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    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 8:55am (Jul 21st 2011)
     
    I can't believe I'm actually going to post a chicken query but here goes!

    My 'twin sister' Lynn (we were born on the same day so that makes us twins doesn't it?!) has just got 4 hens. (Well, her hubby wanted them really but she's getting attached now - knew she would!)

    Georgina is 22 weeks old and has just started laying. Eggs are small and were shell-less at first but now they're starting to get a bit firmer. Lynn says that the only way to describe it is that Georgina seems drunk. She spends a lot of time sitting down and when she does get up will fall over and have to steady herself with her wing. She is worse in the evening. Lynn can't feel anything stuck - George is laying - and after trawling the internet and books for help doesn't know what else it could be. The wobbly-ness seems to have coincided with commencement of laying (weekend just gone).

    Any suggestions? Could it be a vitamin deficiency? Ear infection (they look clear, no discharge)? Is she just confused about laying and will get used to this?
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 10:02am (Jul 21st 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hi Kate, :welcome: to the forum :rofl: :001_tongue:

    Hm, doesn't sound good...Few questions;

    1) What is chicken been fed?

    2) How are combs and wattle looking; off-colour, floppy, purple? (I was thinking maybe she's eaten slug pellets or something = poisoning) What is her crop like?

    3)Is she still drinking and eating?

    4) Can she walk at all? Are there any injuries to her legs eg broken bones?

    5) What are poops like?

    6) How are others in flock?

    It *could* be a vitamin deficiency...but if fed pellets and lots of treats I can't see it being that. Maybe get some poultry spice and feed more plain yoghurt. Oyster grit or crushed egg shells for calcium.

    Also, if they've not been DE'd or wormed, I'd do that as soon as possible.

    My first thought was egg binding...I wonder if an egg could be stuck inside, allowing the others to pass, but rotting...? (happened with Libby)

    Second thought, after reading about the falling over, was "eeep Marek's!!" Have a read through the health sticky...but you really don't want it to be that.

    I'd get her to a vet as soon as possible, especially as this is a recent development and she hasn't been like this her whole life, so it's not a birth deformity.

    Sending Georgina and her owner good luck!
    • CommentAuthorlynb
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 12:36pm (Jul 21st 2011)
     
    Hello This is my first post thanks to my 'twin' for suggesting it and thanks for your response
    I hope my answers help as i am getting a little fond of our new pets
    1) What is chicken been fed?
    Chicken pellets, hand fed corn once a day, pasta/rice/veg on rotation, allowed to roam in small area during day and into wider garden for half hour each evening with supervision. No compost pile and i dont use slug pellets

    2) How are combs and wattle looking; off-colour, floppy, purple? (I was thinking maybe she's eaten slug pellets or something = poisoning) What is her crop like?
    Young bird – about 22 weeks so smallish but looks ok but new owner so limited knowledge, crop looks ok but again i am new to this

    3)Is she still drinking and eating?
    yes, and still comes for a fuss (sad I know!!)

    4) Can she walk at all? Are there any injuries to her legs eg broken bones?
    no obvious injury that I can see or feel – she is just a bit ‘drunk’ and unstable on her legs once put back on floor and sits down rather a lot. only started around the same time as she started layin

    5) What are poops like?
    OMG I cannot believe I know the answer to this!!!! I now know the pooping habbits of my kids, cat, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamster, fish and now chickens!!!! (poss hubby as well if I am being honest!!!)
    Poo is same as rest of chickens - have not noticed and change to colour or consistency

    6) How are others in flock?
    I also have 2 brown and one white and they are all fine. They were all purchased from the same place at the same time. All vaccinated and wormed. George only started the tumbling about a week ago – coincided with her first attempts at egg laying. She was walking strangely and not well, a little hunched and the shells were very weak. Have added grit and am wondering about getting a tonic for them and a Gin and Tonic for me!!

    It *could* be a vitamin deficiency...but if fed pellets and lots of treats I can't see it being that. Maybe get some poultry spice and feed more plain yoghurt. Oyster grit or crushed egg shells for calcium.

    will get poultry spice today - can i get it from anywhere or is it specialists

    thanks for your help it is really helpfull
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 12:41pm (Jul 21st 2011) edited
     
    Hi 'sis'! You know what, it's quicker to communicate on here than via our work e-mail system!

