very sick hen

by Mindi
(Golden Valley, AZ US)

I have a hen that has been isolated for over 2 weeks whole flock was infested with lice, that has been taken care of, however this particular hen has her comb down, had lost her appetite, has severe diarrhea, her head was down between her shoulders when I brought her in, she is alert, but has problems with balance..she can't walk without falling..she is catching herself with her wings...I have had her on antibiotics...she is on vitamins, electolytes and is drinking well...she is eating some now...but still has no balance...she went to scratch this morning and fell over...I have no idea what else I can do with her....I have talked to everyone I know that has one can give me anymore advice ...they are out of ideas...PLEASE HELP ME!!

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by: Sharon

This sound more to me like she was severely depleted by the lice infestation. I'm not sure why you are giving her antibiotics. Does she have an infection?

I would suggest stopping the antibiotics - unless she was diagnosed with a specific infection. Antibiotics can seriously damage a chicken's digestive tract which means they will have trouble processing and absorbing nutrients. A chicken that is weak can be made weaker and have more trouble recovering with antibiotics in their system.

Anti-biotics destroy good digestive bacteria as well as an infection. This means a chicken isn't benefiting as much as they need to from foods. Giving Probiotics & electrolytes with vitamins in important as well as simple and easy to digest foods. Some fruit or apple sauce can help give her some energy with the sugars. She should be given food often...mushy chicken feed is good, with Probiotics or live culture yogurt can help to restore her digestive system.

Diarrhea is a common problem since her body is likely not digesting her food well. Any droppings are good on a regular basis, as it is a sign that she is eating or you are feeding her. Don't force feed her, but help her eat by spoon feeding or syringe allowing her to swallow on her own.

If she can and will eat on her own offer as much soft food and healthy strength giving foods. Make sure she is drinking enough.

Lice can suck the life out of chickens and one already weak will often become more ill and have trouble bouncing back.

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