HELP!!! Need help with sick hen.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 8, 2009
Need help pretty quickly.
Hen is not feeling well at all. She is over a year old. Puffed up. Dirty poopy butt. Found her this morning wedged between the wall and food bin. Cold to the touch, but alive.
Her poo is very watery.
No discharge from mouth or nostrils.
Breathing clear.
She hasn't been feeling well for about a week now. Have been giving her Tetracycline ( per feed store advice).
I've looked up symptoms of being egg bound. Not sure if that is it or not.
She is eating if I sit there with her, but not ravenously.
She has laid only one egg the whole time I have had her.
Seen her drinking water.
Plenty of grit available. Good quality food. Fresh vegies and greens everyday.
All the other hens are in fantastic health.
I have read that I should clean her butt with soap and water. But what soap? Was told Dawn will get rid of all of the oils.
I am new to chickens and am learning everyday.
Any advice? Should I bring her into the house?
Thanks in advance for all help and suggestions.


Definitely get her someplace warm and quiet, asap. Then try a mild soapy wash for the rear end. If Dawn is all you have it's still better than nothing.

Gently palpate her abdomen for a egglike lumps. You make need to don a rubber glove and stick a finger, well coated with vaseline, in to feel for a bound or broken egg.

The Terramycin can actually cause diarrhea after a few days- I would discontinue it and give her plain yogurt, layer feed and water. Nothing else.

Then observe her for a day or two and meanwhile search eggbound in the BYC search.

Good luck!
Awww your poor girlie! When my chicks had pasty butt I used Johnsons Baby Wash on a warm wet wash cloth and hed it on the icky area to soften crusty poo then washed it away. Then you have a nice smelling chicken too. :)

Feed her somee scrambled egg to get some protein into her. Hand feed her if necessary. Also try to get some plain yogurt into her. Mix it with her feed. Stop fresh veggies n' such till the diarrhea stops and she is feeling better.

Add vitamins and electrolites to her water. Pedialite can also be used in a pinch.

If you don't have her isolated do so, so she doesn't infect anyone else in case she does have an illness.

Get a heat lamp on her asap.

You said she is over a year old. Is she new to your flock?

A am a newbie myself; I've had my gals since June, but these are some basics. Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in now. There are a lot of knowledgeable folks here at BYC that have helped me on numerous occasions. You came to the right place!

Hugs to you and your gal!
Just came in from putting a heat lamp on her. She is in a nice quiet place. Will bring her into the house and wash her butt and make sure she is dry before putting her back out into the hen house.
Will also get some yogurt and pedialyte. Will stop the Tetracyline and fresh vegies/greens.
Scrambled egg? Really? Ok, I'll give it a try. Didn't know you could give chickens any kind of egg.
I'll keep checking here for more replies throughout the day.
Okay, washed her rear end with baby shampoo. Dried her real good. Put her into a dog crate with shavings and towels with a heat lamp over it to keep her nice and dry and warm. Put a container of yogurt in for her along with a container of water. She isn't interested in either the food or water right now.

When I washed hear rearend I noticed she has what appears to be swelling in her vent area. I felt it and it doesn't seem hard.

I also noticed she is very thin. She was gaining weight when I first put her into the coop, but now she is so thin.

She and her rooster adopted us from our next door neighbor about three to four months ago.

Sure hope she pulls through. Makes me sad to see her not feeling good.

I sure hope your girlie's feeling better! My girls won't touch yogurt but here is the wet mash/yogurt concoction that has been recommended to me:

when mixed put tbsp of apple sauce on the wet mash

My girls love bananas. If I replace the apple sauce with a really rotten mashed banana and add a little honey they will eat some. Honey would give her a little energy. Bananas are a good source of potassium. If you use banana use it sparingly since you're trying to stop the diarrhea to prevent her from becoming dehydrated.

If you haven't tried the egg yet I encourage you to do so. She must be getting really weak by now and needs the protein. It seems kinda wrong, at least it did to me at first, but she needs it.

Here's the link to the infamous poo page:

it be possible that what you think is diarrhea is actually a normal poo? Worth exploring.

Any new symptoms or improvement?

Perhaps worms? Do you know if she's been wormed? Maybe search the site for worm infestation and impacted crop as well as egg bound as Ranchhand suggested. These seem to be some of the more common things and see if the symptoms fit.

I've read that apple cider vinegar, garlic and honey are all supposed to be natural dewormers. Might try adding some ACV to her water just in case. I think it's also a probiotic similar to yogurt.

I've seen Preperation H recommended for sore vents. Never had to try that one myself.

Sorry I'm not able to offer more concrete advice.

Hope your gal is feeling better soon!

First State Vet Supply has a website call . You can find out her illness there. Peter Brown has invited another Chicken Dr. to join him on the site to help him with all the diagnosis.
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Just came in from feeding and Spazzy ( the hen) is still alive. Yay!! A little later this morning I will take her out of the crate, change the towels and pine I put in there and check her rearend.

She did eat a little bit more last night. I mixed yogurt with some baby food and a bit of chicken food.

Am going to make her a srambled egg this morning! Still seems weird, but if it is going to help her, then so be it.

I really appreciate all the help.

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