Help! My chicken can't walk or stand. She moves (seldom) by flapping wings. She passed liver-like


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 28, 2012
Hello all. I am new to the site, but am a farm-raised country boy. We have had hundreds of chickens growing up.

I now live in the city, but have 4 pet chickens and 4 pet ducks in my backyard. I have built a large in-ground pond that the ducks swim in, and my birds have almost an acre of free-range to roam in.

About 5 days ago, I noticed that one of my newest hens (chicken), about a year old, didn't come out of the coop when I opened it. Very odd, I called and called, and nothing. When I looked inside, she was on the top roost (about 5 feet up), and wouldn't move. Took her outside, and she couldn't walk or stand.

Immediately put tetracycline in the water, and the next day started using Sulmet (sulfamethazine sodium) instead, as recommended by my local farm store.

Her comb is starting to fade. Her droppings are NOT bloody, and she hasn't laid an egg for at least a week (if not longer...). I have been keeping her inside, and helping her to eat and drink. She will hardly drink, but will eat finely chopped lettuce (soaked in the antibiotic water) and bread, soaked as well.

**What really concerns me is that over the last 4 or 5 days she has passed what appears to be small pieces of liver-like material. These pieces have an AWFUL smell, and have been in various shapes and sizes. 3 days ago, she passed one that was at least the size of a quarter, broken open, which looked like a large cell with a meaty inside. It was liver colored as well.

I have no idea how to help her. Today I started mixing Vitamin D and ground-up calcium tablets in her water, with some vitamin B as well. No improvement.

I am starting to think I should let her go and have her put to sleep because I am terrified that she is in pain, and I don't know how to help her.

She is not egg-bound, but I haven't ruled out Ascites. I don't see any big water bag though......

She is a VERY close pet. I don't know what to do.

Thanks, Tim
Hi Tim,

Welcome to the BYC forum.

So sorry to hear about your pet hen. I don't know what is wrong with her...but it does sound serious. Is there a chcken vet you could take her to? --

If I had a hen with symptoms like that, I would contact Peter Brown "the chicken doctor"--- There is a charge...but it can be deducted from any meds that you would get from First State Vet.

One of the reasons I would go that route is that none of the vets around here work with chickens (this is cattle country, and dogs and cats, of course)--- It is possible to instantly get a vet on line--- and they are good as well, the charges are equivalent, but Peter Brown is more interactive (since it is a phone call)

Hope you find out what you need for your chicken.
I'm hoping that I'm wrong but your hens symptoms sound a lot like it could be Marek's. The only way to tell for sure is to have her euthanized and necropsied.

I'm sorry.
No doubt this is cattle country. I am going to take her to our family's vet (back in the country) to see if there is ANY SLIM chance that he may be able to tell what is wrong. Unfortunately, I am not optimistic. Most people in the country would just put her down instead of spending the money on fixing her.

Either way, if I can't find a solution, by tonight or tomorrow, then I will just have her put to sleep. I can't make her go on this way with a ZERO quality of life.

I hope someone sees this post and can share a remedy to solve her problem...
Would Marek's make her just unable to walk, but be alert, and somewhat energetic? I don't know enough about it to know...
It is one of the hard things about having and loving a pet, but if you have to have it put down, then you at least know that there is no more suffering, and that is some comfort.

so either way: you will find a way to get her healed, or you will find a way to end her suffering. Hopefully it turns out to be the former!
Would Marek's make her just unable to walk, but be alert, and somewhat energetic? I don't know enough about it to know...
Yes, Marek's can do this. They are perfectly happy to sit around and eat and drink...but, they can't move. They can go on like this for quite some time.
Hello to all of you.

I am extremely sad to report that my baby girl has been put to sleep. My vet was unsure if she had Ascites, or Marek's, but either way, I am devastated.

I have been crying for the last 7 hours, and just buried her near her coop about 2 hours ago. She was put to sleep at around 3 pm today.

It is an undescribable feeling of loss when an animal of ANY kind becomes a LARGE part of you. Having raised her since she was just small enough to sit in my palm, she had definately become a major part of me.

Her sister wouldn't leave her side when I took her out to she them before we left for the vet. She knew something was wrong with her sibling.

I can't get the memory of leaving her alone in the room with the vet and his assistant today when the time came for her to go. She looked at me as to say "Why are you leaving me here?" I left her with 2 strangers, yet she was calm and collected the whole time. I asked and begged for God to tell me the solution of how to make her better, healthy. But the answer never came. I will never know if I did the right thing.

She has slept right beside me, up next and into my arm, on the TV room couch for the last few nights. It was the only time I felt that she was completely comforted. During the whole time she has been sick, she would wobble, flap, and penguin-walk or do whatever she had to do to be right beside me.

I miss her so much. My tears continue to fall.

I hope her ghost and spirit will sleep right next to me tonight, and every night as long as I am alive to remember her.

Thanks to all of you who responded and helped me to find a solution.

Gosh.....Sorry for your loss. I have had some chickens do that also. I thought I was the only one who cried over my chickens. I do hope you get some more chickens....They would be blessed to have an pet owner as caring and thoughtful as you....Take Care...

I'm very sorry for your loss

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