First of all, I would bring her inside and give her a gentle clean up, you can wash away the soiling, using warm water and a mild soap.
Have a good look over her for any signs of external parasites, lice and mites can be very debilitating and can leave birds anaemic and even cause death in severe infestations
remember that red mite spend most of their time off the bird, so you need to treat the housing as well
I would also worm her if this is something you have not done recently. The best and easiest product to use is flubenvet, you can get this from your feed store, vet or online
Whilst she is feeling unwell, I would isolate her, place her in a box lined with towels, where she has easy access to drinking water and tempt her to eat with her favourite foods. A little wet cat food often goes down well.
If she is unwilling to eat or drink, you may need to syringe feed her, nursing tips can be found on the next link http://www.brittonclouse.com/chickenrunrescue/CARING%20FOR%20A%20SICK%20OR%20INJ%20%209_08.pdf
Has Delilah been laying? A common condition in laying hens is egg peritonitis. This occurs when yolk that is released passes into the abdomen setting up an inflammatory reaction. Treatment consists of discouraging laying by reducing the light levels. A course of antibiotics can sometimes be helpful, but the condition has a tendancy to recur and prognosis is poor.
Poultry friendly vets can be found using the next link http://poultrykeeper.com/poultry-vets-uk/poultry-veterinary-practices-services-uk/
another useful link http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/general-health-and-common-diseases/avian-influenza/index.aspx
please reply if you have further questions
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Thank you. She appears to be deteriorating - has spent most of afternoon lying flat with her wings out. We have sorted a box and will bring her indoors tonight and syringe feed her some water.
I`m not sure if she has been laying. we have a number of hens who seem to rotate their laying so it`s difficult to tell who is or isnt. I`m assuming she hasnt been laaying just from her general demeanor.
Yes, I would bring her inside, warm her up and give her some tlc. You can give her a rehydration fluid like diarrholyte which will also provide a little energy.
how do you get a chicken to open its beak to take fluids?
If you wrap her up in a towel, that will control her wings. You can then drip fluid from the end of the syringe onto the end of her beak
You have to be careful that she does not inhale the fluid that you are giving her
You can also tube feed them, but this is more technical and I would advise getting your vet to show you how to pass a tube
what would happen if she inhaled the fluid?
she could drown, if she really inhaled a lot of fluid, or the other scenario is that they can get an inhalation pneumonia. It is very time consuming, but best if you just do little drips of fluid and allow her to swallow in between.
thank you for all your advice. Unfortunately Delilah hasnt made it despite my best efforts. At least she was in the warm and had a comfortable ending.
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. As you say at least you tried all you could and she was comfy at the end