Iowa Leghorn

by Devon
(Iowa)

Question
My 4 year old Iowa Leghorn has yellow and greenish/black diarrhea, a darkening drooping comb and is listless no interest in drinking or eating.

I have a flock of 28 including 1 rooster and all are allowed to free range. We live in Iowa and they are enjoying the perfect temperatures spring has to offer. Thanks for your help!

Answer
It’s very important to separate this one from the flock and take precautions to clean the coop and areas this chicken has spent a lot of time.

Its droppings may contain concentrations of a bacteria, parasite eggs or virus that could affect the others.

The diarrhea you describe may only be due to decreased food intake or poor nutrition and hydration, since it’s not eating and drinking normally.

Separating this one somewhere, away from other poultry, giving it a heat lamp, providing a good vitamin electrolyte supplement, may help to perk it up.

Offering soaked feed mixed with live culture yogurt or probiotic supplement, coaxing her to eat and drink may help. When a chicken is this sick its health has been failing for a while and it’s just recently become too weak to keep up with the flock.

In some blood lines & breeds of chickens, 4 years old might be well past her prime. It’s really impossible, without expensive testing, to know why this is happening to her.

Getting a sample of her droppings to a vet for analysis may reveal helpful information, without a lot of expense. With a good sized flock like this it would be good to know if there is disease or a parasite that may affect the others.

She may have ingested a toxic plant or substance that the others were smart enough to stay away from, or she may just showing her age with major organ failures.

The dark droopy comb may indicate dehydration and low blood pressure, so getting the electrolyte fluids into her may help restore her systems. Sometimes, after a long winter, essential vitamins may be deficient.

Feed stores carry a vitamin electrolyte powder that is good to keep on hand for problems like this, or just to periodically treat the flock, especially during winter months when temperatures and forage values are low.

I like to use vitamins as a first line of defense to enhance my flocks immunity on a regular basis, especially when weather conditions are extremely hot or cold.

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