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 Post subject: Sick chicken
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:15 am 
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Hatchling
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Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:26 pm
Posts: 4
Hi, I just joined. We live on a property in Tasmania and have a handful of free ranging chickens. I'll try to cover all the questions in this post...

About 3 days ago while tossing out feed I noticed one of the hens walking funny. She was walking like she was drunk, crossing her feet in a plaiting fashion and looked unsteady on her feet. I thought her feet looked a bit swollen. She is one of the friendliest chooks we have, always feeds at my feet. We have about 14 geese and there are about 12 mallard ducks who live on our dam, and we have visiting south pacific and wood ducks we feed as well. I figured eating at my feet is a way to make sure she gets her share as no one else comes that close.

The next morning she was falling at my feet. Flapping her wings and kind of falling forward. I grabbed her and took her into the shed and looked her over.

I took photos of her feet, they didn't look too swollen. I put her in a dog crate with hay, feed and water in small hanging dog bowls. Though she was falling over she fell into the bowl and started eating frantically. I left her and when I came back she'd eaten it all. I figured she'd been hungry. Later in the afternoon I put out more feed but she didn't touch it by the looks of it. At that stage it didn't look like she'd had any water either.

I groom dogs from home and one of my customers used to breed chickens. She thought it was Mareks Disease.

I googled and read all about various diseases in chickens. It doesn't sound like Mareks. There are no hard spots or scabs on the underside of her feet so I don't think its bumblefoot. Her eyes, nostrils and beak seem ok. Her vent is clean, she isn't laying (no one seems to be) and she's not egg bound, her feathers are fine. She may have mites, I have been meaning to treat them all for mites on their legs - we got these chickens from a friend and they were bad. We treated them once and didn't finish the job. She's been pooping and that looks normal. Deep green in colour with a bit of white and fluid.

The only thing I noticed was her crop was full and hard. In the morning it was still hard and full even though I'd taken the feed out to give her time to digest.

I read about blockages and yesterday afternoon I gave her some warm water with olive oil, massaged her crop and got some of it out. It didn't smell bad. There are no bad smells anywhere.

I have moved her into our horse feed room. There is no feed on the floor but there is lots of fallen hay so she can be comfy. I figured being outside a cage and being able to move about might help with any digestion issues.

This morning her crop is empty so I put down some leftover pasta salad cause I figured its softer than seeds. Maybe that was wrong... I don't know. I know nothing about chickens.

Her behaviour seems to have picked up. If it wasn't for the fact that her legs are still plaiting when she walks and she's still unsteady, I'd say she was fine. When she's handled and I put her down she face plants. Its like she's front heavy - she will fall into a corner or into the hay face first and stay there. When I look in later she'll be sitting somewhere else or standing up. She's being vocal now too, which she wasn't before.

I don't know what breed she is, some kind of mixed breed farm chook, she's at least 3 years old, I can't remember when we got her and if she was a young girl or a mature hen when our friends gave her to us.

I think I covered everything. Any help with this would be appreciated. Seriously, this morning she was a bit feisty and a bit harder to catch and if it wasn't for the fact that she face planted soon as I put her down I would have thought she was better and put her out with the others again!

zefi


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 Post subject: Re: Sick chicken
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:17 am 
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Hatchling
Hatchling

Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:26 pm
Posts: 4
Forgot, her comb colour looks ok, maybe a bit dry this morning. I'll get more photos. As for worms... I never knew you had to treat chickens for worms. Not free range ones... I was lead to believe that dust baths and stuff like that take care of themselves.

Editing post to add photos I took this afternoon.


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Last edited by zefif on Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Sick chicken
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:43 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:15 pm
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Location: ACT area
Hi zefif and welcome to BYP
Generally we ask people to fill in a checklist if they need advice about a sick chook however you have covered most of what we need to know.
If her crop is full during the day and empty by the morning that is OK.
The green poop is not OK, The green is bile and indicates that she is not processing her food.
Confining her and offering food is the best way to go atm. If you are not already doing so, offer her only poultry LAYER feed. It is a fully balanced ration and will provide all the nutrients she needs is the right ratios. Access to horse poop is good. It contains partly digested grains and is full of probiotics. Lameness/uncoordination/lack of balance can result from poor nutrition. A protein boost Tinned cat food/fresh mince is good. Don't offer dog food - it is too salty.
Mareks generally affects younger birds, so although possible,it is unlikely.