    I suggested Lyn turf her hubby out of bed and on to the settee and give Georgia the bed for the night, but for some reason Lyn refused that one. Just not dedicated enough!

    Thanks Red, glad you're around to help. :heart:
    • CommentAuthorlynb
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 1:41pm (Jul 21st 2011)
     
    happy to turf hubby out but do i have to replace with chicken?
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 2:45pm (Jul 21st 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Sorry to be abrupt (hello Lynn by the way) - but Vets NOW.

    The symptoms you're describing are not your usual 'small' problem - they point to something very serious and possibly fatal to your hen.

    Hens don't get confused about laying, the most likely thing is there's shell, or a part formed egg stuck in the poor thing and it's slowly dying of septicemia.

    You should get it to a vets as soon as possible, it's certainly not drunk, or dizzy, but will be stressed and possibly in pain, even if you have to euthanise, at least it won't have had to slowly die a painful and horrible death.

    You owe her that much at least... :face-crying:
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 4:02pm (Jul 21st 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Agreed as above :)

    Posted By: lynbshe is just a bit ‘drunk’ and unstable on her legs once put back on floor and sits down rather a lot. only started around the same time as she started layin


    Not being able to walk is a very serious symptom, if it's not a broken bone or damaged leg it's usually something that will be fatal if not treated quickly. Although the fact Georgina is eating and drinking is a great sign.

    Our hen Libby died from septicaemia (an egg that had been stuck inside her broke and began to rot); she couldn't walk, lay on the ground a lot, and she died on the way to the vets. We felt horrible for not noticing or getting her there sooner :cry:

    Poultry Spice can be bought offline or in farm house stores, even some pet shops will stock it. You can give it to all your girls...it's just a pick me up, not a miracle cure.

    Good luck.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 4:12pm (Jul 21st 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: lynb
    yes, and still comes for a fuss (sad I know!!)



    Ha, we don't think that!

    These are of me and my Milly. She died almost a year and a half ago from cancer and she was my little baby. Some of my all-time favourite pics of her taken in the garden in summer 2009 :smile:
      6.jpg
      10.jpg
      15.jpg
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 21st, 2011 10:13pm (Jul 21st 2011)
     
    What I don't understand is how it could be a stuck egg when she is still laying? Is it because of the soft shells allowing it to pass by?

    I'm so sorry Lyn, but it doesn't sound good for poor Georgina. I know you wouldn't want her to suffer and I hope your digit and olive oil can help her tonight.
    • CommentAuthorlynb
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 8:38am (Jul 22nd 2011)
     
    hello all and thanks for you comments
    am awaiting a call from a 'man who can' about george and will keep you updated. he should be able to pop round today and hhopefully sort one way or other....

    she appears ok in herself though last night she ate rather well - but to be honest i did a wide range of food (pasta rice veg yogurt and cous cous to my husbands delight as he always claimed it to be bird food anyway!!). this morning she is a little unstable but still eating and drinking. chickens are eating better than the family - lets hope they dont think I am fattening them up for lunch!!!

    thank you all again - although i was not impressed at having the chickens i have kinda gone soft over them!
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 9:54am (Jul 22nd 2011)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    That doesn't sound like a vet, and "one way or the other" sounds a bit ominous, but hopefully they will have enough knowledge (and compassion) to not just jump to the "wring it's neck" conclusion. I don't think any living thing should be seen as a disposable, replaceable commodity.

    One good thing to note though is I would have thought your hen would have died by now, or be deteriorating quickly if it was septicemia caused by obstruction / egg binding (it happens very quickly, and is often too late by the time you've noticed it, unfortunately).

