I think my hen is sick. Her head gear (red thingie) started swelling a few days ago.
Today I think her one eye looks swollen. She doesn't seem herself either. What should I do?
What should I do for my sick hen?
Looks like an infection, if she's a pet I'd take her to the vet.
Edited as I forgot to add that I'm sure someone here will know what it is.
This message was edited Jan 23, 2006 12:25 AM
Thanks Baa. I'll have to call around to find a vet that works with chickens.
Mine handles cats & dogs. And I've never had a sick chicken in 8yrs.
(She does look awfully bad doesn't she!)
Tammy, go to http://www.the-coop.org/cgi-bin/UBB/ultimatebb.cgi and ask on the Emergency Room forum. You will get a quick answer from chicken folks.
Wish I could help.
Please look at this post right away:
Does your hen have an awful smell? I am concerned that it is Coryza. I hope she is isolated from the others.
Oh Tammy - that's definitely not frostbite. That definitely looks like some type of nasty infection/disease. Definitely keep this girl well away from your other chickens, & don't handle or even enter the other chickens' quarters without changing shoes & washing up first. Better safe than sorry!!!
Thanks Zeppy! I scanned through the other entries & the on-line info and decided to post the
question. I'll let you know what they say. (What a terrific resource!)
They've been co-mingling. I put her in the stall with the other hens she's been hanging out with.
The other hens roost up high but she doesn't.. so a very minimal separation tonight.
I don't have anywhere else to put her, unless its in a crate... I'll move her out tomorrow.
Oh dear! I guess its been luck - I dont douse them with antibiotics. Will figure out the next step
She seemed quite peppy this morning and the eye wasn't swollen.
I posted on that coop site but no responses yet. I've got an appointment
for her with a vet tonight at 6pm. I'll let you know what he says.
No sign of issue with the other chickens. I scrubbed & sterilized their
water dishes this morning. And she's in a dog crate by herself. I am
keeping my fingers crossed my nasty Guinea Fowl nipped her comb & it
got infected or something.
No sign of nasal (beakal?) discharge. She does not smell. No breathing
difficulties that I can detect. But the vet will have to be the judge of this all!
Thanks for the help!
I took her to the vet. I actually am supposed to give her shots of antibiotics, once a day.
He wasn't sure what it was - said it looked like a chemical or heat burn but might be infection.
She got a shot of antibiotic plus one anti-inflamatory. They took a skin scraping and will
let me know what the find there.
No sign of problems in the rest of the flock.
Poor hen! How's she doing? I hope she feel better after recieving antibiotics daily.
I used to have pet Red Devil. He was injuried real bad by my dog Teddy when he was pup. It was horrible where he pulled skin and feather off Red's back. I brought him inside the house and on old chair so he can sit on. Next day, I called Vet and I went and picked antibiotic bottle. I gave him shot daily. Later, he's back and healthy. Around here, no vets know how to treat chickens. I wish there's one but glad they gave me some antibiotic for Red.
She's a bit better today! Thanks for asking. I have her separated in a rabbit cage.
And I gave her a shot tonight. That's a first for me. Her face is a bit less red and
maybe the swellings down a bit. And so far, no signs of anything wrong with the rest
of my chickens. (I'm up to a total of 16 right now - 2 roosters, both brothers of my sick
little hen, 6 other bantum hens, again her sisters and 7 full sized hens of assorted
Thanks for your inquiries! And glad to hear Red Devil healed up so nicely.
YAY! So glad to hear she's improving!
It makes me think that maybe I should find a chicken vet in our area in case the need arises, then we'll be prepared...
Great news!! Thanks for keeping us updated.
Danak - if you can't locate a livestock vet who deals with poultry, you might try looking for an avian vet. Even though they normally deal with parrots & other feathered exotics, let's face it - birds are birds, & one of them might be able to help you. I took one of my roosters to one years ago before this specialty field took off, & she had no problem diagnosing & treating him successfully.
I don't think she's really looking better now... I bet the initial improvement was the antiinflamatory.
I've given her three doses of baytril (antibiotic injections). I'll call the vet in the morning to ask
if they analyzed the sample and see if they have any more suggestions. She's not any worse
at least! And seems quite alert. No breathing issues.
Tammy, it's been a couple weeks since your last post. Bring us up to date on how your hen is. I hope she got all better. PeggieK
She seemed to be doing pretty well over the weekend so I put the rabbit cage with her in it
into the stall with the hens she'd been with before she got sick. she was there one day and
then we let her out the next. The hens got in a big fight so we moved her to the other stall.
Her comb was bloodied in the fight. So she's been hanging out under the heat lamp for
a few days (seemed much more subdued than before - I think she was not feeling well again).
But she's running around more today. I think she'll be OK.
Thanks for asking! I have to wonder if her problems stemmed from a fight in the first place.
