasnt lethargic. Im not sure whats going on.

About two weeks ago i did have alittle scare because i thought that one of my birds had mites, and after dusting her and their coop i found out that she was just molting. Now all the birds are starting to do the same. The one that i thought had mites in the first place...has grown back almost all her feathers and the others are still pulling some of their feathers out but i can see new ones growing.They are all about the same age so i guess i expected the others to end up molting soon too. But other than that this hen of mine is really worrying im not sure what to do..I dont know if i should take her inside or whatever. I tried calling different vets but all they can say is we dont know anything about chickens only cats and dogs, and the other was like "well i wouldnt expect her to live long because poultry usually end up getting little dieases that come quickly." So, right now she is in the coop wrapped up in blanket and soon i will close up the coop with the other birds in there...im trying to get my heat lamp to work but its not working-so that sucks...Let me know what you think i should do, anyone. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

Comments

  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    I'm sure there will be more expert suggestions than mine - but if I were you I'd bring her into the house where she doesn't have to expend energy to stay warm. A box with shavings with a hay nest might work (for the night). I would offer her favorite foods and grit. Mine like salt free canned corn and bread. Feel her crop to make sure it's not huge, hard and impacted - you may have to get flax seed oil into her if that's the case (it's worked for my hen). Is the liquid behind her parts of an egg? Maybe be an internal problem. Mine have acted similarly when trying to pass a soft egg. Definately don't let her be around the others - they act on instinct and could peck her to death because she's weak. Please keep us posted and good luck, Henmom
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    Because you have only just noticed this bird being sick.. you probably don't know any more symptoms.. but without them we really can't help you all that much

    Do as Henmom has suggested...

    To be honest by the sounds of her she is close to death..maybe a couple of days..
    Keeping her dry and clean and warm.. remove the feathers from her vent area.. cut them away.. don't cut right to the skin.. leave 1 cm of the feather..

    Don't make up a nest in the box.. she won't be able to eliminate... put her on a heat pad if you have one.. they use them to strike seedlings... if you don't just keep her on a couple of old towls.. on a warm surface in a warm area..

    Is she still eating and drinking if you sit her up

    If she is falling to one side all the time.. put two towls either side of her but not at her rear... to help keepher upright

    If you can tell us any more about her symptoms

    Feel her crop.. is is hard or soft..

    Is she doing any droppings.. if yes.. what do they look like.. color etc.. be graphic

    Is she eating

    Is she drinking

    What do you feed them

    Hang in there
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006

    If you can tell us any more about her symptoms...

    Feel her crop.. is is hard or soft..


    I felt it and it feels hard and i remember that i had tried scattering oyster shells on the ground near her feed maybe she ate too much im not sure.

    Is she doing any droppings.. if yes.. what do they look like.. color etc.. be graphic

    She has very watery droppings they are a gray-ish color and its alittle hard to tell because she is on shavings and the shavings pretty much soak it all up. They are not very hard at all. I also took your advice and moved her inside. She is in a wooden box in my bathroom and is doing alright.

    Is she eating
    She is eating. She eats the grower cal. layer pellets i usually feed them and i also brought in clovers that she loves. I cooked up some frozen corn and she ate it all up.

    Is she drinking
    Yes. I also put some electrolyte/vitiman supplement stuff in her water and she drinks it fine out of a ceramic dish i brought in there for her

