Loss of weight/very lathargic and weak

by Dr. Robert Dodge
(Crewkerne, Somerset.United Kingdom.)

Questions

Loss of weight/very lethargic and weak. We have a Golden Partridge Bantam who recently has lost quite a lot of weight.

We had noticed she had been keeping herself separate from the rest of the flock and hopping out of the pen to eat the remainder of the wild bird seed.

In the last few days we have taken her out and popped her in our bath.We have tried to get her to eat oats,chick crumb and drink water - she can eat and drink but is starting to struggle, we decided to purchase a syringe and feed her a watery mash. But, we are worried that we will accidentally get food into her lungs.

There are no signs of parasite or disease, her stools are normal in regards to how they should look, I have also noticed that today there is a nasty smell which I last smelt when I lost a royal python - it is hard to explain.

Answer
It certainly sounds like your hen may be suffering from Sour Crop. Any undigested material can be stuck in the crop and begin decomposition.

This never smells good. Sour Crop also causes hens to stop eating and drinking properly.

This may sound silly but feed the hen plain yogurt. The culture in the yogurt will help to break down any food that is stuck in the crop.

If that doesn’t work, seek veterinary care as hen’s can go downhill quickly when they refuse to eat and drink.

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Loss of weight/very lethargic & weak
by: sharon

Chickens are hearty creatures & potential prey, as are most birds & their young.

In nature exhibiting signs of weakness is like holding up a "FREE FOOD" sign.

Chickens will cannibalize each other & pick on weaker flock members. The other birds will notice first.

Once a bird appears weak & lethargic, something has been wrong for a while. Weight loss is difficult to notice on a well feathered bird, unless you pick it up and feel a protruding breast bone.

Once a bird is in bad shape, it's generally too late. But you can & should isolate the bird, either to prevent spread of disease or to try to nurse it back to health.

Warmth has to be supplemented. Electrolytes, like Gatorade, or Pedalyte can help. Their sugar content can help raise the bird's blood-sugar quickly & the warmth will increase circulation, helping activity & appetite.

With some mysterious diseases it is just best to cut that bird from the flock & prevent the spread.

With the help of a vet you can give sub-Q fluids and check stool for parasites & intestinal diseases. You can pay a vet 100's of dollars & still not get a saved bird or answer as to why.

A great number of toxins or internal disorders could have caused this. Getting stool samples vet checked from your flock may come up with a specific problem and solution.

This is a less expensive way to go than trying save one bird. Depends what you can afford.

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