Going to farms when I was growing up was one of my favorite things to do. I loved the fresh air, the fruit trees, and the barn animals.
My favorite place, however, was the chicken coop. Chickens are surprisingly sociable if you understand them, and I feel I did.
I would collect eggs from all the nooks and crannies and then just sit there with the lovely birds. One of these days I noticed that one of the hens was looking especially weak and pale and I ran to tell my parents.
My father came immediately and set to work, quarantining the hen and taking great care of her the following week.
Most of our chicken eggs and other chicken products come from chicken farms, these pet birds are given every attention and care to yield higher returns.
Chickens’ health is one of the top concerns for pet chicken owners, as deteriorated health or death of the bird is bad for the production and also brings sadness to the owner.
If you have sick or dying pet chicken at your farm or house, it is important to comfort it in the right way.
How do you know if a chicken is suffering?
It’s very important to look after your chickens, these birds are very sensitive but don’t usually show emotions, you can look out for some signs to know if your chicken is suffering in any way.
- One of the major signs of any kind of suffering in chickens is a reduction in appetite.
- Sickness and suffering are followed by diarrhea or loose stools as well.
- The eyes of the chicken will become watery.
- The chicken may experience severe constipation.
- Difficulty in seeing and may get watery eyes.
- Sometimes the stool may contain some parasites.
- Sometimes the eyes may swell up.
- Different types of spots all over the skin.
- Difficulty in breathing and may experience coughing and sneezing.
- They may also receive blood with stools in case of a severe problem
- Rasping while breathing in and out.
- A chicken may suffer if it has a severe wound or sore.
- Some birds may smell bad during a sickness
- The increase in the size of the crop
- The wattles and comb can swell up if the chicken is suffering
- Sometimes the chicken may isolate itself when suffering from a disease or anything.
- The chicken may feel weak and sometimes can’t stand properly.
- Sitting and standing in odd positions.
- The comb and wattles may get some lesions.
- Showing a lot of discomforts.
Signs a chicken is slowly dying. How do they behave?
I hate the moment when any of my pets die suddenly, it feels really bad. Sometimes you can save the life of your pets by giving them the right treatment if you can understand that they are going to die.
Dullness in feathers
Dullness in feathers accompanied by bald spots is among the major signs that suggest the bird is sick and can die if left uncared for.
These sign can indicate a lot of things like
- Infestation by external parasites
- Seasonal molting (No need to worry in this case)
- Some sort of illness
- Viral infection
If you find any of these signs in your chickens it is important to look after them. Healthy chickens usually have shiny and thick white feathers and there are no bald patches on the skin and feathers.
In some cases, if you see missing feathers there is no need to worry.
- It is perfectly fine if the chicken is going through the normal molting process.
- During mating season, the rooster in the flock can get a bit rough while mounting the hens with all his might and can get dispatched feathers as well.
Comb or wattle dullness
The one thing that is most eye-catching in a chicken is the bright red or pink wattle and comb. Healthy chickens generally have these bright-colored combs and wattles.
Dullness in the color of Comb and wattle can suggest some underlying disease or any other problem.
The bright-colored comb and wattles are there over and below the head of the chicken to help them with better blood circulation and allow them to deal with high temperatures as well.
Less interest in Food
Loss of appetite is one of the most common signs that animals and birds show while going through any sort of illness, the chickens will start eating very little food and will barely drink any water.
In such a situation, taking help from a vet will help your birds in recovering easily.
Difficulty in Breathing
Chickens in the first phase of illness do not show this sign, difficulty in breathing generally comes at the later stages of a disease, but it’s not the end of the life for the chicken. Your birds can recover if proper treatment is given.
One thing that every chicken owner should keep in mind is that after you notice your birds are having difficulty breathing you should act as quickly as possible.
Timely isolation of the bird and treatment can save the life of the birds as well as of the whole flock from possible infection.
I know for a fact that chickens and other birds’ backs can tell you a lot about their health. You should look randomly at your birds back for a timely inspection.
In case of an illness or any other digestive ailment, the birds may have a dirty black back.
It indicates that the bird is suffering from a disease or a digestive illness. In both cases, it is important to give the right medical treatment to the bird.
Another thing, checking up the stool of your chickens can also indicate their health, look out for parasites in their poop, sometimes your hens can have a runny stool but if this happens frequently this can be a negative sign for the bird’s health.
Hen getting hunched up
Well, this one if for the ladies, If your hens are hunched up, there is something wrong with them.
Hens can be in serious pain, maybe feeling sick, or maybe having difficulty in laying eggs.
Sometimes hens suffer a lot if the egg gets stuck in the oviduct, proper medical attention is required to remove the egg and to make her feel comfortable.
How do you save and revive a sick or weak chick? | chicken slowly dying
Isolating the bird.
It is extremely important to isolate the sick bird from the rest of the flock, it will help you in giving the much-required attention to the bird and in case of communicable infection, it also reduces the chance of spreading of infection.
It is important to isolate the bird in a proper space, the area should be quite big and open so the birds don’t feel suffocated, it should provide protection to the bird, safely accessible, and allows the bird to move freely.
You can use big crates or open boxes as an alternative for providing isolation to a sick bird. The location of this isolation chamber is also crucial, make sure that it is placed in a well-protected area from any kind of predators or bad weather conditions.
The temperature of the isolation chamber should be maintained at room temperature to keep the bird warm.
Providing nutritious food
Sick and ailing chickens stop eating food and this further deteriorates their health. In most cases, the chicken’s body stops absorbing the nutrition from the diet during sickness and as a result of it, the chicken does not feel any hunger to eat.