All poultry need to be regularly wormed, especially those which free range. Most foraged bugs are vectors for worms eg. snails , worms and slaters carry Tapeworm. Worms can cause lameness.
Her legs are not a major concern atm but you should follow up the treatment for Scaley leg (you will need to treat every one)
.
Dust bathing is part of a hen's beauty regime. The subsequent preening will help control lice but will not rid them of a bad infestation. An unwell bird is especially vulnerable.

So the first things to address are
- diet - a lack of specific nutrients can cause issues with balance. Unless they are free ranging on improved pasture, Australian pasture does not generally offer sufficient nutrition, especially at this time of the year. Free access to a good quality Layer (not Scratch) product is advisable. In the case of your sick hen, I would also boost her with some Avian vitamins. If her condition is neurological, sometimes vitamins show a fast improvement
- worms - can also cause lameness, will definitely cause a bird to lose condition
If you have large stock you may already have one of the Dectins (you will need one with the added Plus for Tapeworm) If you do have this ask us for the doseage.
Other suitable products are Moxidectin Plus. This covers internal and external parasites (inc Scaley Leg Mite) but needs to be ordered on line - Gecko Dan (the chookshop), Knox bird Clinic or check (Aust) ebay. All post promptly.
You can also use Wormout or Avitrol Plus (produce stores) Other worming products don't treat Tapeworm (need added Paziquantil).
The above worming products are best direct dosed but the liquids can also be added to water however you will need to remove access to other water sources for at east 24 hours and with Avitro Plus, the birds need to be fasted before and after dosing. Especially with an already unwell bird I prefer not to do that
.
Apologies for that being so long winded, hope I've covered the 'first line of attack'

It is possible that what ever you do, you hen is an elderly, unwell lady with an underlying condition, whose health will continue to decline. At some stage you will need to consider her best welfare options.

Please get back to us with your outcomes and any more questions or concerns
.
Last minute thought. Possible toxin - could she have gotten access to anything such as decaying carcass, stagnant water, sprayed weeds, mouldy bedding? If so and she is not going down hill some TLC and she should recover.


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 Post subject: Re: Sick chicken
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:30 pm 
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Hatchling
Hatchling

Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:26 pm
Posts: 4
Hi Sue, thanks for your info. Replying to your points...

Ok on the green poop being not good. She's still doing green poops. We haven't got layer pellets but I will get some. I find our chickens wont eat them. Fussy things. They love the Tassie Hen mix which is grains. I will get some layer pellets for her. Horse poop is in the paddock, not in the feed room she's in right now. But if horse poop is good for them, then I can bring a bit in for her. Not fresh would be best I take it? LOL We don't have cats hence no cat food. I could give her a cooked egg yolk though.

We only have 3 chooks and 2 roosters that free range. One of the roosters is the son of one of the chooks from last summer. So far his father isn't trying to kill him. We also have the old rooster with one Hyline hen in a pen cause those two roosters fight. I am leaning towards putting the chickens all in the chook pen and closing them in, at least for a while, so I can control their feed and they don't have to fight the geese and ducks for the 'right' stuff.

I'll look online and buy avian vitamins and wormers. I'll look for one that covers internal and external parasites. That sounds like a good bet. I'll look for the ones you mention online for all worms. Tapeworms are spread by fleas and they can affect the dogs too. I'll keep the sick hen separated till I treat the others.

So far, just separating her and giving her the attention I have seems to be working. She's feistier, but she's still doing the wierd walk and the falling forward as you can see by the photos I added. She doesn't appear to be going downhill.

There is always a chance she got into a decaying carcass - we live on a farm and there have been plenty of dead wallabies around thanks to toxoplasmosis. Stagnant water is also a consideration this time of year. Mouldy bedding no, but I did throw some mouldy hay into the compost area which they scratch around in.

Thanks for your advice. I will buy the products you recommended and I'll see if that helps her and the others.


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 Post subject: Re: Sick chicken
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:19 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:08 pm
Posts: 519
Location: Qld
Moxydectin Plus is a great product.

You worm horses, dogs etc. so it is good practice to have a routine for worming poultry too and Moxy Plus has the side benefit of also keeping the lice, scale, etc. at bay.

I worm my lot at the beginning of each new season....so Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and that way I don't forget.


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 Post subject: Re: Sick chicken
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:54 pm 
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Hatchling
Hatchling

Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:26 pm
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Thanks. I will do that from now on. She is looking better today. She was quick enough that I couldn't catch her easily so I left her be today, just gave her some food and fresh water.


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