    That still doesn't help you with her problem though, and I do think the only sensible course of action is finding a good poultry vet.
    • CommentAuthorlynb
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 10:36am (Jul 22nd 2011)
     
    hello chicken man at moment appear to be best option as the local vet receptionist was not very reassuring about vets knowledge of chickens although not belittling vet as our other pets go there. Guy is a breeder of birds with several years experience so we do trust him and will be guided by him, he also is bringing vet detials, just in case. George is currently sitting in sun with her friends oblivious to the concerns of the day. as long as she is ok she will remaain with us, if there are any concerns then we will have to deal with that, if she just is happy sitting around then that fine by me - girl of my own heart!!
    • CommentAuthorlynb
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 10:37am (Jul 22nd 2011)
     
    by the way Kate 'twin' - was going to email you however i cannot access my emails!!! how are we going to manage hotdesking and a mentality of beinga able to work from anywhere is beyond me!!!
    see you on monday
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 2:19pm (Jul 22nd 2011)
     
    Hi Lyn, glad to hear Georgina is a little brighter today. On a 'let's think of a positive' note, maybe as her first eggs were pretty much shell-less maybe there was a little bit of something but her immune system is gradually dealing with it. I hope the bird man can reassure you or suggest a solution.

    By way of reassurance to Neil, I am sure that Lyn wouldn't allow him to wring her neck (er, the chicken's, not Lyn's!) She was distraught when the guinea pigs were stolen a while back so does have a good heart despite her trying to hide it sometimes! Any 'dispatching' would be completely humane I am sure, and will be a last resort.

    Systems are rubbish again here at work Lyn - if only we had some decent IT we might manage to get some work done! Text me if you need me.
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 2:48pm (Jul 22nd 2011)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I wasn't trying to be disparaging, just that best intentions are sometimes not good enough for the welfare of an animal...

    Glad to hear the guy sounds like he knows his stuff, keep us informed of how you all get on and good luck!

    Hopefully it's something trivial / treatable and this thread will have a happy conclusion, and serve as good information for others who may be unfortunate to have the same happen to them...
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 6:13pm (Jul 22nd 2011)
     
    Posted By: Kateb we might manage to get some work done!


    No need for that sort of language, Kate...tut tut!
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd, 2011 11:35pm (Jul 22nd 2011)
     
    I quite agree Neil and a very valid point to make! Another friend of mine's dad would be saying "give it here and I'll wring its neck" and her mom would be saying "get away from my girls".

    I was hoping Lyn would post how her 'manual digital evacuation' efforts had gone, but it sounds like she's delegated that job to the bird man!

    Sorry CC - but I can reassure you I still didn't manage to get much done. We're at the point where it'd be quicker to type a letter and send it by snail-mail. At least it'd get to its intended destination instead of these constant "the e-mail address cannot be found" replies.
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd, 2011 2:45pm (Jul 23rd 2011)
     
    I've always said email is overrated!
    • CommentAuthorlynb
    • CommentTimeJul 25th, 2011 10:08am (Jul 25th 2011)
     
    well we are sadly no further forward

    Georgie is sitting all the time - no energy. comb still upright and nice colour, alert and watching everything around her and here eyes remain bright, poo ok, she gave us a 'normal' egg yesterday but that left her completely 'flat' however she did buck up and she ate rather well being hand fed by my youngest daughter.
    Chicken man told us what it is not, not paralysed, no pain, not egg-bound the list is endless ....
    chicken vet on holiday
    so we remain in almost the same position !! any ideas welcome
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 25th, 2011 9:55pm (Jul 25th 2011)
     
    That's a brief message Lyn - I'll expand a little after our conversation and explain that the Chairman's office is directly behind your desk so you can't get caught on the hencam forum!!!

    The chicken man gave Georgina a thorough check over to exclude as many of the obvious outcomes as he could. Lyn spoke to the vet practice who offered to give Georgie an antibiotic shot, but no explanation of what it would be for (smacks of grasping at thin air by a vet who hasn't the first idea!)

    The only thing we can think of is that she is broody. I don't know if that's normal/possible in a hen that has only just started to lay, and she hasn't plucked her feathers so even that is a wild guess. We wondered if maybe she was being badly bullied, but again there's no feather pulling (but I said maybe she's just very good at avoiding the bigger girls!) Lyn thinks she seems thinner on her chest. Maybe its a combination of the 2 things?

    My colleague phoned her parents as they've had chickens for many years. Strangely enough, one of her mom's hens is doing a similar thing - falling over, propping herself up, seems weak - but this bird has been broody before and according to her mom this seems 'different', and her dad said he'd never seen it before.

