Sick Faverolle

Posted by: Zephyr

Sick Faverolle - 03/19/13 05:43 PM

Hi. I have what I think is a sick Faverolle. She is about 10 months old. We have an unheated coop with six chickens. Two Faverolle, two Red Stars, and two bantams. One of the Faverolles (Bridget) biggest and usually most talkative chicken... appears to be sick. The last few days, she sits in the corner of the coop and occasionally closes her eyes. If we pick her up and put her outside, she wont really walk around...just kind of stands there. Last night she did get onto the roosting pole on her own...but tonight she just sits on the floor inside the coop. I am not sure if she is eating and drinking...but yesterday she would eat a few dried works. Her comb is pale in color. I am not sure what else to do...or even how to diagnose the problem.

Should I bring her inside the house in a crate or leave her be?

We live in Virginia USA and the temps have been in the 40s these last few weeks. We have had alot of rain so the chickens tend to stay inside instead of coming out. The ground around the coop and their yard has been muddy for I am not sure if that could be part of it. I have not noticed any problems with the other chickens and they others don't seem to bother Bridget.

We are new to chickens...this is our first flock. Any help or advice would be appreciated?
Posted by: CJR

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/19/13 09:15 PM

Yes, separate her, add a little heat if you can (NOT a HEAT LAMP--too hot and a fire hazard), a 60W or 75W incandescant, not too close, gives LOTS of heat.--keep water and food before her(she may like some special treats that you KNOW she likes, but no junk.) Has she been laying? Handle her carefully, in case she is having trouble with an egg, soft or bound. Examine her carefully to see if the vent indicates laying. Hard to diagnose these dear hens, but forcing water or meds that are not prescribed can be worse than just keeping her quiet and comfortable. If she CAN eat and drink, she will. Hens do not like to show symptoms and can quietly leave us, without showing suffering--or sometimes can recover quickly on their own. It is hard for us to have a dear ailing bird... Good luck/
Posted by: Zephyr

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/20/13 08:40 AM

CJR, thank you for your response. We have brought her inside the house and placed her in a spare bathroom tub on top of newspaper. We have the lights down low and a small heater keeping the room warm. Following some suggestions on how to remedy egg binding, we sat her in a sink of warm water for about 15 minutes or so, dried her off, and then placed her in the dry tub with newspaper. We put food and water in with her and have offered her some tomatoes and strawberries. She does not appear to be interested in the food.. and she has only gone to the bathroom once in about 2 hours. It may actually be urine instead of poop. It is yellow clear water with a speck of poop in the center. She just sort of stands there. If you try to move her, she will drop one wing to try and steady herself, but she does not make much noise or try to move away. She is usually very loud and talkative.

We are very new to chickens, so we are not sure about chicken anatomy or what things are supposed to look like when they are normal. Based on what I have read, we thought maybe she is egg-bound. As far as we can tell, she is not laying. her vent is clean and pink and we could not feel any hardness around the vent or underneath. She has no injuries or visible worms. Her comb is still pale in color. The vent does pulsate continuously...but I am not certain if that is normal or not. She has no other symptoms of illness other than being listless, keeping to herself, and the pale comb. No bad smell or respiratory issues that we can see. We feed our chickens a local organic layer feed and provide them the dried meal worms for treats. We have not yet provided them oyster shells or grit... we plan to do that ASAP. I believe there is calcium in the organic layer feed that we give them.

We certainly wont put her back outside until she is completely dry (as its still very cold here) and I guess we will just keep her in the dry tub with heat until she is better. Should we continue to do the warm water bath on a regular basis? Should we keep her inside and isolated for a few days? We are keeping the room dark except for a small night light...should we give her more light or is the darkness better for her.

Your advice is most helpful. Thanks so much. Kind regards.
Posted by: Wieslaw

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/24/13 01:05 PM

It is very easy to check whether there is an egg involved. Just put a rubber glove on and stick your finger gently inside. If there is an egg, you will feel it.

