Lethargic Hen not eating


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 20, 2009
I noticed about a week ago one of my Sex link hens was not eating the special treats along with the rest of the flock. Over the past week she has eaten some but not normal. Now she stands with her neck kind of compressed into her body, her feathers are puffed up, and from time to time she will close her eyes. This is while she and the rest are free ranging. I picked her up and she definitely has lost weight, all feathers and bone. The crop feels empty and the vent looked clear of obstruction. She is almost 2 yrs. old. The rest of the girls seem normal. I have not seperated her from the rest but am thinking maybe I should. Anybody have an idea whats going on?
Probably worms. Get some bug-quality (or even human, but that's expensive) DE from hardware store, etc, and mix it in with her food. That should help.
I agree that it's probably worms, but DE wont prevent nor kill worms. I recommend you first worm your chickens with wazine to clear out roundworms, then follow up 14 days later with a broad spectrum wormer such as valbazen, safeguard, or eprinex to kill roundworms that the wazine missed the first time and other types of worms.
If she is huddled and fluffed up she probably is cold as well. Put her in a box or crate in a warm place. Just think how you feel cold when you are sick....

I always suspect coccidious ( bad spelling) and or worms and lice. I use the shotgun approach because what do you have to lose except the chicken.. Which will die if you do nothing.

I dust with Sevin. I mix up vitamin/electrolytes and a pinch of corid. I use a dab of ivermectin horse paste wormer. Just place it far enough in back of mouth so she has to swallow it.. you can also use liquid ivermectin.

Make scrambled eggs and pieces of bread soaked in drinking mix. You can mix her layer feed with liquid also. Wet feeds seems to attract them..

She needs to get some weight on her.. If she will not eat then force feed her and use an eye dropper for the liquids. I have even force fed cat food to mine.
Usually people wait about two weeks before eating the eggs, but most of these drugs are given off label, so there is really no scientific answer. Some eat the eggs after ivermectin type products, others do not. Cocci are probably pretty unlikely at her age, as they develop immunity over time.

Lice and/or mites are also a possibility. Either they or worms can get a hen quite sick, even cause death in extreme cases. They do cause weight loss, and it will help a lot to boost nutrition and give probiotics after the underlying cause is removed. Actually, ivermectin treats many species of them as well as most worms (not tapeworm.) I'll give you a couple of links with more information on worms and lice/mites. Good luck!


http://healthybirds.umd.edu/Disease/Deworming Birds.pdf

I had the same problem with Sheelah, 20-month old Rhode Island Red. Took her to an avian vet and found out she has Proventriculus Dilation Disease, which means that her stomach is not going through the contraction/dilation cycle that pushes the food through to the gizzard. We are now giving her 4 cc's of Baytril twice a day (an antibiotic) and 5 ccs of Reglan Syrup twice a day. The Reglan makes her Proventriculus work so she can get that food (that was stuck) in there and allow new food in. We're to do this for 10 days.

Our vet said that she was pretty far gone at this point, but that he'd seen other chickens recover from this. We have her in a chicken diaper (www.chickendiapers.com) and we have to take her to food and water every day. And she only eats and drinks a little. It's touch and go right now, but we're keeping our spirits up that she'll recover fully.

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