Chicken acting drunk


5 Years
Mar 3, 2014
We are new to chickens, so I have no idea about chicken sicknesses. This morning I noticed one of our chickens acting drunk. She's stumbling around and when I pick her up her legs fly out in opposite directions and her head cocks to the side a little. She seems to have a normal amount of energy and she was out foraging for food when I saw her. I have her in with me now and she's asleep in my lap.

As a side note, we got all of our chickens as babies this past March. At the end of July I brought in a new bird so we would have a dozen. The rest of my flock immediately got a respiratory sickness and I had to put them on antibiotics. All was well again until about 3 weeks ago one of my hens started staying in the coop all day long. I thought it was because she was trying to avoid the roosters (we had 4 then, we now have 2 that coexist nicely). She would eat and drink when I brought her food and water then a week later she started breathing bad and stumbling, the next morning she was dead. Other than the respiratory thing, I'm not sure if any of this can be related back to me bringing in that new hen.

Any ideas on what could be wrong?
The new chicken may have been a carrier of respiratory disease--MG, infectious bronchitis, coryza, and ILT are the common ones. It sounds like you may be seeing some symptoms of Mareks disease, but other things like vitamin deficiencies and wry neck could also be a problem. If this or another chicken dies, I would refrigerate the body and send it off for a necropsy by your state vet, and ask for testing for Mareks disease. Depending on where you live, you may get it done free or for a small charge. Always quarantine a new bird for a month or more in case of disease. Your flock may now be carriers because of the new bird. I would put you sick chicken on poultry vitamins, especially vitamin E, thiamine, and give some egg daily for selenium. Poultry Nutri-Drench and Poultry Cell vitamins contain all of those.
I fed her some feed plus eggs today. In all she ate about 4 1/2 eggs and some feed. I have vitamin b complex for our goats, can I give that to her? It's injectable but could I give it orally? She is still acting alert, and eating but is still stumbling around.
I don't know if it matters but we have them with turkeys and ducks. We got them as babies when we brought the other hen home. They are all free range and have access to all the pasture they want and they roost in totally separate areas.
I don't worm either, try to go as natural as possible. I don't worm my goats either, and they are notorious for worms, but they don't have a problem with them. Not sure if chickens have problems with worms or not.
I don't know if the B Complex injectable can be given orally or not. There are not any natural wormers that really work or where studies have shown they have worked, and there are threads where chickens have died from worms. There are 4 or 5 types that affect chickens. Valbazen and fenbendazole are safe wormers to use.
I had this same problem with a rooster we tried everything we read about but nothing seemed to help. Gradually he got to the point that he could'nt walk could barely sit up without falling over. This has been an on going thing for 6 months. Thing's I tried: Vitamins Scrambled egg's Yogurt Oatmeal Anti-Biotics Diluted Gatorade nothing seemed to make a difference. He had a terrible seizure and went limp in my wife's hand's I went outside to prepare to bury him when I came in he was laying there looking at me I thought he was dead! So with that in mind my wife had read that chicken's need to have injectable anti-biotics we had used some that you put in the water. They do not get enough of the medicine this way. So my wife had some anti-biotics left over from my year old grand daughter's visit for the holiday's started mixing that in his food and am happy to report after 6 days of treatment he is in his pin being a chicken. Six day's ago I thought he had no chance. I really hope this help's WOOOHOOOOO
I am having a similar issue with a hen. Except she has one additional symptom she's staring upward a majority of the time curling her neck funny. I brought her into quarantine but have no clue what to do
Try cephalexin mixed in a scrambled egg for 10 day's along with diluted gatorade in stead of just water! Cephalexin can be purchased at your local feed store. Good luck B-)
I am having a similar issue with a hen. Except she has one additional symptom she's staring upward a majority of the time curling her neck funny. I brought her into quarantine but have no clue what to do
That sounds like wry neck, crook neck, or torticolis. Can you post a picture of your hen? Wry neck is a neurological symptom which can be from a head injury, a vitamin deficiency, or often a symptom of Mareks disease or other diseases that can cause brain inflammation. Most people treat it with vitamins in the water or food (vitamin B1 thiamine, vitamin E, and selenium are most important.) Acting drunk may also be a symptom of wry neck. Here are some links to read:


Wry neck in various chickens
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