Comb getting darker

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cuwiar
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Comb getting darker

Post by cuwiar »

Hello! It's been a while since I posted and it is a health matter that has brought me back.

I have a two and half year old girl who is poorly.

The flock were wormed a couple of weeks ago with Flubenvet.

The poorly girl is hunched up and weak and her comb is getting darker. She isn't really eating, just standing still and sleeping but she does eat when I offer her scrambled egg and mealworms.

She has been off lay for months. At first her eggs were very weak shelled and eventually no shell and then stopped altogether for a couple of months. A few weeks ago she laid a couple of good normal eggs and then stopped again. I put this down to age and was happy to let the other three carry her in the egg production!

She has been healthy overall and recently had a slight moult but is back to normal feather coverage.

We were away at the weekend and last saw her on Wednesday afternoon when she was fine. When I next saw her in daylight it was Monday morning and she wasn't well. During our break they were confined to the run and only had their standard mash and pellets to eat.

Any suggestions, I feel it could be terminal :(
elmdene
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by elmdene »

Oh dear. I'm no expert and I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but that's what happened to my cockerel a few months ago and sadly it was terminal. I took him to the vet and he had an antibiotic injection but it was no good. The vet said the comb going dark was a sign of his organs going into shock and shutting down because of illness. He had suspected cocci but I'm sure you would have noticed anything abnormal with your chicken's poo. I do hope she is ok and that someone else can be of more help.
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Marigold
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by Marigold »

Hi Cuwiar, good to hear from you again, but I'm sorry its because of problems with your girl.
As Elmdene says, a comb changing to a darker colour is not a good sign, especially on a hen that has a history of being below par healthwise for some time. If it's going purple or blueish, this may indicate heart problems, otherwise yes, organ failure is a possibility. Of course only a vet who had seen the bird could give you definite advice.
You may need to decide whether on balance its best to take her to the vet. for a diagnosis, or just keep her as warm and comfortable as you can at home for the time being. You may find she goes downhill very rapidly from this point on - chickens do their best to hide illness until its pretty serious, and then often they just keel over. Or maybe she will perk up anyway, if you are able to provide warmth and a nourishing diet - I do hope so.
Please let us know how she gets on.
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cuwiar
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by cuwiar »

Thank you for your concern and hello! It's good to see you are still here :)

She is still not good but she has got sour crop which I have only discovered today. I have drained some of it but have been taking it easy as one of our other girls got sour crop and then died after I had been trying to drain her and I'm worried it was due to my inexperienced actions; I don't want to make the same mistake so will drain her again tomorrow.

I know this doesn't explain her dark comb but hopefully I can make her more comfortable while I figure what is really wrong with her.

I hate to sound dismissive but due to her age and the fact she hasn't been laying for quite some time I don't want to spend too much at the vets on her. I will keep her comfortable and won't let it get to her suffering but I feel she has had her time.

She has been my favourite girl and have a lot of respect for her.
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Marigold
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by Marigold »

I do feel for you in the decisions you have to make, and I think you have a very realistic and kind view if the probable situation. It's very likely that a trip to the vet would only stress her out, and wouldn't result in a good outcome for her anyway. Expensive treatment for a young and productive bird where recovery is very probable is one thing, but it may well be that her time has run out and you are already doing everything that is possible for her.
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chrismahon
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by chrismahon »

Hello Cuwiar. We never drain sour crops by turning the bird upside-down because of the risk of suffocation. The vet gave us a large syringe and tube for the purpose which we have only used once and then discovered that her crop was full of grit as well which blocked the tube. Ours go onto a water only diet for 24 to 48 hours with regular massaging to clear the crop completely. In extreme cases we use 5mL of an Epsom salts solution made as the instructions for human consumption (teaspoon in 250mL warm water). That has always worked. When the poo is free of 'slime' and the crop is empty they are OK. Return to feed and a check on the poos for a few days to be sure they remain normal. We do however catch all our cases very early because we check the poos under the perches ever day for abnormalities when we clean them out. After Epsom salts they need probiotic yoghurt, because the salts kill everything in the digestive system, good and bad.

As said a darkening comb is symptomatic of a heart disorder or other internal problem. Having said that our Wyandotte cock regularly has a dark comb as he gets stressed with his girls, but it returns to normal afterwards. We would normally give a course of Baytril as a last resort, but you need to cure the sour crop first.
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cuwiar
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by cuwiar »

Thanks for the advice again Chris.

She is isolated with water with ACV only at the moment. She did seem brighter today and had laid - although she ate it! I had shut them in overnight due to the fireworks and didn't get there in time to let them out before mishaps. She doesn't eat many eggs but it's something I'm watching out for!

Her crop still feels squishy but with very little in it. I'll keep massaging and get her some live yoghurt and see how she goes.

I'll let you know!
elmdene
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by elmdene »

Hello Cuwiar. I keep wondering what happened to your poorly girl? I do hope she recovered.
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cuwiar
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by cuwiar »

Hi All,

Sorry for the delay updating you!

Mai has made a brilliant recovery!

She got over the sour crop and picked up really well, her comb has even gone back to a normal colour. She isn't laying but hasn't been for ages and is well in herself. She can keep going strong and I'll let her off the not laying - especially as we have three others who are all producing well.

Thanks for your help and concern - she fights on!
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BabyBantam
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Re: Comb getting darker

Post by BabyBantam »

Yeah :)
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