4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

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GemmaEllen
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4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by GemmaEllen » Tue May 30, 2017 7:50 am

Image

This is Maggie. She is a 4 and a half year old ex-batt, and the one remaining after we lost her sister, Gracie, in January. Over the last few days she's slowed right down - barely eating, spending most of her time asleep, except for the occasional interest in bugs and scratching about.

We've had some hot weather here in the UK, and she's never dealt well with the heat (Gracie was the sunny bird - Maggie prefers it cooler) and a thunderstorm which would have kept her awake all night yesterday.

I know it could be that, and I also know it could just be 'her time' since she is an old lady now, but I wanted to run her symptoms by you guys to see if there is anything I can do to help her?

so here goes...

first thing, for the last few weeks, I've noticed that when she breathes, her sinus bits puff up and deflate (just below her eyes) I don't know if this is normal or whether she's always done it, I just know I noticed it as odd recently.

She's become a bit wheezy too. she squeaks if I pick her up (like a wheeze of an exhale) but she doesn't sound clicky or anything that I would connect with a chest infection or anything.

Yesterday, I did notice that her crop (although mostly empty) was a bit squishy - she's had a bout of slow/impacted crop before which took over a month to get her through, so I tend to keep an eye on her now. I noticed it was still squishy this morning, although I admit i've not watched her since she's been down so it could just be because she's drinking but not eating. It's not big enough for me to think its slow/impacted crop again - it was huge last time, but it is squishy.

she has runny poop at the moment - although she is quite a delicate girl and the strangest things will give her diarrhoea - also, our 2 new girls have had very watery poop these last few days, so I'm putting that down to the heat and increased water intake. The only thing I will say is that, yesterday it was only white/creamy - no black. (this morning there is a bit of black although it's still runny - as you can see from the photo, which suggests she's not impacted)

She's slow and sleepy but does perk up every now and then and will have an amble across the lawn. I gave her some nutri drops yesterday and will do so again later. ( I need DH's help to hold her as she hates it - not like Gracie who was very used to it in the end!)

she's eating all the cucumber I can give her (only the gooey bit in the middle) but is off everything else (sweetcorn, lettuce, raisins, her mash, yoghurt etc - all her usual go to's when she's off colour.) she did have a little bit of a pancake yesterday (we had them for breakfast and thought to try her on it) and she did have some mealworms (I've run out so I'll pick some more up on my way home)

Is there anything else I can do to help her? Its cooler today, so i'm hoping that will help, but I'm worried about her.
RichmondHens
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by RichmondHens » Tue May 30, 2017 7:57 am

I think you've half answered your own questions. The heat will certainly have affected her to an extent, and if she is eating only cucumber and also drinking lots then her poo will change accordingly, as will the feel of her crop. But as you well know 4.5 is a good age for an ex batt and I would be inclined to think it is her time. Carry on giving her lots of TLC and keep her comfortable.

You say you have new girls - how long have you had them and are they still separated from Maggie or not? The sniffles may be a sign that Maggie has picked something up from them if they have been together.
GemmaEllen
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by GemmaEllen » Tue May 30, 2017 8:09 am

thanks for coming back so quickly! We've had the 2 new girls since January, and they are all together now. (farm bred road rock and maran cuveree) Both are laying and fine. (both vaccinated against all the usual's when we got them at 16 weeks)

Another thing I forgot to mention is her comb. Before Gracie died, her comb shrivelled and went grey. I've noticed the tips of Maggie's comb doing the same thing, and its flopped over (which it tends to do when she's poorly) I heard that was heart/circulation issues but don't know much about it?
RichmondHens
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by RichmondHens » Tue May 30, 2017 8:16 am

Combs tend to go darker or a purply colour when there are heart problems. The shrivelling comb is most likely due to hormonal changes brought about by her general poorliness and as you suspect, it may be another sign that she is nearing the end.
GemmaEllen
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by GemmaEllen » Tue May 30, 2017 8:45 am

yeah the purply colour is about right. only on the tips so far, and that's where it's shrivelled. the base is still a nice red. Gracie's comb was really shrunken and purple for a while before she died, and she was slow and sleepy a lot. is there anything you can do for heart failure? I'm a little resigned to the fact that it's just her time - and I'm seeing all the symptoms that I missed in Gracie, but still hoping it's just the heat. <3
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LadyA
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by LadyA » Tue May 30, 2017 9:34 am

She is a good age for her type, but it's not much consolation when you are fond of them, is it?! It does sound as if she is winding down. The longest I ever had a brown girl live for was 5 1/2, but she was one who did take breaks from laying in Winter. Most of the brown girls don't, in their first couple of years, and it does shorten their lives, I think. Just what they are bred to do. Live fast, die young. :(
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Minorcafan
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by Minorcafan » Tue May 30, 2017 5:54 pm

Not much you can do about heart problems. Just keep her comfortable as you are already doing.
GemmaEllen
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by GemmaEllen » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:34 am

Just a quick note on Maggie - she seems to have settled into her new normal. Her comb has not got any more purple -just the tips are purple and wrinkled, and it flops over a little now. She's very slow and not eating a lot of grain or mealworms, but seems to be enjoying cucumber and worms she finds in the garden, lettuce leaves, blueberries (but only the soft insides - she leaves the skin!) she picks at grain sometimes, and will go for the cat food if the cat isn't looking, but wont eat much.

She's still wandering about, although she stops for a nap a lot more often now, and we have to help her in and out of the coop at night/morning, since the ramp seems to be too much for her. Otherwise, she seems happy enough, and doesn't seem to be in any pain (although its so hard to tell with chickens!!!)

So yes, I think it is just 'her time' - I'm letting her go her own way, and spoiling her whilst I still can. <3
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LadyA
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by LadyA » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:02 pm

Looking at Maggie's photo again, she looks as if her undercarriage is a bit low to the ground. Is it, or is it just the angle of the pic? Has she become a bit of a "fat bottomed" girl? Because if so, then it could be that she has developed peritonitis. And at her age, she would be suffering, if that's what it is. Her lower abdomen would feel swollen.

Also, keep an eye on the other hens with her. Chickens will quickly pick up on any weakness, and will often bully an elderly or ill hen to death, thereby removing a potential threat to the flock, as weak or sick hens could potentially attract predators.
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GemmaEllen
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Re: 4.5 year old ex-batt slow, lethargic, not eating

Post by GemmaEllen » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:44 pm

HI Lady A,

I guess she is a bit swollen around her underside, although she's losing weight. What is peritonitis and how do I fix it? The other 2 girls seem fine with her at the moment. they leave her to it, but i'll keep an eye on it. Thanks for the heads up.
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