    What do you feed them
    Grower Cal. Layer Pellets
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    :D She sounds better? Is she standing/walking? I wonder if you could take her temp - I believe around 103F is normal and 113F is high/near death. The fact that she's eating is a great sign to me!!! Good luck! Henmom
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    Yea she is doing good. Its just so weird that this happened so fast. I am still very concerned about her not being able to walk. She still can not stand up and she has been able to move alittle bit, but struggles very much. She stretches up alittle using her wings for balance whenever i come in there to visit her. She is so special and i hope i dont lose her. I called this clinic today- and obviously they are closed but i left a message and will call again tommorow. Hopefully they can help.But overall- im just glad she is eating and drinking:)
  • valerievalerie Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    Several years ago I had a white leghorn rooster that couldn't walk. He would eat, drink, etc. At night I would bring him in the house so coyotes, skunks, etc. couldn't get him. I took him to our vet and he said he had lead poisoning. He was so use to the routine..he started crowing in utility room in the mornings...ready to go to his 'girls'..haha He got a little better before he passed on. The vet said it was something he had gotten a drink out of that wasn't (I think he said) galvanized???? Just a thought
  • crazychickcrazychick Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    A few things to note- when you say her crop is hard, is it HUGE and hard or just normal mandarin-orange-to-golfball sized? The concern is that her crop may not be working. However, if she is still eating then I'd suspect that she is feeling hungry and her crop is working fine. If you have suspicions, take food (not water) away from her for 8-12 hours (overnight) and check her crop first thing in the morning. If it is empty or near empty, then her crop is working fine. If you put her on a heating pad, be very very very careful that you don't overheat her or burn her as they get quite hot, even on low. If she can't move very well then you may overheat her. Lastly, temperature isn't a great way to tell what's wrong with them usually, as their temperature falls within a range and many diseases that are common don't cause an increase in temperature. So, taking temperature is fine and gives you more info to work with but may not give you a lot to work with. Right now, I'd look for breaks or sprains in her legs (manipulate her legs and watch her reaction). Check her over for bruises and also the bottoms of her feet for swelling. Because there is a possibility that she may have a viral disease called Mareks, which causes paralysis, I'd keep her separated, as has been suggested and bump up her vitamins to help heal nerves- vitamin E especially. Not a bad idea to offer her 5 aspirin per gallon of water to help with any inflammation around the nerves (if that is what is causing the paralysis) and if you take her to the vet, ask about putting her on a mild dose of metacam (0.1 mg/kg) to see if that makes a difference. Metacam is an anti inflammatory/painkiller as well. Don't give the aspirin and the metacam at the same time - one or the other. Don't give up on her yet- sometimes birds can go through a spell of paralysis and recover and as long as she is still bright and eating, give her a chance. I had one that was completely paralyzed for 2 weeks and gradually recovered. She's still alive today, 6 years later.

    Good luck with her,

    Laura
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    Thanks for all your input! I know i wont give up on her she is just so unique. I am going to call the vet tommorow and see what happens. Hopefully, things get better all i can do is hope for the best.
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    That is all great advice - I hope the vet has some easy answers. Yes, I know body temp isn't enough to make a diagnosis - just covering a base. Good luck, Henmom
  • crazychickcrazychick Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    It is still a good idea to check body temp, Henmom- you are very right. Fever usually strikes when the bird has an acute bacterial or (some) viral condition, but in my experience, a bird that is chronically ill and/or nearing death actually has a lower than normal body temp as the systems start to slow down. That's the only reason I don't entirely rely on body temp as an indicator, but as you said, it's good to cover all your bases. The more info that you have for your vet, the better off you'll be, right?

    Laura
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    I agree with you - and think you give excellent advice. I hope the vet had some answers for her. I like success stories! Henmom
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    Hello guys! Yea...had a bit of a scare yesterday before i had to go to work yesterday. She looked like she was overheating. I opened the window in the bathroom and picked her up out of the box. She had her mouth open and i got some fresh, cold water in a little bowl and showed it to her. She didnt want anything to do with it. I also noticed that she was losing feathers. They were just falling out. I felt her comb and it was burning up. I wasnst sure what to do so i started to pour some water on her face and lifted some of her feathers to drip some water on her neck. I had alittle baby bottle thing and put some water in it and dripped it onto her beck and she swallowed some of it. I cooked up some corn and soaked it in cool water and she ate it so, that was good. She lost alot of her feathers thoguh and so that was wicked stressful. She was breathing rather strange too so i was a mess last night. I do have an appointment with a doctor that specializes in exotic animals such as chickens-and other birds. Around 1-ish i have to leave to get there for 2- i have no idea where this place is so hopefully i get there on time. I did mapquest so that should help. Its at Tufts University so i have some hope that they have the knowledge of what i should do and whats wrong with her. I will keep you all updated.
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    They have an excellent reputation - they should know what is wrong. Poor hot baby - she's got to survive after going through all this. I would suggest not putting the heating pad in her box - you won't want her to lose any more feathers. I bet room temp is fine. Thanks so much for the update. She is in our prayers - you both are! Henmom
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    Well, the vet visit was stressful. He couldnt tell what was wrong with her just by lookinh at her. She had some x-rays done and she also had some blood work done, and the results will be ready by tommorow. They had to put her under an anestic (not sure if thats how you spell it.) to do the x-ray and blood work and when they do that they put a breathing tube down her throat but when they brought it back up they noticed some secretion on it- almost like pus? so she has a possible infection or respiratory illness going on in there. Hopefully the blood test will tell me more information so i can do something about it. He basically said go to your closest farm-feed store and pick up some antibotics to put in her water. Pretty much $360 later i still dont even have the info of what is wrong and my Elsie is still not better. Alittle disapointing :(
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    Ugh, I am so disusted by vet stories lately. That respiratory infection sounds serious enough for IM injections - I think the water may be too mild. Gotta hear from the experienced group members. That's a serious bill too - it sounds like he lacks compassion for your situation. How sad this all is - but she's alive, and you've fought hard to save her. I guess we're a little closer to knowing what's happening - gotta get her on antibiotics. Does anyone know if paralysis and respiratory infections are related? I'm sure someone else has great insight to share. I will double check but seem to remember Tylan is the best antibiotic for respiratory infections. My heart aches for you and I hope you can remain strong. Hang in there!! Henmom
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    I am feeling very sorry for you ... sounds like your bird is very sick.. she sounds like she has a respiratory infection.. probably a crop fungal infection and being off her legs is not a good sign that things will improve

