Day old chick looks sick

by Vita Ingargiola
(Vallejo)

Question
Day old chick looks sick: I just got 7 chicks today.

They are 1 day old I got 2 barred rocks one is very tiny and lethargic and sleeping all the time the other barred rock is actively running around and scratching and eating continually.

I'm worried I separated her and put her in with 2 smaller Sicilian buttercups who seem calmer and sleep with her.

The Rhode island red and the gold sex links are aggressive esp the Rhode Is red she picks at the eyes of all the other birds. Should I take her out to give the other birds some peace?

Answer
I would suggest returning this one lethargic chick and trading it for a healthy one. When purchasing animals of any kind it's a good idea to pick the healthiest and resist feeling sorry for smaller or weaker ones.

Having chicks of the same age and size makes for a better flock and decreases chances of a smallest one being picked on, falling behind in growth, failing to thrive and becoming a possible health risk to the others.

When a young chicks displays such aggressive tendencies towards the others, they will probably maintain this attitude through their lives.

Since you have a mixed batch of chicks, they may not have been housed together from hatching and may already be viewing chicks they don't know as outsiders.

Chickens are very territorial animals. Adding another feeding and watering station may help, or you may need to separate the aggressive ones and hopefully be able to reintroduce the whole group to each other, when they are a little older and stable in health.

Being harassed by other chicks, so early in life, will stress the ones being picked on and they may not thrive in that environment.

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Lethargic Bantam

by Lucy

Question
Lethargic Bantam: Can anyone help? My lovely Pekin bantam of 9 months old has become puffed up and lethargic, with watery frothy white pooh.

I have seen her reach her neck forwards a couple of times and I can hear she is bubbling on her chest.

Any suggestions or what I can do - she is my favorite and I don’t want to loose her. Many Thanks, Lucy

Answer
From her pooh, it sounds like she hasn’t eaten in a while. From chest sounds, she likely has respiratory infection, possibly pneumonia.

Healthy chicken body temperature is about 107 F. She probably has a high fever to fight the infection and needs some aspirin (25mg per lb of body weight to reduce fever) and electrolyte fluids .

Quickly offering her some sugar water, or honey water with a pinch of salt may help revive her, if she is able to swallow on her own.

(1 tsp honey or sugar in ¼ cu cool water, pinch of salt), if you don’t have an electrolyte product handy. Reducing too high a fever is important, just as with humans, as it can cause lethargy, incoherence, and ultimately brain damage and death.

If you can help her become alert, she will need moistened food offered frequently. She will probably need antibiotics designed for respiratory infection.

Once a chicken becomes obviously sick, they have been sick for a while. If all she is passing is foamy droppings, she is probably thin and weak from lack of nutrients and vitamins.

She will need lots of special care to get her back to normal.

Once fever is reduced make sure she is kept out of drafts and can keep warm enough with access to heat lamp.

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Chicken is thin

by Cheri Dunn
(United States)

Question
Chicken is thin: I have a 2 year old chicken that was lethargic and very thin. She also had a lot of fluid coming from her beak. It also seemed she was having a hard time breathing.

She held her eyes closed and her head down. I slit her throat to put her out of her misery.

When I did the necropsy and cut open her belly a LOT of yellowish clear fluid was in her body cavity. There also seemed a lot of growths on her bowel.

I have been a Vet Tech for 20 years, but I have never seen anything like this. I suspect cancer.

Answer
A build up of fluids like that can mean kidney, heart or liver dysfunction. She may have had a respiratory infection as well.

Being very thin and unwell could leave her open to diseases that lay dormant until her immune system failed.

I would highly recommend taking her body to a vet that could help identify the growths. Cancer would be a possibility as well as her having several problems.

It would be good to find out from a vet who is used to identifying such things, just in case this is a disease that could be contagious. There is so much we can learn from the inside of a chicken that has failed to thrive for some reason.

Hopefully you still have her body and can find out for sure what was going on with her. Wish I could be more help, but as a Vet Tech you probably have the opportunity to get a much better opinion from someone who can look at her body. I can only guess.

I’m so sorry for the loss of this hen. I hope you can learn the cause.

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Sleepy Chicken

by Tony Cullimore
(UK)

Question
Sleepy Chicken: We have recently purchased 5 point of lay Chickens, 4 seem perfectly happy, but 1 seems very lethargic not doing the same as the others (all the usual Chicken things very entertaining).

She seems to spend the majority of her time on her own doesn't seem to eat that well and her waste seems very runny.
Not sure what to do, any idea's would be very appreciated.

Answer
This one is sick for sure, it should be separated from the others, given a heat lamp and will possibly need antibiotics.

Anytime a chicken acts this way there is something seriously wrong and it will usually lead to death without medical treatment.

Since you just bought these, you might want to get a sample of the droppings to a vet to find out what, if any contagious disease this one might have.

It may be a simple imbalance of digestive bacteria, but could be parasites or a namable disease with a specific treatment.

Sometimes the stress of bringing chickens to a new home, can push them over the edge from good health to failing health, allowing disease to take over.

Sometimes giving a vitamin/electrolyte product, made for this kind of stress, can help a chicken bounce back.

Most feed stores carry this product and I would recommend using it for this sick one and the others, just follow the directions.

Keeping this chicken warm, with food and water close may help its immune system perk up and fight this off.

Once sick they are less able to maintain a good body temperature. Too low a body temperature and major organs will start to shut down. From my research, 107 F is a normal body temp for chickens.

Even a chicken with a fever can benefit from extra heat, just like we feel cold when running a fever. If she has a high fever you can give 25mg aspirin per lb of body weight a day.

This can lower a dangerously high fever and help her feel more comfortable; a baby aspirin dissolved in warm water, divided up to deliver 25mg/lb.and given with a dropper or spoon.

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