Wednesday 17 July 2013

Green Poop in Chickens - Part 3

Green Poop in Chickens - the turn around

And then again sometimes there's nothing you can do - despite doing everything you can.  The green poop reappeared in Holly early last week and was quickly accompanied by lethargy, then extreme thirst and finally by death.  I had Holly booked in with the Vet on Friday morning and on Thursday I gave her a cuddle on the couch and placed her back in the pen for her final sleep with her best friend Alice.  The turn around was swift - good on Sunday, a little less so on Monday and by Tuesday evening I was getting concerned.  It seemed her liver wasn't able to bounce back after all.  I had continued her night medication and she was doing so well.  Eating mountains of food, preening, talking, harassing Alice each night.  However it seems that her mid Winter moult had placed far too much pressure on her immune system, consequently her liver function and the end came quickly.  

I found baby Holly in the sleeping hutch on Friday morning.  Alice was out and about eating and completely at ease with the situation.  It's worse when the other hens are left lonely and pining and this is not the case here.  It is all the same a total blow, leaving only 5 hens when last year we had 10.  Again due to the ILT virus that the bantam Wyandottes introduced we are unable to restock the flock.  I did find that when having lost a pet, the introduction of a new girl to care for made a real difference and also reminded me of why I continue to keep my girls.  As we can't buy anymore hens at this point, I can't help but be resentful about the hens out there that would have come to live with us, that we could have given such a happy, healthy and high quality life.  Seems grandly unfair. 

I miss Holly.  She was such a single minded, determined, brave and diligent little hen.  Always ahead of everyone else, the first to have a go and the least afraid.  My brother is on standby to take in Alice should she start moulting whilst we leave the girls behind for a holiday soon.  The first sign of wheaten coloured feathers exploding all over the chicken pen and Alice will be scooped up and taken into my brother's home for warmth and great food.  It really can be a fight to hang onto the girls and I never regret one moment, one dollar spent, the loss of sleep, the extra washing - I only wish I could do more for them.  

I only had Holly for a little over 14 months and I think she was barely 18 months in age when she passed away.  So short a time and yet I miss her enormously.  

Holly (AKA Hollilicious as I liked to call her)

Sunday 7 July 2013

Green Poop in Chickens - Part 2

Green Poop in Chickens - sometimes there's hope

I have been dosing Holly with prescription liver medication twice per day for one week now.  I am so happy to say that her poop is no longer vibrant green, she is eating regularly, stopped sleeping endlessly, started talking again and her colour is improving also.  

I really feel that without the medication that she would have been emaciated or dead by this time.  This seems to be the way, either the hen is taking great strides 3 or 4 days in or she has little hope. 

I am now cutting it back to once a day and I will continue this for another week.  

Holly is still really short on feathers and so will stay inside, on her heat pad and enjoying lots of fresh food.  I will put her back with the other hens once her new feathers have really come in - about 3 weeks from now.  

Here is Holly this evening.  She still has a few weeks to go but I am really pleased with her progress.  There is hope for chickens with liver failure issues. 

(Left to Right) Alice & Holly baking by the heater...again. 

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Green Poop in Chickens

What does Green Poop in Chickens Mean?

It's not good news unfortunately.  Green poop in chickens has consistently proven to mean liver function issues in my experience.  It is also accompanied by a musty - damp and dusty type odor.  The poop stains a vibrant, emerald green on pale surfaces such as the white and cream towels my girls sleep on in their inside hutch.  

At the moment our buff Pekin hen Holly is producing green poop.  She is molting heavily too (it's right in the middle of Winter here) and she is consequently freezing and dropping a lot of weight trying to stay warm.  I have taken her out of the pen and brought her inside to stay in the lounge in a hutch.  In order to keep her warm she has a heating pad under the towel that's covering the hutch floor and we have the gas heater on every night and in the early morning to keep her as toasty as possible.  She's also having plenty of high protein mash and her water has electrolytes to keep her well hydrated.  She's also loving her silverbeet stalks - but that has nothing to do with why her poop is green.  She's also craving grit which is really typical of hens with unhealthy livers.  She eats mouthfuls of dirt on the sunny days when we put her outside.  I have a little bowl of grit in the hutch (finely ground up shells) and she tucks into this on and off through the day.  She's dropped quite a bit of weight and is very weak on her feet.  

All of the stress of the heavy molt in the cold weather has obviously assaulted her immune system and resulted in her liver struggling to keep up.  As with previous hens, I have started Holly on a very small dose of a liver medication that is actually designed for humans.  It is diluted in water in a syringe and she gets an 8th of a tablet twice a day.  Basically if Holly shows improvement in 4 or 5 days, she should keep going from strength to strength.  If there is not sign of improvement then it is likely that Holly will eventually need to be put to sleep.  

Holly is also very pale in the face, which again is another sign that her liver is not up to scratch. This is Holly several months ago - really red and healthy and below that is Holly this morning.  Very beige and pale (and gorgeous).

Holly - baking by the heater, July 2 2013

We will see how Holly is going this weekend.  Certainly I won't let Holly suffer but I am so hoping she will be one of the lucky girls to come through this.