Help with Sick Hen, Please!

Chad Brantly

Jul 5, 2017
San Angelo, TX
Please help! On Wednesday evening I went to the coop and found my Buff Orpington just sitting on the floor not moving. I picked her up and she still didn't move. I put her on the roost and she sat perfectly still with her eyes closed and her head kind of bobbing. This morning she was sitting in the same place on the roost while everyone else was out in the run. Her eyes were open, but she didn't stand or move when I came in. When I got home from work this afternoon she was still in the same spot on the roost. I picked her up and took her to the water bowl and she just stood right in front of it. My rooster jumped on top of her and one of the other hens started pecking at her comb and eyes. I chased them off and picked her up to put her back on the roost. I checked her vent and she had quite a bit of light tan / white diarrhea caked in her feathers. I have had chickens for less than a year, and I don't know what to do. Please help!

1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)

Buff Orpingtion. Approximately 5 years old. Normal weight.

2) What is the behavior, exactly.

Not moving, eyes closed, head bobbing, hasn't laid an egg in several weeks.

3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

2 days

4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?


5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.


6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.


7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

Purina Layena + Omega, Water

8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

White/Tan diarrhea

9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

Nothing - Tried to get her to eat or drink, but no luck

10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?

Treat myself

11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

Sorry, I can post one in the morning, but there isn't much to see besides the diarrhea.

12) Describe the housing/bedding in use

Large converted shed. Plenty of ventilation. Poop boards with PDZ that I clean at least every other day. Pine shavings on the floor. Large covered run (grass)
How can you tell if she is egg bound? I felt around on her vent and didn't feel anything, but I don't know what I'm doing. I have 8 other hens, a rooster, and 13 one month old chicks that I'm brooding in a separate pen inside the coop, and no one else seems sick.
I guessed egg bound because she hasn't laid for a while. I'm not sure either. Hopefully someone else can point you in the right direction
I had a hen like this about a month ago. We ended up figuring she contracted blackhead. She had the same symptoms as your hen except she had sulfur yellow diarrhea. She would drink very little, but not eat.She never got better. We had to euthanize her. Is it rainy where you are ? Or has it been ? Blackhead/ histomonasis can be contracted when the hen eats an earthworm that contains the protozoa. There is no medication to treat this. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Hope this helps.
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I don't think ur hen is egg bound .
Egg bound hens will sit on a squatting postion.
But still check if she's egg bound .
Also look into her eyes and nose any watery discharge or cheesy thing in nose

How's her poo runny , green ,white or with blood .
I believe cocci strain visible with blood if no blood no cocci ..

I'm doubting ur hen having worms if she bobble her head ..maybe gapeworm u done a fecal test
I would suggest taking a poop sample into a vet and have them check for coccidia. If you have a Banfield pet hospital located inside PetSmart, they will run the test for a reasonable fee. Pickup some Corid (amprolium) 20% soluble powder coccidiostat at a Grange supply or Ace hardware. Follow dosing directions and start treating immediately. If you wait too long, the chicken will die.
Also, if your just grasping for straws you might as well pick up Duramycin-10 Tetracycline hydrochloride soluble powder while you are getting the Corid. It’s an antibiotic for poultry. It would cover a number of different possible problems. I’m suggesting these things only because you said you didn’t want to take chicken into a vet. The vet could examine and give specific advice and prescription. I have taken a number of my gals to the vet and usually when they were acting like yours is acting, they were positive for coccidia in their stool. I had several die before I started taking them to the vet. 2 died anyway because they had a tumor. Hope this helps!
Everyone, thanks for all the replies. I took a stool sample to the vet and it tested positive for coccidiosis. I bought some corid to treat the flock so they don’t get sick also, but I’m looking for advice on treating my sick hen that is no longer eating or drinking. Also, since I’m treating the whole flock in their water do I still need to separate the infected hen?

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