Buff Orp hen throwing up??

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I have a hen who's thrown up twice in my children's presence in the past week. They say it's white in color (the feed is alternated between brown Purina Layena and yellow cracked corn). Now, this hen has always been skin and bones and has never laid any eggs. The children, as children will, have taken to her underdog cause, so I've never felt like I should get rid of her. :-) It's apparently just her, because all the other hens are happy and fat and laying nicely.

We're new to chickens, and this flock was raised by us and will be yearlings March 18th. What say all of you about the reason for a hen to be throwing up, especially one with suspicious health from birth like this one? She's not crop-bound, as I can't feel anything but a very sharp breastbone in there. Any ideas?


-- KK (michahfourfour@jahoopa.com), March 06, 2000


Some internal parasites will cause gagging, but throwing up is new to me. Can't believe my chickens never have done that to me. Everybody else throws up on me, including my computer. I know, I'm whining. I'll do some digging this afternoon and see if I can narrow things down for you. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), March 06, 2000.

I would agree with Gerbil .Is your feed medicated? If so for what or with what?

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), March 06, 2000.

Hi again!

No, no meds in the Layena, from what I can read on the labeling (if I'm totally blind, someone say so! :-) )...they do medicate the chick food, but not the adults'.

Gerbil: thanks for looking things up! I have one general-use book, but no access to advanced chicken disease stuff and the flock has done so well, I've never had a need before. :-)


-- KK (micahfourfour@jahoopa.com), March 06, 2000.

Ok, 2 symptoms, throwing up and scrawnyness. My head's still swimming from going through the books, but didn't really find anything about throwing up. Since that's just not something chickens do, I'd think that it would appear as a symptom of any disease or parasite infestation where it occured. Scrawnyness, well, if she's always been like that, not really a symptom. So, we haven't gained any ground. The other hens are apparently fine, therefore we can assume it isn't something spreadable.

In all honesty, I think she's just a runt, who is surviving only because you and the children are caring for her. She may be getting her tail kicked by the other hens when humans aren't looking, but usually those bullied birds show other signs including lack of feathers from picking attacks.

I can give you some diseases and parasites that very generously could vaguely cover your hen, but I don't think it is worth the typing. They're pretty much fatal anyway. Since she's survived almost a year, and while there's a remote chance she's a carrier, I really don't think any of them apply.

You could, if the kids have a good microscope, get a stool sample and check it for anything odd looking. Or take the sample to the vet. It probably isn't worth sending it off for serious testing, again so much of this stuff isn't treatable it wouldn't be worth it.

I'd make sure she's getting plenty of real chicken grit, vitamin A (greens and yellow corn, squash, etc) possibly sprinkle some vitamin B powder on her food (start with a little and increase if she doesn't have a problem with it). You might want to make extra sure she gets treats and say cooked grains. It will help her a lot if you can get some weight back on her.

If the kids continue to help her, she may live for some time yet, but I'm afraid I'd prepare them for the possibility that she isn't now and never has been a healthy hen. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), March 06, 2000.

I would try a couple of bags of medicated feed, just in case of internal parasites.She may be the weakest so its showing up more with her.

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), March 06, 2000.

I would separate her from the flock for a few days. If it does turn out to be something nasty, you don't want to lose your flock.

-- Tracy (trimmer@bsi.sk.ca), March 08, 2000.

Hello, I know what it is, is either Newcastle Bronchitis or the other one that starts with an L. It is a long drawn out name and I will have to go look it up. Please put her down, bag up the body and send it out in the trash. She will not get better, and the other birds can get it from her. I am so sorry to tell you this. :(

-- Mrs Nees (autumnhaus@aol.com), March 09, 2000.

I'm guessing Mrs N means Infectious Laryngotracheitis, which has very similiar symptoms to Newcastle disease and to infectious bronchitis. All 3 of these diseases are highly contagious and lethal to a large percantage of the flock. Since this hen has always been off, I doubt that the others could be so healthy with her in the mix. There is a small chance she's a carrier, but where did she pick something up that didn't also hit the other birds? She would have had to have been infected as an egg or chick, not to have died in almost a year, and not to have done what a carrier does, spread the disease.

It is really tough to type and hang on to these heavy books at the same time but I'll try to run down the major symptoms of the 3 diseases so you can decide. And they are the 3 that had occured to me originally, but I decided things just didn't quite fit.

Infectious Laryngotracheitis. spreads rapidly. difficult breathing, bird extends head & opens mouth for each breath. rattling sound in windpipe-mucus obstruction. may throw head from side to side to dislodge mucus. coughing. tearing eyes. then it gets worse. can be prevented, no treatment

Infectious Bronchitis. also viral. can be transmitted by air. therefore most contagious respiratory disease of poultry. Specific symtoms don't differ from other respiratory diseases. nasal discharge, rattling, sneezing, coughing. gurgling windpipe. mortality may be high due to suffocation. poor egg shape and decreased production. bird should recover, may not be able to lay proper eggs. not much to do to treat.vaccines may or may not work, may cause more problems.

Newcastle. difficulty breathing. depression and weakness. twitching of head and neck. paralysis. at this point they recover or die. egg production stops (as it basically does in the above 2 also)Symptoms can also be or suggest infectious bronchitis, air-sac infection(crd), laryngotracheitis, avian encephalomyelitis, epidemic tremor. leucosis. nutritional defficiencies.

I'm going to stick with what I originally said. However I would be very interested to know what Mrs Ness has to say. Be interesting to hear what happens to the hen-who knows, I may owe you a flock of chickens when this is over. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), March 09, 2000.

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