Monday, April 23, 2012

Sick Chicken

This post is about an ill chicken.
Please be advised that I write about some gross stuff.
Also, as with all my posts - This is NOT medical advice!
This is just writing about my experiences - there you go.

about 8 months old
about 4.5lbs

Watery, odorless diarrhea
lethargy and silence
loss of appetite
increased thirst
Wattles and face were redder than the others - maybe fever?

Saturday I noticed my gold-laced Wyandotte Ginger was ill. She seemed egg bound as she was hiding out panting in her nest box all morning.
I took her out of the box to examine her and "force" her to eat and drink something.
She ate a little and drank alot. Then I noticed she was having trouble passing clear diarrhea. She walked around very slowly in the run for about 30 minutes before returning to her box.
Note - the night before she layed the egg in the hammock during the nite.
She remained in her box all afternoon  - no egg.
But, she remained slow and mopey. I decided to see if she would recover over nite naturally.
I let her stay with the flock thinking she may be worn out from a difficult egg. I decided to keep a closer eye on her the nest day.

 Sunday morning she was down from the roost but was lethargic and would drink a lot but not eat. She wouldn't even make chicken noises. She had layed an egg in a nest box sometime since we put them to bed last nite.

I separated her by isolating her to the run and let the others pasture and have access to the coop all day.
I gave Ginger a handful of feed and a bowl of water with ornacyn-plus.
She drank the water but would not eat or scratch . She was only interested in drinking and laying in the sun.
I was hoping not to have to cull her.
She did not mind being away from the flock.
She just laid around and drank water. No interest in scratching or eating.
I soaked her bum in warm water and cleaned off as much of the gross that I could without traumatizing her too much.
She continued to have watery, odor-less diarrhea all day.

By 2 hours before sunset, she was holding her wings a little higher and starting to walk around.
She still would not eat her feed or earthworms but ate a few grubs and small beetles I threw at her.
An hour later she started eating her feed and ate a spinach leaf. She started to make a few chicken sounds when we approached.
By the time sunset came, I determined she was well enough to sleep in on the roost with the flock.

Monday I separated her again in the morning and gave medicated water. She was feeling so much better by then that she dumped the water and was pushing on the gate to go out with the flock and forage.
I let her out. She was noticeable slower than the rest of the girls but was still interested in eating greens and scratching for bugs albeit in slow motion.
It is more difficult to administer meds to chickens that are feeling better. I mixed the ornacyn-plus powder with shredded cheese, quinoa and bran to make a small antibiotic treat mush. She enjoyed that and ate it up.
I let her join the group today and will be keeping an eye out on her and the others for signs of illness.
Afternoon: she has been slow and still showing signs of illness: sleepy eyes, slow. But, she is up and eating and drinking and even took a bath and is laying in sun with her friends.
Evening: she is back to about 75% herself. Stools still loose but have solids in them.Still a tad slower than normal but is back to running in short bursts. I think I can handle this recovery.

I will continue to give her a dose a day (29mg per day) for 5 days as with all antibiotic treatment you have to keep taking the dosage even when you feel better.

After she is back to normal speed, I will give the girls some probiotics to help restore her system.

Yesterday she gave me a chase around the tree while trying to avoid her morning meds. Although she seemed to slow down in the late afternoon. Was sleepy after foraging but, still held wings and tail normal.
Today she was acting like a normal chicken. Still sluggish in the PM but not as much as yesterday. I would say she is at about 85-90%. Poo is getting more normal. fed tablespoon of yogurt to each girl. Ginger did not lay today or yesterday.

All better! Off meds. She is back to being a regular chicken. Still no egg.
All better and taking a bath with her friend.

I will have to ditch her eggs for the duration of the treatment time plus seven days after just to be safe.

About my method of treatment:
I prefer to let nature do it's best and only step in and use medications as a last resort. Nature knows best. But, I also do not let my creatures suffer, nor do I want to loose my flock needlessly. I also do not want to spend a stupid amount of financial resources to save one bird. I love them, but they are not people.

Ginger does seem to be a less-healthy bird then the others. This would be the 2nd time she has gotten ill since I got them 6 months ago.

I scoured the web and the Merek Vet manual and could not find any illness that matched her symptoms. Maybe she just is immunodeficient.

Final UPDATE 4/30/2012:

Ginger is her good 'ole diva self again!
She has been laying shell-less eggs from the roost. Her 1st egg was about 2 days after treatment stopped. She "laid" 2 eggs in 24 hours. The next day was also 2 but, one was shell-less and very thin membrane!
Not sure if it is bad because she is not laying in the nest boxes or good because she is not laying in the nest boxes. Hmm... I say good for lack of busted shell-less eggs in the boxes!

Info I used for drug info:

The following is a detailed medical research of the drug in poultry, cattle and humans etc... very detailed and technical but extremely useful!


Joined the Barn Hop


  1. After she laid about 5-7 shell less eggs, she stopped laying completely. No egg for about 3 days. Would have to ditch them anyway but hopefully she will start back to laying soon. Other than being a food moocher and laying no eggs, she is a happy, healthy, beautiful silly little diva of a chicken.

    1. Of course after I post she starts laying again. Still Shell-less.
      Has anyone had experience with EDS 76 in their flock. All the medicals I read on it are similar but, sometimes experience can be a better teacher. If you or you know someone that has had EDS 76 in the flock, please you are invited to drop me a comment.


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