Chicken Not Walking, Balance is off


Feb 28, 2018
Hello All! I adopted a chicken in late December, and she is now about 1-2 years old (it was unclear when we got her), and is a brahma. The last few days, I noticed she was not roosting and was not as active, and was sleeping in the sand in the coop. No other changes. Last night, she was laying down in the grass when I got home, feet behind her, tail down, and eyes closed. She also had a bit of a poopy butt and runny stool. When she would stand up, she would lose her balance and fall back down. When I put my hand under her foot, she can curl her foot up around my fingers.

I immediately separated her. No other hens are ill. I put her in a big box with shavings and brought her inside. I got a few eye droppers of Pedialyte into her. She drank some water. I also fed her. She was willing to eat some Oats and Plain yogurt. She also will eat some of her regular food. We felt for a stuck egg and did not find anything. This morning, she looked a lot better and was pretty perky. She was ready for more yogurt and water. When I took her out of the box, she could stand, but she was unable to walk without falling down. I kept her in again today, because she just can't walk.

Does anyone have any ideas for me on this one? Thank you all so much!


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When's the last time you've wormed them? Also does she have mites? Excessive loss of blood can cause weakness/lack of balance.

I do not think she has mites. I have treated them with lice/mite treatment, as recently as 3 weeks ago. I can treat again. I recently bought de-wormer, but I have not given it to them yet. Would this be a good place to start?
Defiantly de-worm them. Balance issues can be caused by internal parasites since their movements can effect the brain. What dewormer did you purchase?
Defiantly de-worm them. Balance issues can be caused by internal parasites since their movements can effect the brain. What dewormer did you purchase?

I am not home right now, and cannot remember the specific brand. I can check in a bit. Do you have a recommendation of one I can give to her? I think the one I bought had to be added to water. If there is a recommended one that I can give to her directly, even better!
I use Wazine twice a year, it's a poultry and swine dewormer that you can get at a local feed store. It does have a two week withdrawal period where you cannot eat the eggs which is a bummer but understandable.
I also do natural remedies year round including garlic, wormwood, nasturtium, and pumpkin seeds.
If you put DE in their food when they eat it it supposedly slices up the internal parasites, so I occasionally give them that, but I don't know if it really works.

If she has lost blood for some reason (that's what her sympotoms seem like) make sure to give her lots of iron (spinach, cereal, certain poultry boosts, etc.).
I would spend some time trying to get her to walk, and note if one leg seems weaker, if she is limping or holding a leg up, or if she drags or acts like a leg is asleep or numb. She could have anything from an injury, a vitamin or mineral deficiency, Mareks disease, especially with her leg positioning and imbalance, or even a reproductive disorder causing pressure on her legs. I would try some vitamin B complex vitamins crushed into her food, 1/2tablet per day. Make sure that she is able to reach food and water by placing her in a dog crate or small pen. Watch her walk and get up each day, or try a chicken sling (Google for pictures) to get her up and in front of food/water. Read some info on Mareks disease by Googling “Great big giant Mareks Faq.”
I had similar symptoms with Mabel my light Sussex. Here is a link to the thread - it took me a while but I narrowed it down to a vitamin imbalance which I sorted with a vitamin supplement to add to thier water and now I give grit with added vitamins. I was beside myself trying to work it out but was amazed how good she was after having some vitamins! Her eis the thread with the info I was looking at!

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