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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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She was lethargic and her comb was laying over and purple so

Customer Question

She was lethargic and her comb was laying over and purple so I brought her in. I found she had a pretty bad infestation of lice so washed her with dawn and have seven dust but haven't used it yet. Her breathing seems irregular. not really sure what is wrong. I have been giving her water via a syringe several times a day.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The veterinarian will know how to help the bird. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: She is one of my bosses birds so she doesn't have a name I think maybe 1.5 yrs old. I took her when I saw she wasn't doing well...
JA: Is there anything else the veterinarian should be aware of about I?
Customer: she won't eat and she shakes her head back and forth a lot without reason also her comb is purple tinged
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 8 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Bob. I'm very sorry to read of your hen's condition.

Has she been laying eggs regularly in the past few weeks?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I can't be sure as she is one of my bosses and I only work on Sat and take care of them then.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
He has 5 hens and only gets 3 eggs on average a day.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 8 months ago.

Okay, I understand. How long has it been since you first noticed something wrong?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Saturday but I was told she was Latin in the sun on Fri which is unusual
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Laying she is not walking
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 8 months ago.

Okay, thank you. Chickens, like other birds, have an instinct that causes them to hide the symptoms of illness. This is a protective behavior that helps them avoid attracting the attention of predators and bullies in their own flocks. Because of this instinctive behavior, disease processes are often quite advanced by the time they're noticed by caretakers.

Have you noticed any change in the color, consistency or volume of her droppings?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
She hasn't had any droppings since sat
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I took her out of the coop and home because the other chickens were pecking at her. She has not been handled at all and let me bathe and give her water with a syringe so shes pretty sick
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
should I get some antibotics? I have wormer but it is in pellet form and she isn't eating
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
She is a Bovan hen if that helps
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Her bottom was caked with dropping and she is missing alot of feathers at her vent. I cleaned her up. There was almost a wool like substance around some of the feathers at the base that would not come off easily/
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 8 months ago.

Thank you. This is almost certainly a very serious condition, most likely life-threatening. I suspect the loss of feathers around her vent is due to feather picking by the other birds in the little flock. Birds frequently peck at this area on debilitated flockmates.

The blue color of the comb indicates a lack of oxygen in the blood. There are a number of conditions that may cause the symptoms you've described in a chicken of her age, the most common of which is one called lymphoid leucosis. Other diseases that may cause the same and similar symptoms include chronic respiratory disease, parathyphoid, pullorum (rare), chronic aspergillosis (rare), and tuberculosis. You can read detailed descriptions each disease by Googling the name of the disease and adding "in chickens". You can try to nurse her along by keeping her warm in a towel-lined cardboard box, feeding warm nutritious foods like pancakes, cooked oatmeal and cornbread, and offering clean water often. The outlook is not good for her, however, and if she survives three or more days without signs of improvement, she should be put out of her misery. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you, but I'm actually working at my clinic on a busy Monday morning, and have to reply as time permits, between seeing patients. If I can be of any further help, please let me know. Kind regards, *****

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 8 months ago.

I just noticed your question about antibiotics. Yes, you can try using an antibiotic, but none of the conditions I've listed respond very well to antibiotic therapy. Still, something like erythromycin or (Gallimycin) or tylosin (Tylan) might be helpful in saving or prolonging her life. Let me know should you have any further questions. Best regards, *****