What about her crop? Is it empty or filled up with something?
Posted by: Zephyr

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/24/13 08:28 PM

Wieslaw, thanks for the reply. We did check for an egg and did not find anything. We also checked her crop and it appeared okay but did contain food for a few days even though she had stopped eating. I tried to find a local vet to help us, but none would even offer advice. I eventually suspected coccidia but sadly our hen passed away just before we were able to treat with Sulmet. After she passed, we took her to the USDA extension office for an exam. We wanted to make sure she did not have something that would put the rest of the flock in danger. The USDA vet said she was very healthy as far as the rest of her body but that she had an infected oviduct. Possibly from a earlier broken yolk or other problem. The vet felt that by the time she started showing symptoms it would have been to late to start treatment anyway.

As I mentioned before, we are new to raising chickens. I had never thought that chickens would have such unique personalities. Sadly, this makes loosing them much more difficult. Anyway, thank you for the help.
Posted by: CJR

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/24/13 11:12 PM

So sorry that you lost a valued bird....and your Vet is so right. Chickens instinctively try to hide symptoms, as it may keep their penmates from savaging them to death. When we are really aware of illness, it is often too late to help, although reproductory problems are often untreatable. It becomes part of our "Poultry Experience" and we find most of it so very enjoyable! CJR
Posted by: Patti in MA

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/01/14 02:34 PM

Hello is anyone here to help? My chicken is having the same symptoms as the one above. I brought her in as she was just sitting in a corner in the coop. But I checked her all over No egg I can feel but her beak or Jaw what ever you call it is kinda clacking. any have an idea?
Posted by: Zephyr

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/01/14 02:55 PM

Hi Patti, perhaps somebody more knowledgable might be able to offer more advice. If you happen to have access to a vet that specializes in should take your hen there ASAP. For our hen, only a fast acting antibiotic would have helped...and there is no telling if that would have been effective. Where I live, we could not find a vet that would work with our bird. The one vet that was knowledgeable was at the USDA extension....and they won't normally look at a live bird...but you might try if you have an office near you. You can also try a treatment like Sulmet....but if she is not drinking or eating, it's impossible to get it into her. You want to be very careful trying to force them to drink as they can aspirate the liquid quickly...which can also be fatal. If you don't have access to a vet, I would try a treatment like Sulmet and keep her comfortable....I know it's not much in the way of advice...but sometimes it is the best we can do.
Posted by: Patti in MA

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/01/14 04:44 PM

Thank you for your advice Vets around here look at you very strange when you bring a chicken I did that once , They really don't know much about them. i will try the Sulumet they should have some at the grain store.
Posted by: Altair

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/01/14 06:15 PM

How does her crop feel, Patti? It is located at the base of her neck leading to her stomach.

Supportive therapy is often all you can do, warmth, food and water and watch for other symptoms both in her and your other birds.
Posted by: CJR

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/01/14 07:16 PM

My opinion: Sulmet is a poison and directions must be followed EXACTLY. Not a good idea for a sick chicken. Without diagnosis, antibiotics are also a waste, and excessive use when not needed have now given us resistant bacteria (will not help viruses) and may no longer be effective as they formerly would.

We are so sad when we cannot diagnose and treat. Few Vets specialize in chickens. For some problems, Exotic Bird Vets can help. And treatment for chickens is usually for flocks, not an individual bird. Commercial chicken producers just toss a sick bird. We do not!!!

Hunchy, not eating, does not tell enough. Droppings==color and consistancy? Eating or drinking if food is right before the hen? Color of comb, Easy to check for mites or lice, but not a symptom by itself. Not too hopeful, but hope anyway, that she will handle it okay.....Good luck

Crop impaction, as a check by Altair, is one we can do easily. You can feel if it is empty, or full of feed that she ate several days ago, if impacted. Possible to treat sometimes--SEARCH topic will have suggestions, including surgery that you and a helper could do.
Posted by: Zephyr

Re: Sick Faverolle - 03/01/14 09:14 PM

I agree with CJR... Sulmet is nasty stuff. Antibiotics are not that useful when you don't have a confirmed diagnosis....and wth our would not have done much good as her illness would not have been determined in time. Our hens are like members of our family, so it's heart breaking when there is nothing you can do but try and comfort the bird. You might find a knowledgeable person at the grain store, we have southern states here and often you can find people that can offer suggestions. Good luck.