by Lauren

I have read as much as I can, and I can't determine an answer for my chicken. Not sure she has 48 hrs but this is worth a try. She is one year, and a poofy headed chicken, Polish something.... She is off balance and she ticks her head and droops it, hangs it the jerks it instead of being well balanced almost like she has no equilibrium. If you give her a water dish or food dish she pecks inches away from it. Can anyone help? I would like to save this bird, and want to know if I can. Antibiotic? Supplement? What can I do? She appears to be suffering


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by: Sharon

From what you've written, this poor chickie is in advanced stages of a life threatening problem. What has caused this could be a number of things.

Sounds like her vision is blurred, at least severely impaired. She sounds very weak, possibly suffering from dehydration, and lack of nutrition, since she can't seem to find her dishes.

Giving her drops of water with electrolytes might give her some strength and energy. She sounds a bit delirious, not connected to her surroundings, she may have a fever.

There are so MANY things that have to go right in a chicken's body for them to be healthy, which means once a chicken is this sick a number of things have gone wrong. Treating the worst symptoms and supporting body temperature, hydration & nutrition is URGENT & VITAL, more important than trying to guess what antibiotic might help her.

As you can see, she is dying. Chickens are tough creatures usually with an inborn stamina that helps them through life. Even when not feeling well, a chicken will strive to survive and appear well. The weak one in a flock is a target for predators and possibly other flock members. Their survival instincts force them to appear OK as long as possible.

By the time a chicken appears a bit off and in this case severely off, they have been battling a condition for a while - using up their strength & resources to persevere. A human found in this condition would be rushed to the ER and put on IV fluids - usually containing a form of electrolytes & possibly sugars to help restore needed elements for brain function and major organ functions. Giving fluids orally that contain electrolytes, may help, if this chicken can still swallow. Even a bit of sugar or honey mixed in can help raise blood sugar levels and brain function.

I have no idea how long she has been unwell, and maybe you don't either. She may be suffering from some form of toxin, maybe something she ate, or from a sour crop or other digestive problem. Sugars and electrolytes, even Gatorade, can help.

The only way I know to help sick chickens is to treat their symptoms, beginning with the worst. It sounds like she is semi conscious, almost like a person that has overdosed on drugs or alcohol. She must be kept warm with a heat lamp or heating pad, even using a hair dryer to warm her feet, head and the core of her body. She must be given fluids that include electrolytes and likely sugar in some form, but only if she can swallow. Warming her up first may help get her more alert and more able to swallow.

I don't know if you have checked her crop for a hard lump of feed, if you've checked her body for parasites like lice or mites, or if she is very thin - meaning she is malnourished which happens over weeks of being off her usual game. I don't know if she's had diarrhea or a fever.

Hopefully she can be saved with some basic life giving treatments, as mentioned, which can bring her to a point where she can get past this and recover.

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