Chicken trembling, weak(?), skinny...but eating/drinking & pooping fine?


In the Brooder
Jul 23, 2021
Morning all! So I'm pretty new to chicken-keeping, most of my flock being about 18-20 weeks old. Wednesday before last, I took on a 2.5ish month Isabella Brahma (Pearl) -- several of her sisters were sold to others at the same time. Below are what I've noticed with her over the past week and a half (a couple of videos also linked):

  • The most noticeable issue is that, whenever she's standing or walking, she is nearly constantly trembling all over. It starts in her legs and then her full body begins to shiver (we're in the Midwest, where it's currently ranging between 70-90F, btw).
  • She spends most of her time just sitting down in her pen. She's alert, and aside from the trembling she does walk, scratch, flap, and otherwise move normally, but it's like constantly shaking is just so tiring for her she'd rather just sit down. She does not tremble when she's sitting. I've seen her run for short distances when she has a reason to.
  • She's just SO docile. She doesn't get up or try to get away if I go in to pick her up. She does flap around indignantly if I don't do it right, but otherwise just sits on my lap or is content to be held for any length of time.
  • Her breastbone is protruding pretty far, not a lot off meat around there. At her vet visit on Friday (more on that below), she weighed in at 2.2#, but I really have no way to gauge where that falls on the scale for her age/breed.
  • Despite all this, she's eating and drinking completely normally, and her poop looks completely normal.
  • We took her to a farm vet on Friday, but he admittedly is much more experienced with large livestock than chickens. He prescribed an antibiotic and gave her a deworming; I've also had her on Corid for nearly a week, just in case, as well as electrolytes.
  • Prior to that appointment, I had occasionally noticed her breathing open-mouthed -- not all the time, but especially when she was standing. I realized yesterday I haven't noticed her doing this since the appointment.
  • She does seem to be more...alert/content??...since starting medication, but the trembling/sitting hasn't seemed to improve.
  • I have checked her multiple times for mites/external parasites, and haven't seen a single thing on her; likewise haven't seen any worms in her poop since getting the deworming.
  • Of the 8-10 or so of this group of sisters that were sold at the same time and were transported together for hours, only one other has shown the trembling or any other abnormal symptoms. Sadly, that girl passed several days ago. My girl doesn't appear to be knocking on death's door, but I am worried about her weight and lack of energy, as well as not wanting whatever the issue is to nuke my entire flock (she's in a makeshift pen at a distance from the rest of my girls).
Here are a couple of videos of Pearl walking in our yard yesterday -- this was actually quite a long time for her to be up and moving around! Given the above, anyone have any thoughts on what we might be dealing with? There are so many illnesses out there that kind-of-sort-of fit, but it's just so difficult to pinpoint for sure. Also, if she never grows out of the neuro issue (trembling), but is otherwise eating/drinking, pooping normally, gains the weight back, and shows no other issues, is it safe to start trying to incorporate her into the rest of my flock? :hmm Thanks so much!

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
Southern N.C. Mountains
If I had to guess, she's suffering from some type of neurological problem. As for the cause, don't know...Marek's disease is a good possibility.

Try some vitamin therapy to see if that helps.

400IU Vitamin E, 1/4 tablet B-Complex and a treat of eggs daily.

She needs to be eating an 18-20% protein chick starter or all flock feed as well.

No one can say whether it's "safe" to incorporate her into your flock - she's roaming about presumably near your flock and unless you've got a very strict biosecurity program which very few backyard keepers have one, then if she has disease, the others are likely exposed.

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