Hen is lethargic, with a dark comb and wattles

Poultry parent

Jun 1, 2016
A small county in Virginia
I've just noticed that my 2 year old Buff Orpington has been acting odd.
She doesn't come when I toss scratch on the ground anymore.
She sits in the shade while the other chickens forage.
Her comb and wattles are also seeming darker than they used to be.
About 6 months ago some new chicken brought lice to the flock, she and a few others got them. I did bathe her, and the others that had lice, but they seem to have come back.
Would the lice have to do with her problems? I know that they can cause anemia, but her comb is darker not lighter.
Any help is greatly appreciated!


Sep 25, 2015
Probably has something to do with your situation.I would defiantly treat all birds with permithian spray.

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Sep 20, 2015
Southern N.C. Mountains
It would be a good idea to treat your flock with a permethrin based poultry dust or spray.

It's possible a large infestation can cause anemia, but usually the darkening of combs/wattles is an indication of not enough oxygen and/or organ failure. Feel her abdomen to see if there is any bloat, swelling, feeling like a fluid filled balloon, etc. Sometimes reproductive/internal laying disorders can cause difficulty breathing/loss of oxygen due to fluid/egg masses placing pressure on vital organs.

Try your best to keep her hydrated, offer her some poultry vitamins and see that she is eating.

Another thought...examine her well - check her crop to see if it's emptying overnight too.

Keep us posted.

Poultry parent

Jun 1, 2016
A small county in Virginia
I just felt her abdomen, and it does feel a little swollen in comparison with a hen of Similar size, but I'm not really sure, as if it is swollen, it's not much.
I clipped some of the feathers near her vent, and sprayed her for lice

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