The eating behavior of different chickens during or after any ailment can vary a lot, the feeding should be done according to the behavior of the birds.
Mainly there are three kinds of behavior that the birds show
- Ready to eat willingly
- Need encouragement to eat
- Disinterested in Food.
Ready to eat willingly
Most of the time those sick birds who are willing to eat more food require food highly rich in proteins and calcium and other macro and micro nutrients as well.
In case of sickness, the body of a chicken gets deprived of protein and phosphorus significantly. Protein and phosphorus also help in the immunization of the body and help the birds in fighting the disease as well.
The food that should be given to a sick bird that is willing to eat is the original bird feed that you give to healthy birds.
A proper feed for your chicken will be the one that is well formulated with a proper balance of all the micro and macronutrients.
The only problem with those birds that are willing to eat is that they can eat anything available to them and it becomes very important to selectively plan their diet.
Resist the urge to overfeed them, they can eat a lot that may cause trouble to them later in digesting the food properly.
In case you know the ailment of the suffering bird, feeding the bird with the right supplement can work wonders for the birds’ well-being.
Related Read: Can You Feed Birds Bread? | Will Birds Eat Bread?
Need encouragement to eat
You may find some sick birds that are not willing to eat the food given to them, in these cases you need to encourage those chickens of yours to eat.
Well, it is very important for a sick chicken to take proper diets for quick recovery.
You can follow these tips to encourage the chickens to eat.
- There is one interesting thing that can encourage your chicken to eat, try moistening the feed as many chickens love to eat moist feed. Your sick chicken just needs his food prepared like oatmeal and all his tantrums of not eating will flew away instantly.
- Another thing that can be practiced is to mix some vitamins and other micronutrients in their diet. You can also give some tasty nutritious snacks to the bird to bring back its appetite.
- Try to change the positions of the feeder, or try feeding the bird with your own hands, sometimes it becomes quite difficult for a sick bird to eat properly from the feeding vessels.
Disinterested in food
The toughest case is that of a chicken who is not interested in eating, chances of such a chicken’s recovery become very less and it needs the utmost care and attention.
The owner’s determination to make the bird healthy and strong can help in such a situation.
Some of the thing that can help you in treating such a chicken is
- Try eggs, eggs are really helpful if a chicken is not eating. Eggs are rich in most of the essential macro and micronutrients providing the chicken with the much-required nutrients. You can try giving eggs in different forms such as scrambled eggs, boiled eggs or fried eggs, or any other form that your chicken starts accepting to eat.
- If your struggle with feeding eggs yields nothing, trying a lump of well-cooked meat can help. Cooked meat will create a curiosity in the bird and can make the bird eat it.
- Another thing that can help your sick bird is honey water. Honey water provides instant energy and can also act as a natural antibiotic for the bird.
- Trying other foods like vegetables, fruits, boiled food, and fruit juices can also interest the bird to eat and at the same time provide the right mix of nutrients as well.
Proper hydration is the most important thing for a sick or injured chicken’s health. Even if the bird is disinterested in eating you must make sure that the bird is hydrated with proper amounts of several fluids and water.
Water not only hydrates the bird but keeps supporting the crucial life process of the bird to sustain its life for a longer period in case of sickness. Keeping a bird dehydrated can cause its death.
You can help your sick chicken by keeping fresh drinking water neat to them. The water should be changed periodically so that birds have access to cool and fresh drinking water.
If the bird is not willing to drink water try helping the bird by dipping its beaks into the water or in extreme cases you can use a syringe to put water in the chicken’s mouth.
Another thing that can help your birds apart from hydration is adding some water supplements in the sick chickens drinking water.
Some of the supplements that will help a sick chicken are
- You can add vitamins and mineral supplement powders in sick chicken drinking water.
- Probiotics are a great choice.
- Electrolytes can help chickens having diarrhea
- Some herbs and teas that help in quick recovery and healing can be added frequently in the drinking water too.
Everyday care and attention
A sick chicken will require everyday care and attention. It is the same as a sick person needing everyday attention. You will need to be there for your bird too.
Below are the daily care tips that will help you while caring for your sick bird.
- The first thing you should maintain daily is that your chicken has access to fresh and clean food and drinking water daily.
- Medicines and supplements given through water or food should be replaced after some time, as there are chances that due to contamination they can poison the birds or can cause harm to the birds.
- You should clean the isolated area daily to ensure hygiene and a clean environment for the sick bird.
- Look out for your healthy chickens before caring for the sick bird as it eliminates the chances of spreading any kind of infection from the sick bird to the healthy birds.
Apart from these daily care tips, some First Aid care tips should be followed daily for the bird’s better health.
- In case of a wound or a cut try cleaning the wound every day with clean and fresh water. Look out for any kind of dirt, bleeding, or infection in the wound and apply fresh bandages after one or two days.
- In cases of sick chicken taking a prescription from a qualified vet is important, after this, proper medication should be given to the bird.
Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird?
Quarantine and return
After your bird starts recovering, it is important to keep it in quarantine for some more days, as this will allow the bird to quickly recover from the sickness due to the extra attention and care.
Once your bird has recovered completely and has completed the quarantine period, it can safely return to the flock of birds and can live happily there with the family.
Chickens are quite good when it comes to hiding their emotions and pain. Many chicken birds can suffer from sickness or pain and will not show a slight sign of discomfort.
If your chicken is showing signs of disease or illness it means they are in extreme pain, it is important to treat them in the right way to save their lives.
I hope this piece of information will help you in saving your bird’s life.