    I think only time will tell with this one. Georgie is being fed and watched as much as possible, and when the chicken vet gets back his brains will be picked (not literally of course!) Lyn is going to try Georgina on scrambled egg as that's been suggested by a couple of people, though she feels its a bit cannibalistic!

    If anyone does have any more ideas please post them, however strange they may seem. Lyn: I'm on leave tomorrow (Tues) so will see you Wed for an update. Anything before that post here please! Thanks sis!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJul 26th, 2011 3:30pm (Jul 26th 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Scrambled eggs are good, recommended to chickens and dogs as get well foods!

    Even though I haven't seen George's behaviour, I'm almost 100% certain it's not broodiness...if she was broody she wouldn't be laying, she'd be able to walk, she would make funny noises when you go near (like a telephone), and would be sitting in a dark private space, or wherever the other eggs are laid...I wouldn't guess bullying either if it's never been witnessed and there are no bald spots or fallen feathers.

    All I can suggest is the vets as soon as they return...are there any other vets in the area...? Monitor her in case she gets worse, and keep checking she is eating and drinking.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 26th, 2011 10:23pm (Jul 26th 2011)
     
    Lyn is waiting for the vet recommended by the bird man. She is eating and drinking, though she's selective about what she eats, preferring cous cous to layer pellets!

    I think she can walk but is choosing not to. I'm not sure about where she's sitting - I think Lyn said they've moved her to the rabbit run so that they can keep an eye on what she's eating and drinking and make sure she gets enough, and it was suggested they don't eat her eggs just in case. She is sitting on the sawdust in the rabbit run and it's very warm underneath her apparently! She goes to bed with the other girls so that they keep some contact, and it seems to be relatively quiet overnight. They haven't seen obvious bullying, but the 2 brown girls will steal food from her mouth (spaghetti fight!) and are doing the same to the white hen (Duck). (Isn't that a great name!)
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 27th, 2011 11:52pm (Jul 27th 2011)
     
    Lyn says Georgina is eating and drinking well, looks bright and healthy, comb is red etc and she 'boks' along quite happily, but just refuses to get up. Lyn held her up and she seemed quite happy, but as soon as she let go George went straight back to lying down (after a wobble or 2). If her legs are pulled out then Georgie will pull them back, but it's as if she has no strength in them.
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeJul 28th, 2011 4:27am (Jul 28th 2011)
     
    I hope it's not Merrick's disease. That doesn't sound good about her legs.:face-sad:
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 28th, 2011 11:07pm (Jul 28th 2011) edited
     
    No, apparently she doesn't have any of the other symptoms. Its as if she just can't be bothered to stand up.

    It's been going on for a week now and I was chatting to Lyn about Georgina's quality of life. All she does is sit. They take food to her, otherwise she wouldn't eat and would starve.

    It is very sad - Lyn said she (hen, not Lyn!) is the prettiest and friendliest of the 4.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJul 29th, 2011 10:32am (Jul 29th 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Haha, if she'd let herself starve if food wasn't brought to her, it's definitely not that she just can't be bothered to walk...You know what chickens are like with their food!!

    It could still be Marek's, symptoms often 'disappear' with that disease, although it's not uncommon for a bit of paralysis to remain. It's not a notifiable disease so you can just have birds with Marek's living as long as they're happy to, as long as they're in no pain. Was it TracyB's chickens on the forum who had Marek's? Might be worth looking through some old threads...

    When does the vet get back? She needs to be seen by a vet.
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeJul 29th, 2011 11:52am (Jul 29th 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Agree with Scarlet completely.

    Broody hens can walk.

    Hens which "can't be bothered to walk" are very often on death's door.

    A hen that can't walk to food/water is VERY ill.

    I can't believe there's only 1 vet in the whole country who can see that poor hen. I also refuse to believe it's perfectly happy and is simply 'refusing' to get up.

    If it IS something like a genetic defect (dodgy legs or whatever), then surely it would be best having this confirmed by a qualified vet rather than pontificating that it's just a lazy hen that is willing to starve itself to death?! At least if you know that it's a problem with it's legs you can plan care around that, rather than not knowing if it's possibly something else such as a notifiable, contagious disease?

