Chicken has diarrhea, lethargic, not eating or drinking.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Susan49, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. Susan49

    Susan49 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2013
    One of our new hens has diarrhea and is hunkered down in a corner of the hen house.

    When we got these new girls (Red Rocks) a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a lot of loose poops at the time they moved in, but figured it was just due to the stress of the move. I didn't see any bloody droppings, and hings have "firmed up" nicely since then, but someone was obviously still having some intestinal distress, though I couldn't figure out who as none of them were acting off.

    Yesterday evening I noticed one that just seemed a bit low energy, not her usual perky self. I took note to check her this morning, and that's when I found her off in a corner by herself. She was all tucked in with her head down in the corner, breathing seems maybe a little laboured but steady, and she's obviously got very loose bowels as there's evidence of recent diarrhea (greeny-brown and whitish) on her bottom.

    These new hens just started laying about 3 weeks ago, not sure exactly how old they are but they are young. Although I saw a fair bit of runny poop in the early days after their arrival, all of the other birds appear healthy and active, no sign of diarrhea any longer except in this one hen.

    The hens get a layer pellet, oyster shell mixed with some scratch now and then for a treat, and they free range on about an acre, plus they get fresh greens and veggies from our garden daily. The hen house has wood chips on the floor, mixed with lime and diatomaceous earth, which I add to a couple of times a week, then clean out on a regular basis (usually twice a month).

    I have put her in a small dog crate with hay for bedding, and brought her into my laundry room where it's warm. I've put a dish of water down for her, with a few drops of apple cider vinegar in it, but she's not interested in drinking.

    This is my first chicken health issue, so I'm not sure what to look for in terms of signs and symptoms. Any help you folks can offer would be most appreciated.
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    The very first thing I'd treat for, and ASAP, since you have brought in new birds, is coccidiosis. It's very, very easy for new birds to bring in new strains of cocci that the other birds are not immune too. I would treat with Corid immediately, treat them all, and see if she perks up. If it is cocci you will generally see improvement in a day or so.

    Edited to add: For the sick bird you will most likely need to give her the medicated water with an eyedropper or needless syringe since she is unlikely to drink enough on her own the first day or so. Just give her some every couple hours the first day.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  3. Susan49

    Susan49 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2013
    Thanks for the quick reply. I should have said that this is one of the new girls we brought in that's sick. The others that came with her are fine, as are our original girls. I made sure to check with the farm we bought them from that they had been vaccinated. Is it still possible for them to get coccidiosis if they've been vaccinated?
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Probably not, if you are positive they've been vaccinated for coccidiosis. The next thing I'd consider is worms. There could be a lot of reasons for her symptoms but coccidiosis and worms would be at the top of my list and the first things I'd rule out, then go from there.
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    What have they been fed? If birds are vaccinated for Coccidiosis, and then given medicated feed (feed that contains Coccidiostats like Amprolium--many chick starter feeds do), the vaccine will become useless. And, I believe that the vaccine doesn't offer 100% protection from Coccidiosis, as there are many strains. It is definiitely still possible.
  6. Susan49

    Susan49 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2013
    Unfortunately the poor thing has now expired. :( Before I dispose of the remains, is there anything I should check for in terms of making sure the rest of the flock hasn't been exposed to something contagious?
  7. Susan49

    Susan49 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2013
    Oh, and I should mention that I've put the body in the spare fridge for now pending any suggestions on a post-mortem examination, just in case that might affect what I'm looking for.
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Maybe you could send her off for a necropsy? If you're in the US many States do them for free and will let you use their FedEx number to save on shipping.

  9. BeachyChicken

    BeachyChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 4, 2015
    South West Florida

    I know this is an old post but did you ever figure out what was wrong with her? I currently have a hen with similar symptoms. Thanks!!
  10. ciaran6

    ciaran6 Just Hatched

    Jul 27, 2016
    I have an 8 week old chick with very similar symptoms!! Been giving Corid without much change. Any ideas????

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