7 mo Pullet slowly getting less active with tail down & not eating


8 Years
Apr 3, 2011
I have 4 Coronation Sussex chickens between 7.5 & 6.5 months old. One of them, Gimpy, was injured when she was very young (about 6 weeks old) by our overly "friendly" dog. We didn't know if she would make it at the time but she seemed to come through it fine. She got her name Gimpy because she had a limp afterwards but after a month or so the limp went away and she seemed to make a full recovery.

Fast forward 4 months and we are very concerned about her. We noticed about 4-5 weeks ago that her tail feathers weren't up like our other chickens and that her back seemed to be a humped with her tail feathers leaning to 1 side. After much research (maybe wry tail or egg bound). We gave her warm bath one day and put some olive oil in her vent. It didn't seem to help and we had come to believe that it was simply a result of the attack when she was younger and that we would just watch her. Her crown and waddle have not developed the deeper red color like the others and we had noticed in the last 10 days or so that she had been laying around quite a bit (while others are up and active). This evening I let them free range a bit and got them some scratch as usual and I noticed that Gimpy would not eat any. She will stay with the flock, albeit slowly, but it seems now that she is not eating. Now I'm really worried. We have had a tropical storm come through and they have had to deal with being soaked and cooler the last couple of days.

None of our chickens have come into lay yet but I do wonder if her insides are all twisted up. We do not use a chemical wormer but we do add DE to the food which is supposed to act as a natural wormer as I understand. I'm pretty close to taking her to the vet (I cannot believe I am actually going to pay for it but our family has grown really attached to our birds). I'm not sure about her poop as she hasn't been isolated so I can't tell hers from others. I do see poop with white in it, though, and I'm not sure if that is a concern.

Any insight or advice that anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated. Two pics of her follow.


I've had three hens like that. They act just like you are describing. I did have two that lingered a little like that before hubby culled them. I usually notice a little egg-like substance coming out of the vent. I did have one that acted just fine and normal and then when I went to collect eggs, she was dead in the nest box! I hope your girl makes it.
Yes, we are hoping she will make it as well. We had hoped even if she didn't produce eggs she would be a good companion to the others. They all seem to be so attached to each other, but maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see.
sorry your girl isn't well, it could be any number of issues- how has her crop been? Does it go down at night? Does it feel hard or mushy? Does she have bad breath? Many hens get lethargic and stop eating when they have an impacted or sour crop- maybe this is your girls issue? It is worth checking out as you may be able to save her if you can resolve the issue quickly. I know you said none of them are laying, but perhaps she is producing eggs but laying internally or is egg bound? If you hold her and feel her abdomen can you feel any eggs?

Definitely check her crop to see if it is impacted, otherwise I would say just keep her warm, safe, and comfortable. You can try giving her extra protein, and electrolytes to boost her energy also. good luck!
I'd worm her with Valbazen. Then I'd repeat in 7-10 days along with some Ivermectin pour on.
Morning update: she won't come out of the coop this morning with the others. That's a first so I know today is going to determine what happens. I feel so bad for her, I really don't want to cull her but I don't want to see in prolonged pain either.

As far as laying, she is one of the younger birds (2 are 3 weeks older than her) and the older ones haven't started laying yet. I talked with the breeder that I purchased them from and he said for this breed that 7 - 9 mo of age for laying is normal as they are a BIG breed of chicken. She is right at about 6.5 mos so I would be really surprised if she's egg bound although we have already administered a warm bath and olive oil in her vent about 10 days ago. I will check her crop. I really don't know what I'm doing since we are new to homesteading but we'll give it our best shot. I mean, I had my finger up her vent and didn't throw up when she shot out poop all over me, right? I can do more than I think I can.
Well, our little Gimpy passed today while we were at the vets office (in my arms). They did manage to get an x-ray before she passed and my vet did a necropsy free of charge. She had pneumonia. Not sure what type but the vet said her lungs were pretty inflamed with lots of mucus, etc.

I had mentioned to her that we use DE as a natural wormer and she told me that DE, although very safe and natural, can be toxic if inhaled. I feel sure this may have had something to do with it. I wish I had known about this issue with DE. I had been using it pretty generously in their coop to control bugs this summer. I will not longer be using it as freely from now on. If you are using DE, please be careful as it can be inhaled.

Thanks to all who posted and showed their support.
I'm very sorry for your loss. You did all you could for your baby, and she had a wonderful life with you, judging by how much you care for them.

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