Sick three year old hen

by Jeanne Aaroe
(Greensboro, NC, USA)

Question

Sick three year old hen: My hen has very little use of her legs. No mucus discharge or swollen joints. Some broken feathers around tail area as if pecked--otherwise full-feathered.

Was willing to drink milk and eat some yogurt. Quiet. She was up and about yesterday afternoon--so the first time I noticed this was this morning when she looked to be simply lying down in a "setting" fashion--and was pecking at conveniently-placed grain.

I got home this afternoon and realized that she had barely moved from her location.
I have separated her and she's now in our basement in a box with shavings. She has not touched spinach and lettuce that I laid out for her.

As I said, she did drink milk and eat some yogurt. The rest of the hens look relatively fine--all were in the yard this evening looking lively.

Answer
Isolating the hen was a smart move. I would suggest that you thoroughly check her over for any injuries. If the other chickens were pecking her, it is possible that they have injured her wings, legs or underbelly.

You said that she won’t eat her greens. Have you checked her crop? Most hens with sour crop don’t eat anything but yogurt or applesauce. Be sure that she does not have sour crop by massaging the crop and smelling her breath.

It would be wise to continue feeding the yogurt and milk as she has no problems eating those. I would also try some applesauce; hens love applesauce! Juicing the lettuce and spinach may be inviting for her.

You could also add some molasses to her regular feed as well. Adding some vitamins to her water would certainly not hurt.

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Having the same problem
by: Anonymous

I had three 16 week old chickens that exhibited the same problems, though not all at the same time.

They began by moving stiffly/limping and eventually refused to move even though they had the ability to, simply laying there and eating/drinking what was placed in front of them.

They were alert and showed absolutely no other signs of illness. Toward the end started having green feces.

We killed the first two (Cornish rock broilers) to put them out of their misery. The third (brahma) we brought inside and treated with antibiotics. He died five days later.

Still unsure what was wrong with them but afraid it may be contagious. All my chickens were vaccinated for mareks. Were you able to cure your hen? Any suggestions?

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YOu Should suspect tracheal worms
by: Neal the Vet Tech

Among other things you might want to suspect tracheal worms. These cause a gradual weakening as the chickens don't get enough air. Your vet can help you with a diagnosis and treatment. Tell him about the tracheal worm suspicion. There are effective treatments via the Internet search engines. Let me know what is the ultimate finding and treatment result please. Neal polymath@clearwire.net

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