heartsick over sick hen

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

It is well over a week now with my ill Buff Orpington hen. Symptons include not eating or drinking (maybe an occaisional worm),loose stools last week,now very scant, lethargic, extremely thin. Today she it appears as if she has developed a nervous twitch as she dozes.We recently had some extremely wet condions in my area. I am not certain how much of this is relevant, but her symptoms don't seem to fall into any one category as far as the lists go. I work in an xray/lab department so I checked a few things out myself. There was no ova present in stool and xray did not show an egg. The Vet came 4 days ago and said her crop was fairly impacted. She introduced warm oil, massaged and I repeated for a few days. That has resolved but I believe it might have been a symptom of something greater. She doesn't seem to be making a swift recovery. Oh ya, I am tube feeding her with different combos of teramycin and pedialyte, oatmeal, milk, babyfood meats and sugar, and some molasses too to help her crop contents move through. I live on an island in the Pacific Northwest and my Vet doesn't have much experience with chickens. We are both learning from this experience and I was hoping someone could advise if I should try a different medication. She offered "Baytril"? I have 15 hens and 1 rooster. No other sick birds. "Buffy" has been in the house for about 9 days now. Sleeping in a large flower pot at night and roaming the house during the day(not pooping much). Nonetheless, my husband thinks she is faking and the doctors I work for think she should be "DNR". Sorry for the essay....Any thoughts? Terry

-- terry gravell (tgravell@hotmail.com), January 29, 2002


To start with, I would like to say, hello neighbor! I grew up on an Island in The sound, and am still very close to home. I guess in my case, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree, just onto the mainland. Have you tried the poultry information exchange, or the poultry forum for advice for Buffy? There is a lady named Nathalie, goes by threehorses, and she is a saint about helping as much as she possibly can. She's helped me out a few times, with success. You will find a great bunch of very well informed folks on both. I'm sorry I don't have any advice myself for you, but I wish you and Buffy the best of luck. Having any pet you love be ill is mighty hard. Toni

-- Littlefarmer (mothergoosefarm@hotmail.com), January 29, 2002.

Hi Terry, I can't think of anything that you haven't tried, and I admire your dedication to this little bird

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (gratacres@aol.com), January 29, 2002.

Hi Terry, I can't think of anything that you haven't tried, and I admire your dedication to this little bird. I have have very good luck with Baytril, and don't see how you have anything to lose by giving it to her. Warmth and seclusion (but not isolation from you, her caregiver) are also necessary. And a prayer won't hurt. I'm thinking of you today!

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (gratacres@aol.com), January 29, 2002.

There is a website for homeopathic treatment of poultry.


I have not found the site to be too detailed, but it might help you. The thing I have found with chickens is that they get depressed very easily when they get sick and that doesn't help the situation. It has also been my experience that taking a chicken to a vet is more expensive than the chicken is worth. That is why I am learning about homeopathy and herbal care. It is something that I can do for the chicken and it may help without hurting. Homeopathy, as I understand so far, is cross species useful. What works for one species is likely to work for another.

I suggested some books about animal care under the other thread: very boring - NON castration centric - home veterinary question (2002- 01-28)

-- R. (thor610@yahoo.com), January 29, 2002.

Remember that although a chicken will be pecked and shunned if sick, they are flock animals. I wonder if being within hearing distance of the others would be psychologically helpful. All I can say is my vet thought my girl was a goner and she pulled through. Sometimes they do that!

What's baytril? I've not used any medications on my hens.

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), January 29, 2002.

Look for a bird rehabilitator in your area!

Vets rarely know much about birds, but these folks are experts. We had a hen with some of the same symptoms last summer. My husband works at a place the has a bird rehabilitation center so we broght her in and they diagnosed it and treated it right away. They also like birds and know how to handle them, so they are a wonderful resource. Did you check in her crop/mouth to see if she has any white stuff that looks like cottage cheese. This can be treated with anitbiotics. We brought her home and feed her with a stomach tube as well. She was pooping though, so we knew she was processing the food. You may want to check her outlet and make sure she is not plugged up. Sometimes the manure collects back there, hardens and then they cannot excrete. You might want to give her a good electrolyte mix if there is a chance she is dehydrated.

To minimize the loneliness, we used an old dog crate and put her in that to protect her from the peeking, but allow her to be in her element.

Unfortunately, one day as she was recovering but wasn't very spunky we put her outside and a predator got her. Very, very, sad.

Good luck!

-- Kathy Lambert (thelamberts@valley.net), January 29, 2002.

Went to the feed store this morning as the seemed to think it was coccidia?... Anyway, I started her on Sulmet and hopefully this will do the trick. The mouth looks good. Since I'm tube feeding I look at it many times during the day. She seems to be content in the house for now. Buffy dug up the dirt in one of my tree pots and tried to have a dust bath yesterday. And picking at the crumbs my kids drop between the couch cushions, but still very weak. Her bottom gets a bit pasty but I have been rinsing that away regularly. The husband thinks I'm mad.. Thanks to all and I'll keep you all posted.

-- Terry Gravell (tgravell@hotmail.com), January 29, 2002.

Sorry to say but Buffy died today. I had to attend a funeral in Canada today and I just arrived home to find her laying still. Thanks to everyone for their support. Terry

-- Terry Gravell (tgravell@hotmail.com), February 01, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