Hen can't stand for long =(


10 Years
Oct 7, 2009
Felida WA
We have a 4MO Welsummer hen that hasn't been able to stand for long as of yesterday. She seems sluggish, like she's dragging her hind end, and wants to immediately sit like she's laying. She seems otherwise OK, no other physical or neurological problems but we unfortunately had a chick around the same age just die of Merck's Disease (even tho the feed store had TOLD US that all these chicks had been vaccinated for it--UGH!).

She isn't showing the same symptoms as Merck's yet, no drunken wobbling or uncontrolled head twisting, and I'm wondering if she could be egg-bound? She just started laying recently... How would I check for that?

Any ideas or thoughts? She seems to be eating and drinking and pecking at the eggshell. Could it be a deficiency? Or am I deluding myself and it's most likely Merck's?

Unfortunately, the other hens can tell something's wrong with her and keep coming over to peck at her head.
Our turkey hen was really going at her a few minutes ago.... It's sad to watch

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Separate her from the flock. Give her a nice, long, warm bath. Then put on a glove with some lube on the finger and check her vent to see if there is anything stuck in there. You should be able to feel an egg if she is bound up.

Where did the feed store get these birds from? I ask because it is unusual that feed store birds are vaccinated against anything unless it is a special order/request. I would be suspicious. Question the feed store again. If they still insist the birds are vaccinated then maybe they are, but the vaccine is only about 90% effective anyways, so she could still have Marek's. I'd be watching her closely.

Sorry you are in this situation. Good luck.
Hey, thanks for the help. I separated her and had already given her a very warm bath soak by the time I read this. I found that advice on google. I had on gloves and tried to feel around externally but honestly I've never investigated inside a chicken's cloaca and was scared I was going to either hurt her myself or cause a stuck egg to rupture or something, so I didn't do it. Her cloaca WAS swollen and oozing some clearish-to-whiteish fluid, and she still has no other symptoms (no neurological symptoms, I mean), so I'm unsure where to go from here.

I put her in a wire crate inside the chicken roost with her own food and water, so they can't pick on her but she'll still have her company. I'll check on her tomorrow. I hope it's just an egg and not Merck's - and if it's an egg, I hope it works it's way out and isn't a fatal back-up.
Poor thing. Still so young, very beautiful sweet little bird. Hate to lose her
but also hate to think of her suffering.

After this past week's Merck's trauma with the other chick, I'm hoping this turns out better... Geez, what a winter we're having....

Thanks for the advice!
If you already had a chick die from Marek's, it's a possibility that this one has it as well.
I would still oil up a finger and check for an egg. It's not hard. You can feel an egg if it's there.

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