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 Post subject: Hen sick, don't know why
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:54 pm 
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I have a hen who is sick but I can't figure out what is wrong or what to do. We noticed her sitting alone in the run 2 days ago and she didn't move when we went up to her. We've had her inside in a cage with straw/water/food or on our laps since then. She hasn't had any food or water for two days and I don't know how to get her to have some water. She won't take it from a dropper. She is just sitting or standing and sleeping most of the time. She normally runs away from us, but when I went to check on her she actually came out of the cage up to me as if she wanted a cuddle, so she's on my lap now. I don't know what to do. Is there a way I can give her water? I'm not sure if she's got sour crop or is egg bound and I just can't tell? Should I give her a worming treatment (although not sure how as she won't eat or drink anything). I've filled out the form below.

Age: 9 months
Breed: Barnevelder
Sex: Hen (laying)

Your Location- country, state (different areas/climates have different problems)
ANSWER: Southern Highlands, NSW

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? - As much detail as possible please.
ANSWER: Not eating or drinking, even water. Won't drink from water dropper and refused favourites treats - tuna, apple. Sleeping majority of the time. Eyes have been a bit watery today. I can't feel any impacted crop or bound egg, however she did flap when I felt around her vent so perhaps it is tender?

What are you feeding? - Please list everything you're feeding to your birds, including type of basic feed, free ranging, scraps, extras, etc. If possible give approximate percentages.
ANSWER: Layer pellets, a few treats each day either mealworms, a bit of tinned tuna, cracked corn or apple. Plus our chooks free range in our garden so eat plenty of greens and bugs.

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.
ANSWER: Normal, but hasn't done a poo since yesterday morning.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling
ANSWER: Occasional small gasp for air but no sound. Breath doesn't smell great but not that bad either.

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying
ANSWER: refusing to eat or drink anything. Hasn't drunk any water for 2 days. :-(

Condition Changes?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering
ANSWER: All good.

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness
ANSWER: Went and sat in the chook run by herself and not running away from us which is very unusual. She has been inside for 2 days, just sitting or standing and asleep the majority of the time.

Agility Changes? - eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels
ANSWER: Can move, but not doing so much at all.

Describe your usual worming routine and products. [If none, say so and skip the next 3 worming questions.] Do you have a cycle that you use eg. every 3 months, or every six months?
ANSWER: Has not been wormed yet. No signs of worms in poo.

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc
ANSWER: None.

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather
ANSWER: Has gotten very cold lately but no other changes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:09 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: ACT area
Your hen certainly sounds unwell. I would recommend a vet visit if that is an option. I wouldn't worm her atm if there are no obvious signs (wormy poo/ dirty bum).

Can you describe her posture - is she hunched up, head and tail down. If so that is a typical coccidiosis posture - some of the symptoms you have described may indicate that as a possibility. If it is Coccidiosis it hits hard and fast and needs immediate treatment. One of the most readily available medications is Amprollium from a pet shop or produce place. Others may be available from a vet.

Coccidiosis link
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7975815&p=267835#p267835

An egg bound hen tends to waddle and squat - you would probably not miss that. If there is a broken egg inside , by now she would generally have a discharge and smell bad.
What is her general condition like? has she lost weight? Is her keel bone 'sharp'?

In the meantime you need to try to encourage her to eat and drink. Use a syringe or eye dropper to deliver small amounts of water onto her tongue, then hold the tip of her beak up a little. You should see her swallow. Don't be tempted to squirt, she is likely to inhale it. Small amounts frequently is best. You can add some Avian vitamins to her water but not while she is being treated for Coccidiosis.
You can also make up small pellets of soaked pellets and put these in her mouth - she may or she may not swallow them. The next step is crop feeding - best to get some one to show you how if you are prepared to do that.

Here is a link to the Ricketts diet for sick chooks
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7975135

Again, best not to feed this while she is on Coccidiosis medication - use it as a pick me up later (excess vit B and protein are counter productive to Coccidiosis treatment)

Good luck with her and please let us know how you go. Remember that sometimes our pets will not recover and we need to consider their best welfare and be prepared to euthanize them.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:03 am 
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Thanks Sue. She isn't hunched up, waddling or squating at all. We managed to get her to drink some water with vitamins/electrolytes last night and she had quite a lot, she was obviously thirsty. I haven't been able to get her to eat or drink today though. She won't even touch layer mash mixed with yoghurt which all the chooks love.
She did walk outside this morning but just stood there so I brought her back in. I have noticed her scratch at her head a few times, and when she was outside she gulped a few times as if she was trying to clear her throat and shook her head and some liquid came out of her mouth I think.
I've booked in with a vet who is recommended for chickens this afternoon.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:59 am 
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The vet was excellent and gave her a thorough check-up. He thinks she has a respiratory infection, which makes sense as another chook is sneezing a lot, and another one just looks all puffy around the eyes like she has a cold. They're all on antibiotics now. The one that is most sick is otherwise in good health, no mites or lice, no signs of worms, good comb & wattle colour, good weight etc, so she hasn't been sick for very long. She was a little more energetic this morning and had a walk around the house but still won't eat or drink. The vet gave me a syringe and tube to give her water to her crop if necessary, but I hope it doesn't come to that!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:49 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
Thanks for getting back. Hopefully she is now on the improve. Her general good health indicates good husbandry and will help her recover. Her appetite should improve as she begins to feel better.
If she doesn't respond to the antibiotics get back to the vet - she may need an alternative type.

A good chook vet is rare and worth their weight in golden eggs :laughing


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