    I can see I'm appearing harsh here but I'm actually seething that someone could let the possible suffering of an animal go on for so long with what appears to be so little care, and still make jokes about it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 30th, 2011 7:15pm (Jul 30th 2011)
     
    We are all having very stressful times at work and the only way we cope with it is to make jokes. Sorry if it seemed insensitive - it really isn't and I'm sorry if it's upset you, it wasn't meant to. I'll be more careful in future.

    You should remember that these are their first hens, so it is all a very steep learning curve. There is a lot of advice being offered from many quarters - the usual vet's only suggestion was antibiotics because they don't know what to do with chickens. The 'expert' vet gets back this weekend. I can't see the point in taking her to a vet that doesn't know what to do. I went through that with my rats and seeing a vet that didn't have experience caused Molly's death.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeJul 31st, 2011 3:44pm (Jul 31st 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    No probs Kate...the next bit isn't from an admin POV, just mine, and if it sounds in anyway harsh it wasn't supposed to. I'm just not very good at wording things! :tooth:

    I think our main worry is that this thread was started a week and a half ago,but George hasn't been to a professional vet...with symptoms that serious, if it were one of our chickens, we'd be rushing her from vet to vet until she improved. I'm not saying George's owners are 'bad' or anything, not at all, it's just I think we're a bit concerned that it's not being recognised how serious this is.

    I understand that first time caring for chickens is difficult and a steep learning curve; we lost Libby on the way to the vets because she was egg bound. Now, I like to think we'd at least recognise those symptoms and try get her to a vet in time. The problem with chickens is that for the more serious ailments, they do need vet treatment as soon as possible...especially when nobody, even those who have kept chickens for years, can guess what it is and can only comment that it's not good.

    Even though George is acting 'happy', that doesn't mean that this isn't something serious, that she isn't in pain or that she doesn't have something contagious...whenever something like this pops up, the best course of action is vets straight away, whatever that takes.

    I understand that a lot of vets aren't great with chickens - believe me I do! - but there are always other clinics and other vets. We've found two vets very close to us who are relatively good with chickens; they don't claim to know everything but we trust them.

    This isn't meant to be rude or anything, and I don't mean to make you or Lyn feel unwelcome on the forum - we'd hate for you to disappear - it's just that we need to stress how much George's behaviour isn't normal and that she needs help.

    I hope this makes sense...
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeJul 31st, 2011 8:29pm (Jul 31st 2011)
     
    Chickens are very good at covering up what is wrong with them until it's too late to help them, in flocks, they can't show any sign of illness or injury or they will be picked on by the other chickens. When you do notice something like George's problem, it really does mean something is VERY wrong.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJul 31st, 2011 11:15pm (Jul 31st 2011)
     
    I understand where you're coming from Red - remember that these are her hubby's first hens and caring for them seems to have fallen to her. She is interpreting what she sees in front of her and if a hen appears to be happy then she'd have no reason to think otherwise. The hen has been seen by people who either know a fair amount about birds or who keep hens themselves (30 years experience) one of whom is at the house every day.

    She text me today to say that Georgina was up and having a go at getting around, though still unsteady. I will check that she's read your posts and if not, fill her in on what you suggest.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeAug 1st, 2011 11:45am (Aug 1st 2011) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: Kateb if a hen appears to be happy then she'd have no reason to think otherwise


    But the hen can't walk. Think of it as a child, if they stopped being able to walk you'd rush them to A&E immediately. You'd do the same for a dog. Chickens are no different, and getting them help when needed is part of the responsibility of owning them.

    And yes, there are very experienced people coming round to see George (which is good) but none of them have been able to work out what's wrong, and as far as we've been told none of them are trained vets...

    I know the 'expert' vet got back this weekend, so hopefully s/he will be able to work out what's up and solve it.

    The thread's will be closed now, because there's nothing more we can say or advice we can give that hasn't already been said.

    If any more information comes to light, please let us know and it will be added to this thread. It would be good (and very helpful to other owners) for the resolution to be available here.