Backyard Poultry Forum

Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and puffy
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Author:  Brever [ Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and puffy

I've looked at a few posts where people have similar issues, usually the problem seems to resolve itself but some have died and the vets don't seem to be coming up with any definitive reason.

My beautiful three year old blue leghorn, Yuki, who is the most affectionate little chicken I've ever had, is suddenly having difficulty walking (I saw her take a few backwards steps due to lack of balance, and when she does walk, it is very slow and unsteady), she also sounds like her breathing is laboured and has a puffy appearance. When I pick her up she goes straight to sleep. She's still eating and drinking, but I'd like to know what is wrong with her so I can do something about it. She is a free ranging chicken who is also fed laying mash and fresh food, so I'm dubious it would be a dietary issue; also the other chicken is fighting fit. The one thing that is concerning me is a small, blue-ish poo near the feed bin, however I have no idea if this belongs to one of my chickens or not; I just recall seeing it thismorning (before she fell ill) and thinking it looked like a bird had eaten snail pellets or some kind of rat poison, which results in blue poo. It looks much smaller than her regular poos and we have other birds which congregate for the leftover chicken feed.

I'm really not financially able to take her to the vet because it sounds like there will be vitamins prescribed as a precaution for these symptoms as well as possibly anti-biotics. And by all accounts, this is not largely a successful investment.

I have ruled out Marecks disease as her eyes are normal and there are no tumors or lesions on her externally.

She had a similar issue about 1-2 years ago when she was laying, and we assumed she was egg-bound and did the "invasive" therapy which did work (we found no egg, but she was 100% 24 hours later). Because she's not laying at the moment, I doubt this would be the same issue? Also, I am really not keen to repeat the "invasive" therapy.

Any advice would be very much appreciated. She is very much a beloved pet and the house would not be the same without her.

File comment: Another healthy shot.
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File comment: Noticing Lucy's funky ponytail.
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File comment: In perfect health.
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Author:  70%cocoa [ Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

She's a lovely chook.

The blue coloured poo is odd but the rest sounds like a possible respiratory infection. When you at that she looks puffy do you mean around the eyes/face?

What's her weight and muscle mass like?

Generally speaking I'd bring a sick chook inside the house so they have a constant temperature, and provide bird vitamins (eg Soluvet in the water) and probably also worm the chook. Provide her normal food as well as anything tasty that might tempt her (Eg sardines, mince, scrambled egg). That's about all that can be done without a vet.

Author:  Brever [ Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

Hi and thanks for the reply :) She's puffing out her feathers; tail down, neck in. Her face looks a little like she's scowling; her eyebrows are a little heavy looking but otherwise she feels normal weight, although there was a lot of grain in her neck (unsure of correct terminology), but I was feeding her to see if she had an appetite (she does). She's bunked down in the chook house (she usually roosts outside the window) with straw and water in there (she seemed very thirsty, although I have a large water dispenser which only JUST ran dry sometime today and it was not a hot day). I've been thinking back and she was a bit wobbly yesterday and also very wobbly thismorning (she walks along the top of the handrail leading to the house), but her balance is not her strong point, so I didn't notice until she was having difficulty walking. I have a mite/worming powder I will give her first thing tomorrow, will also have a look in the pet shop for this soluvet. Cheers for the advice, a lot of people seem to agree with fish and egg. Will try this first thing tomorrow as well. She bounce back from worse than this once before, so I have my fingers crossed.

Author:  TookTook [ Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

Hi Brever - so sorry your girl is unwell.

When you say "A lot of grain in her neck" you possibly mean her crop - so a large almost breast like protrusion on the right of the birds' chest when full?
If this is hard or stiff to touch sometime after the bird has eaten this may indicate an impacted crop -often an additional symptom of this is a jerking motion of the head and neck as if they are trying to swallow or push the food they have eaten down. Suggest you check out the symptoms and treatments in 'Good Samaritan' if this is the case.

Just to reassure you, any bird that is unwell will probably have balance issues (my currently unwell hen is not as sure on her feet as she once was when well) so that may not be especially relevant - but again keep observing her eg when on flat ground is she still unsteady?

Author:  Brever [ Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

Hiya, I've brought her inside and she's currently sleeping on the lounge, so I will have to wait until morning to check her crop (yes that is the technical word I was looking for) and also her balance. She didn't eat any scrambled egg, but she may have just been wanting to sleep, so I've left it on the floor for her (there's a pouffe there as a step so she can get down). And water. Oh man that is a relief to hear about the balance thing. I'm remaining optimistic. Thanks for the advice.

Author:  Brever [ Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

She's survived the night! Actually she appeared to be quite enjoying the lounge ;) She's walking a bit better now and looking a little livelier, but there is a solid lump in her crop and she hasn't eaten since yesterday. Now looking into this impacted crop thing and yes, she had been doing a fair bit of head bobbing and this might explain the previous incident we assumed was her being eggbound. Christ, did we use invasive therapy for nothing?? :o

Author:  70%cocoa [ Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

Not sure what the invasive therapy was but you thought you did the right thing at the time and it hasn't affected her long term so don't worry about it.

Glad she's feeling better this morning. If you have some paraffin oil try dripping that into her beak a a few drops every hour or so. Massage her crop to see if you can loosen things up. Paraffin is a good lubricant as its food safe and isn't digested so it works throug the whole digestive system.

Author:  Brever [ Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

The invasive therapy would be the "quoka unblocker" if you know what I'm saying (just in case children are reading). But yes it does seem to be a compacted crop because I made her some porridge with olive oil mixed in and have been massaging the crop all morning and I can feel it is breaking up and going down finally, also she is now steady on her feet again and pretty much back to her old self nearly. Thank god. I guess I assumed when she had mobility problems it was going to be a life or death scenario. Relief. Thanks for all your help guys, honestly appreciate it so much. And so does Yuki :)

Author:  70%cocoa [ Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

That's really good news! Glad to hear it :D

Author:  TookTook [ Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sick Chicken: laboured breathing, unsteady on feet and p

yes very glad to hear it!

Best to you and Yuki :)

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