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#13539 - 03/05/07 01:45 AM lethargic hen -- unknown cause
Tookie Offline
Feather

Registered: 09/08/06
Posts: 34
Loc: Washington
Dear everyone:

I have a 4 year old hen who has suddenly started to decline for the past 2 weeks. Her crop seems normal (just pretty empty), her vent seems clean, not egg bound, not discharging out of the eyes or nose, and no mites I can tell. She's just lost a LOT of weight, I can't tempt her to eat anything (not even cottage cheese!), and she just stands around and her eyes seem to be closed a lot. I can't figure out what's wrong with her. Someone suggested coccidiosis, but the other hens in the coop all seem fine and are laying just great. Her wattles and comb are also NOT that pale -- isn't that a symptom of coccidiosis? Is there a common cause of listlessness and weight loss that someone can suggest? And is there a poultry antibiotic or dewormer (if that's the problem) that I can administer to the hen that doesn't have to be given to the entire flock in their water (I'd hate to throw out tons of eggs for no reason)? Any suggestions would be really appreciated! Thank you.

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#13540 - 03/05/07 05:56 AM Re: lethargic hen -- unknown cause
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
I've had that happen on occasion and never figured out what went wrong. My best guess is something bad was happening internally and the bird was just going downhill and the weight loss was the eventual obvious symptom.

Wormers are poison and will surely hasten the death of a bird in that condition. Antibiotics? Well, you'd be shooting in the dark and likely giving diarrhea to an ailing/dying bird. I wouldn't recommend doing either. Antibiotics are of no use unless you know you're dealing with something bacterial, and even then there are certain ones which work better on certain bacteria. It would be sort of like always giving an aspirin to a family member when they complain of any sickness.

I'd separate her, for her own peace as others will pick on her, and I'd try to entice her to eat some by giving her some of her favorite treats. Keep her warm, dry and out of drafts, and see what happens.

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#13541 - 03/05/07 10:03 PM Re: lethargic hen -- unknown cause
Tookie Offline
Feather

Registered: 09/08/06
Posts: 34
Loc: Washington
Thanks for the feedback. I spoke to the owner of a local feed store and he seems pretty convinced it's coccidiosis. But then, another friend of mine with chickens had problems and he thought HER chickens had coccidiosis too. (He seems pretty fixated on that diagnosis!) Anyway, I'm giving Sulamet a try (2 TB to a gallon of water as sole water). I've separated her, given her medicated water, and put a heat lamp over her. I also just started hand feeding her human baby rice cereal constituted with the medicated water. She won't initiate eating on her own, but she swallowed what I squirted into her mouth. I also have some bird meds to maintain her stomache bacteria and flora (leftover from medicine when my cockatiels got sick). I'll just feed her and watch her and hope she gets better. I really like her. She the grand dame of the flock -- she really took over the role of the rooster and watches out for all the other hens. Thanks for your help! I'll let you know what happens.

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