Help Needed for Sick Chicken....


15 Years
May 29, 2007
I'm hoping some of you with more experience can give me a hand. I have 4 girls and in April my 2 yr old Wyandotte, Althea, started to have runny stools stuck to her vent. She also became lethargic over several days. I took her to the vet who found worms. I treated her and 2 of the others (I couldn't catch Eunice..) but Althea got progressively weaker and would not drink or eat. I brought into the basement, spoon fed her, but after 2 weeks she died. It was so so sad...

The other girls seemed fine but then 2 weeks ago Eunice started to show the same symptoms. I wormed her (finally..) but there was no change so I added aureomycin to the water 3 days on, 3 days off, 3 days on, after talking to an old timer poultry farmer in town. He thought Eunice had coccidiosis. After 10 days I don't think she is any worse but she's really not much better.

I just started adding ACV to their water yesterday plus gave them a yogurt/milk/layer pellet mix these 2 mornings. Honestly, I don't think anyone is eating that much but the other 2 girls seem pretty normal, though somber. I think they have reacted to Eunice's illness and hang around her a lot.

The thing that really prompted me to seek your help today is I noticed Delores has some white on her feathers by the vent and now I'm in a real panic. Am I doing something wrong here? Should I continue with the antibiotics and if so, for how long?

The girls spend their time between the coop and run, a good sized tractor, and then free range in the yard. They get a pretty balanced diet of organic layer pellets, kitchen scraps, and yard treats.

I've read a lot of posts, but honestly, I am not sure what direction I should be taking. I'd love some help from you much more experienced folks...thanks..
Hello, sorry you are having troubles. Could you describe the white around the vent in more detail. Could your girls have mites or lice? Sometimes white around the vent could be mite eggs. It will make them behave this way too. Coccidia causes loose stools and unthriftiness but if you had a fecal done coccidia shows up on fecals. If you can catch your girls, I would examine them closely for parasites or signs of them. Hope this helps and maybe someone else has an idea too. Good luck.
Well to be honest with you, when you used the yogurt along with the aureomycin, you caused the aureomycin to be inactive. Mycin and cycline drugs should never be used with dairy products.

But probiotics are needed, so use acidophilus tablets/capsules, or Probios powder/paste from the feedstore. The acidophilis is really cheaper and easier to get and use honestly. Both of those products are very low in dairy whey and thus aren't contraindications to the cyclines and mycins.

As for the white - is it the urates from the droppings clinging to her vent feathers? Or is it waxy?

I would start again on the probiotics. Only you have to make sure that they get some. if you choose the tablets/capsules, then either break the capsules into a spoon or something - or crush the capsules - either way get the powder. Mix it into enough water to make a wet but not drippy paste. Use an eye dropper and squirt one tablet's worth of paste into each bird's side of their mouth. Do that daily at the opposite time of whenever you put down fresh medicated water. Then do it for two weeks after you finish the medications.

If this were my bird, I'd just hedge my bets and put her on the Sulmet for seven days. That will cover both cocci as well as bacterial enteritis. You will want to do the probiotics daily. do not use anything but Sulmet in the water.

In this case, I wouldn't boost their protein with egg yolks in case it's cocci. I would do so however as soon as the meds are done.

Avoid feeding all foods that aren't easily dissolved during this time to the ill birds just in case. Use good pellets. You can continue the ACV in the water (be sure it's only organic because that's the only kind that really works for what you want) the day after the last day of sulmet.

I also agree with making sure the white aren't eggs from mites and lice. If they are, that could certainly cause exactly all of the symptoms you've described. In THAT case, I wouldn't treat with sulmet. I'd give probiotics (any kind) acv, make sure they GET the probiotics. /smile I'd treat them for the mites and use wheat germ oil capsules in their food or wheat germ oil from the feedstore or health food store at a rate of one ounce per one half gallon of feed one day a week during this. mix it in well.

I really would check them carefully for the mites. Using a white sheet helps - and a flashlight. Check carefully around their vents; the little bugs love the heat and moisture there. Let us know if you find them. I'm sure that chickensioux probably has wonderful advice concerning treating for them. I'll help, too.

When the vet tested for worms, what did she find, and with what did she have you treat? Honestly I like a starter of wazine 17% (piperazine 17% solution - neve rthe kind for dogs/cats) to head off most of the roundworms. I follow up in two weeks with ivermectin drop-on between the shoulders. You can repeat that in two weeks if you want, or I do it in six months. Thereafter I do it twice a year: spring and fall. One bottle of generic ivermectin treats a good number of birds for a while.

You can buy ivermectin for the water through pigeon suppliers like foys as well. I just prefer the drop on because it allows me to examine each bird individually for parasites, etc, as a check-up and it keeps my flocks healthier as a result. then I have the ivermectin around in case of gape-worm, mites, etc. You never know when wild birds will bring mites into your chicken house.
Thanks so much for all the good information. I need to check more carefully about the white around the vent and check for mites. I've only had chickens for two years so a lot of this is pretty new. I know when Althea first became sick, and then Eunice too, the first thing I noticed was loose fecal matter around the vent, soon followed by the change in behavior and weakness. The fecal matter looked normal in color but just very runny.

I will pick up some of the probiotics you recommended. Eunice is not eating much and didn't pick at the yougurt mix like the others. I don't how much I can force her to eat though I know I can get fluid into her with the syringe. She seems to be holding her own but I've noticed a couple squawking episodes followed by some spinning and that can't be normal. She can't walk up the ramp into the coop so I have to help her in and out each day. She tucks her head down low a lot when she's in the yard, as though she were sleeping.

The vet only told me Althea had worms and then prescribed Panacur for everyone. There was no mention of other diseases. I never saw worms or blood in any stools.

I can get to the local Agway today after work so I'll pick up sulmet and acidophilis. I'll also be able to check Eunice more carefully for the other things you mentioned. Thanks again for all the good advice!
Psh - I've had chickens for most of 42 years and I still learn something new every day.
There's always a surprise waiting around the corner for you, too. But that keeps it interesting anyway.

Let us know how things go today, pretty please. Hope all is well!

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