Help! Chicken with... something... coccidiosis? She is reluctant to stand/walk but is curious and ea


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jul 23, 2012
On Monday I pulled one of my girls inside. She was standing with what looked like an egg bound stance and was closing her eyes. I gave her a warm bath but it didn't seem like that's what was wrong. (She hasn't been laying for over a year - she had an issue with soft shells at one point and just seemed to quit laying). She hadn't been roosting for a few days but I didn't think anything was wrong as she was still happy to forage around the yard and was eating/drinking. On Monday she came out of the coop but seemed lethargic and when I picker her up I noticed that she had lost a significant amount of weight. I didn't even notice prior to as she is a very fluffy, 2.5 year old Turken. I feel so bad for not noticing.

After I gave her a bath I brought in some food and water to see if she was still interested in that - she started eating the feed immediately and was walking around the bathroom. So I started searching more threads and found one on coccidiosis. I called our local feed store and asked if they had anything to treat and quickly picked it up. I ended up with Sulmet (which I now see doesn't have the best rap on this website) and have administered it according to the directions on the bottle. She has perked up quite a bit and is eating and drinking well. However, I'm worried as it is now Sunday and she only lays in one spot. She doesn't want to stand or walk since putting her in the box. Each time I change the bedding under her she just sits and waits for me to put her back in. I just took her to the backyard to see if the grass would help and she did stand for a split second but didn't walk and sat back down immediately. Her legs don't seem to have anything wrong with them except that her toes on one leg seem to be curling under some. Any ideas on what this could be? I'm not 100% that this was Coccidiosis but it seemed the best fit at the time (no bloody poop but watery, messy bum and the weight loss). I'm wondering when she should be back to normal if she had the Coccidiosis and recovered - is she just weak? Is this a side effect of the Sulmet? She doesn't seem to be in pain or anything... she is just happily sitting in the box eating, drinking and pooping all day. She isn't a great layer but has great personality and has always been my healthy, big bird. Just wondering how much time I should give her and if this is a normal recovery type issue. Any help would be appreciated!
With the toe curling, and not wanting to stand or walk could possibly be riboflavin deficiency, but it also could be a sign of Mareks disease. Have you added any new birds recently who may have exposed her to anything? Did she have a Mareks vaccine? I would start some poultry vitamins in her food, and later you can give them in her water when the Sulmet is finished.
Could it be the deficiency even though there haven't been any changes in diet? Is severe weight loss align with that kind of deficiency? We have two other girls who seem unaffected but I do not think that any of them had a Marek's vaccine. There haven't been any new birds or any changes except that we've had a really wet last few weeks with rain. Additionally, my husband put some top/garden soil in their coop after we cleaned it out about a few month ago (hence me thinking it aligned with the cocci). We just put her back in her box and she seemed unable to stabilize herself. Her legs flopped out to the side and she just laid there. One of her toes curled into a ball and then relaxed again. I'm beginning to fear that this is Marek's as if it is, there's nothing to be done to help her, right? The sulmet is technically finished today, I believe. She had 2 (and a half actually), full days and then today is the 4th day of the half dose. I was hoping she might just be weak from the weight loss and drug. :(
There could be some problem with the feed to cause a vitamin defiency, but Mareks could cause weight loss. It seems to be a little late for Mareks if no new birds have been added. Worming her would also be something to consider doing--Vabazen or SafeGuard liquid goat wormer are both good ones.
Can worms cause neuro issues? I can go to the store tomorrow to get some. How quickly should I see improvement if it is worms? My husband doesn't want to give her more than a few more days of sitting in her own poo :( poor thing.

What kind of vitamins should I be putting in her food? Do I need to get those from the feed store too or is that something that I might have around the house?
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Worms can cause lethargy and weight loss. I don't think the lameness is due to worms. She could also have egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying, since she has not been laying eggs so long. That also could be a cause of lameness. If you put her down, you may want to get a necropsy by your state vet to rule out Mareks.
So it doesn't sound like she's just weak from the meds. :( I'll see how she is doing tomorrow and have to make a decision from there. Could this be EYP?
I do think that EYP could be a possibility with her history of soft shell eggs and not laying in the past year. They can lose weight, walk funny or prefer lying down, appear weak, and can also develop fluid in the belly. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to figure out what is going on with symptoms similar to other diseases. I don't think the sulmet would be causing her problems, but it can be hard on them if the dosage isn't followed correctly. Here are a couple of links about EYP and internal laying:
You have probably already checked, but you are certain she is not eggbound, right? It is true that they will pass away quickly if not assisted and the egg is low enough to block defecation, but if the egg is higher in her reproductive tract, sometimes they can linger for much longer. It may seem very rude, but if you can gently check her with a gloved and lubricated finger, it would help you to be sure.
If not...

Does her lower abdomen feel very full, or firm? Can you feel any solid masses, or does she feel like an overly-full water balloon?

I would be more suspicious of reproductive issues, given her symptoms and her age. Is there any way for you to take her to an experienced vet?
I just checked her belly... does seem swollen. Its the only part of her body that has much "meat" left to it. I felt it the other day when I thought she was egg bound but she doesn't have any masses. If anything it almost feels lumpy - maybe a broken egg? But she has lost so much weight, it could just be bones? I don't know. :( I'm not sure I can get her to a good vet today due to work, I'll look and see who is in the area though.

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