    A throat swab.. this is what would have told them more than anything..

    Not a lot I can add ... did they give you anything to help her .. any antibotics to hold back the progress of what she may have.. anything at all for thier $360... a little dissapointing.. I think I would be a bit more agressive towards them than that

    If this was my hen I would be giving her Tylan 200 injection IM.. twice a day
    I would be giving her Nystatin 1.5ml twice a day for 2 weeks
    I would be giving her Flagyl once a day also

    And I would be feeding her a Rickets diet to keep her protein level and intestine and calcium levels up

    And feeding her a soft diet for the rest of the day ...

    Lots of fresh clean water

    I tend not to muck around with vets.. most if they are not Avian vets don't know anything about chickens... even avian vets find it difficult to treat a chicken... they class them as exotic birds... imagine that .. chickens being exotic..
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    yea it definatly was a disapointment yesterday. He was a avian specialist but for exotic animals. I have a feeling he didnt really know what he was talking about. Eh... yea..she is still in the bathroom. She is trying to fly out of the box i have her in... at least i know her wings work- but her legs wont help her. Ive been giving her frozen corn heated up and she doesnt want her pellet food. I put some greens from outside in her water dish- that seems to get her to drink it. I will try to find those meds that you mentioned Sandy. Hopefully things will get better for her-and ill will try to find that rickets diet thing you mentioned also.
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    Oh good I was praying Sandy would come to the rescue! :) So her strength seems better - trying to walk? Elsie's lucky to have you!! The vet you saw should be able to get those meds for you - and Sandy's treatment sounds very good, I hope results will be seen quickly.
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    Just double checking - are you offering her grit to help digest the treats? Very important that she has small rocks (1/4 of a kernal of corn - sized) so she benefits from the nutritious food!! :p
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    Rickets diet

    mix up 2 to 4 tablespoons of rolled oats
    2 tablespoons of yoghurt.. cultured one.. not the one with sugar or fruit in it
    2 tablespoons of grated apple
    2 tablespoons of grated carrot
    cook 1 egg.. use the yolk only.. crumble it into the mixture
    1 very small teaspoon of honey
    a few grains of multi vitamin powder.. grains not grams... a little goes a long long way
    1 tablespoon of tin beef cat food

    Mix all together.. make sure it isn't runny ... but soft... so she can eat it ok

    Put this out for her in the mornings to eat... you may need to give it a mix up to break it up .. sometimes it packs down...

