by Lisa


I was wondering if you know what may be wrong with my Wellsummer hen. She is about 7 months old. For the last two days she has been acting depressed her tail tucked, lethargic, not eating or drinking and her comb is dark purple. Is there something I can do to treat her and what might this be?



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by: Sharon

When normally reddish combs turn more purple, this can be a sign of reduced blood circulation. Similar in people: when we get very cold, our lips can turn a purple color because blood flow is reduced in less vital parts and keeping vital organs warm and functioning.

From what you describe I would guess she may have worms, she may be egg bound, or both. She could have a sour or impacted crop as well.

I would recommend keeping her warmer with access to a heat lamp. Encourage fluids.

I like to use FOOD GRADE DE - Diatomaceous Earth - as a natural & non toxic dewormer. The tiny little crystals create a hostile environment for internal parasites, while only benefiting the chickens with trace minerals and a clean digestive tract. Can be mixed in feed. The more they eat the better.

I would check below her vent area for signs that an egg is not passing. A stuck egg will block the end of the digestive tract - making it impossible for a hen to poo - backing up toxins in her system. With previously eaten food & water not passing, she won't want to add more. Extra warmth - possibly even a soak in a very warm bath - may help her to pass an egg, if you believe one is stuck. Using a needleless syringe you can also shoot some kind of lubricant - mineral oil, vegetable oil, into her vent to help the egg be able to pass more easily.

If she is passing some poo, likely there isn't an egg stuck, but I would check. Also check her crop for signs of a lump of old food. A healthy crop should feel mushy during the day and should be completely empty in the morning. If lumpy you need to get some warm fluids in her. A bit of raw apple cider vinegar mixed in water given slowly will help break down any solids in the crop. Once you've got a couple of tablespoons into her, you should gently massage the lump from outside the crop, to help it break down and pass through her system. Then more fluids.

The purple comb could be a sign of severe physical distress of some sort. Even veterinarians with their hands on a chicken can be baffled by symptoms and unable to tell you why this is happening.

I'd also suggest that you support her with vitamins & minerals. You can dip her beak in a small container of vitamin solution, which may encourage her to swallow it.

Added warmth may be key to help her get through this.

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