I have raised chickens fo a long time and I have never found anything better than to shove an aspirin down their throat. John
A childs aspirin? And where were you three weeks ago! LOL
I'll give it a try tomorrow - she's a bantum so maybe just 1/2 a regular
Whoa - "shoving an aspirin down their throat"?
I too have raised chickens "for a long time" - as well as Australian finches & hookbills - & no books, avian veterinarian, or even old wives tales have ever mentioned this interesting approach.
Tammy - I'd take this advice with a BIG grain of salt & a lot of research before doing any shoving of over-the-counter meds down your poor chicken's throat. At the very least I'd at least contact the vet who has helped you so far & ask about it. If aspirin was such a "cure all", I find it hard to believe the vet wouldn't have told you to use it.
Tammy, since the hens got into a fight, I also wonder if it could have started from an injury. Did the other hens seem to pick on her before she became ill ? I ask because my one young hen that I put in with the others was kind of an outcast, although she seemed to scurry around fast enough and respect the pecking order. One day I went out to the pen, and she was just dead. I think the other hens just ganged up and killed her. It was so sad.
Ah Peggie.... how awful. My little hen seemed to get along well with her sisters. They slept in
a little pile of feathers together each night. Never noticed them fighting. But maybe I missed it too!
She's back in the rabbit cage to heal and I may wait until its warmer outside to let her loose
again. So she can run around outside instead of being cooped up with the other hens during the day.
Tammy, I did not mean to sound crude, by shoving an aspirin down your hens throat, I have great compassion for my animals, which I have over one hundred, but a hen is like most animals and will not swallow any medication without some persuasion. Even a vet has to "shove a pill down the throat". I meant nothing but tried sound advice. Sorry if I sounded crude. John
No problem! I "shove pills down" the throat of my cat's when they get sick. I knew
what you meant. I've never heard of aspirin for chickens though. Did you run it by
a vet or come by the suggestion from an old-timer chicken farmer?
Tam, I live within a half a mile from a game club. All my neighbors raised roosters to fight. I never agreed with the fighting but boy do they know how to doctor chickens. Some of the roosters costed thousands of dollars and the owners knew how to keep them well and to make them tremendously strong. I incubate all my baby chicks and know who the mama and papa is to everyone of them. And I did mean to tell you that I keep a bottle of 80mg baby aspirin in my chicken house. I would never abuse one of mine. John
I forgot to mention that without taking your hens temp, I cant be sure, but , if she has not been in a fight sometimes their comb will look burned from having a high temp. When a hen starts sitting on a clutch of eggs to hatch them she is sick with a temp. it raises her body temp up to warm the eggs to an incubation temperature. If I dont want the hen to set yet I "give" her an aspirin. She will then go back to laying. Hope this helps. John
thanks everyone for all your advice and help!
I'll keep you updated on her progress... what an amazing world when people
across the country worry about your sick hen! :-)
I keep liquid baby and children's asprin, tylenol, etc. around and have given that to many sick chickens. I gave quite a bit of the tylenol and Motrin to our old Thomas turkey the last few months of his life. He had gotten old and quite large. He acted as tho his hips hurt so I gave him pain meds. Finally I knew it was just too much for him and had him put down. Then we found out that the bottoms of his feet were also in terrible condition. There was never any odor and no sign of infections when he died.
Thanks you all for the amazing and useful info. The liquid aspirin sounds like an easy way to get it down. I would have never thought of that.
Hey, here's another piece of info I saw online....(I hope it's ok to post here, but since we're talking about combs) ........................... Has anyone ever heard that a rooster that has a frostbitten comb and wattles may not be fertile ? It was on a university website on troubleshooting why eggs may not hatch.
So.........................I mentioned that to say, maybe a chicken's comb and wattles is more significant to their general all-over health than I realized.
Tammy, let us know how she's doing. Hopefully she will continue to get better. :D
Thanks - I'm actually out of town for a week so my DH is in charge of the care.
He said she's eating & drinking well. She's in that rabbit cage to keep her safe.
I wish I had another spot for her that was larger - its about 3' x 18" so its not tiny
(and she's a bantum). I guess its luxurious compared to commercial conditions
but it makes me feel a bit sad for her.
Anyway - I'll report on her when I get home. Here's a picture of her on Sat before I
As far as the frostbite/fertility connection, what I've always heard/read is that frostbitten combs & wattles are EXTREMELY painful to the birds once they thaw out & during healing, & the roosters are thus much less "randy" than normal, which explains the lack of egg fertility.
Checking here to see how hen doing? Hope she's getting better daily.
I'm getting reports from my DH that's shes doing well. Thanks for asking!!!
Peggy - thanks! She's 3/4 bantum cochin and 1/4 bantum silky. Did you ever see that PBS
special on chickens? Her grandmother looked just like the little white silky that saved her chicks
from the hawks. I called her Phyllis (like Phyllis Diller with a white poofy hair do).