    When its gone.. mix up some of the layer pellets.. with hot milk and grated apple.. no corn

    make into a hot mash for the bird to eat ... once again not sloppy.. but hot and wet .. but not hot enough to burn her mouth or tongue... put fresh clean water close by for her to drink.. in a low dish not a high one she won't be able to reach it

    put these formulas into low dishes also so she can actually sit and eat rather than try to stand to eat

    Please let me know how she responds to this ... put her out so she can stretch her wings and check that her vent is clear of any droppings.. if she can't eleiminate then she won't eat

    Prop her up each side with some towls if you need to or just hold her while she eats.. don't allow her to fall to her side and stay there..
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    Thank you for that recipe i will give it a try. I went to my feed store the other day and was talking to them and they were saying something about how chickens crops are much more bigger and profound then other birds like parrots and she thinks that the secretion that they found on the tube was just some of the food that she had eaten earlier..lol...imagine that. WE also looked in this book that they have there and some of the symptons she is having can result in not getting enough vitiman d3 and phosphorus... One of the ladies actually told me she had a really healthy, active hen and one day she was just laying there and she said that she had had a stroke...not sure if this is a possibilty? so we looked at some of the stuff she could eat and one of the things they said worked good was beansprouts. So i picked up some of that and alfafa and added some spinich to give her some greens. I also picked up some millet and put that in alittle bowl in there for her. I then put some crushed oyster shells in a little bowl as well near her if she wants it, and of course water with some electrolytes in it... She is in a bigger enclosure now and is near a window- so the light shines in and i open the window for her during the day.. Im thinking about letting her go ouside for a little bit each day...i just dont want to torture her by bringing her back in...:(
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    I was just going to ask you for an Elsie update! :) That's encouraging! Now, does she have any respiratory signs? Sneezing, runny nose etc? If so I would give her the Tylan - at least in the water. But if not, maybe she does have a nutritional issue. Any better in the legs? Still eating and pooping well? How are her spirits? And yours?? I like the idea of getting her out into the fresh air and access to a dirt bath. That will give her something to look forward to each day. Thanks for keeping us informed. Henmom
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    Hey Sandy (Or somebody else with vitamin expertise!)- should she try cod liver oil in the food?
  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    If she was my bird I would give the Ricket diet for a week and see if there was any improvement

    With this diet your giving the birds ... calcium.... Vitamin D (same as cod liver oil.. henmom.. this is why I didn't include it as it is already included).

    If she is not showing any signs that she has a respiratory infection then don't give any Tylan medication to her ... it will lessen the effect when she is sick.. but if you do suspect any even a little bit of respiratory problem happening.. get that medication into her before it takes a hold on her ... Tylan soluable is a good one

    Antibiotics – Terramycin or Tylosin (Tylan), or erythromycin (Gallimycin) will help to treat the C.R.D (respiratory infection)


    When you put her outside if she can't walk be very careful leaving her alone.. anything can get to her .. including ants, predators on 4 legs and in the air.. and chilling under her .. also blow flies
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    How's Miss Elsie doing? Hope you are seeing an improvement. Henmom
  • carrotface818carrotface818 Junior Member
    edited November 2006
    Well, today was Elsie's first visit outside since the ordeal. She did good. I put her inside her regular enclosure and the others reacted nasty-ly, i really thought they wouldnt. It was frustrating because then i knew for sure she wouldnt be safe outside the pen. So, i brought her up on a slight hill- right near our woodshed, which is right next to some of the fencing to their enlcosure. I sat her down and she immediatly started pecking at the ground. Eating grass and looking about. The wood shed was right behind her so i trusted that being close to a building or large object would make her less of a target for a hawk or something. Anywho- She did good. I sat with her for a bit and she fell asleep a couple of times probebly due to the gentle heat of the sun. It was a great day to be outside. What was funny was that the other birds came up to the fence and laid down as close as they could to it- and Elsie did the same. I didnt let her get too close though because i didnt want them to peck at her. I thought it was really neat how much they are bonded. I wish i could let her in there, but its probebly best for both of them. I honestly think Elsie did have a stroke from what the people at my feed store said it just seems the most likelyist. I also noticed that her open-mouth breathing stopped. Im not sure if being inside made her stressed or hot? Not sure, but it stopped. I planned on using my mothers gardening shed for her sleep place at night. I put a big cardboard box in there and thats where she will sleep. Tommorow i will be building her own enclosure. Ill keep you updated
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited November 2006
    It does sound like a possible stroke. Have you ever seen the slings made for animals without use of their legs? You could make one. Kind of like a hammock - but low enough that the can touch the ground. The legs dangle through holes.Just a thought because if she lies on her legs and breast all day she runs the risk of pressure sores. Poor thing - but I'm so happy that you are willing and have the care to make her life happier. It's sweet that she obviously misses her friends and they miss her. Perhaps this will not be forever - we're praying for that. But if so she has a great caring mom. Have her feathers stopped falling out?
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