Lethargic hen, runny poop, sometimes shivers/shakes


7 Years
Apr 18, 2012
I have an older hen that I got from a friend last year. They thought that she was one of their older hens, and I haven't seen any problems with her until now.

A few days ago her behavior suddenly changed from active and friendly to lethargic (she moved extremely slowly when walking or eating)

I'm not sure if she is still laying or not, I'm not sure how to check for her being eggbound, but I have felt her belly between her legs and it soft, and a bit baloonish? Not tight.

I noticed when she jumped off the deck she fell into a sitting position. When she jumped a second time she landed correctly, but not stongly.

We tried putting her in warm water for about an hour two days ago to see if that helped anything. She did not behave like a hen we have had that was eggbound before (the other hen squatted and strained a lot, and passed the egg in the water) She sat in the water and relaxed, closing her eyes, but didnt fall asleep. She was pretty alert and would look for noises.

Last night instead of flying up to perch like she usually does, she stayed on the ground. We moved her into the house and had her sit on a towel covered heating pad for around 45 mins, then turned it off.

She was given medicated water and pellet food/scratch today. She is showing no interest in the food, but easily drinks the water.

Her poop is very runny with some streaks of white. She also had a normal looking poop this morning. Looking now, her most recent poop is lumpy and runny, more of a green-brown. She does have poopy butt.

She has spent much of today in the same position, preferring to sit, but she can stand if persuaded.

I'm not sure if the smell is coming from her poop or her head, but it is not what I would call normal.

While she was laying down I noticed her shivering. She is in the house and it is not cold. It stopped after a few seconds. I have noticed her panting and holding her wings out, but I think that may be the heat of the house.

Our coop does have mice, she has been treated for mites once before but needs to be treated again, and I don't think she has ever been wormed. Her comb is a normal color. No discharge from the eyes/mouth.

I have noticed that she may be leaning slightly forward with her tail up. (but not erect) I'm not sure though.

I really love her and want her to stay healthy. I'm hoping this is just her giving into age but I suspect it isn't. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Update: She tried to run (when I had her outside) and she fell forward onto her chest. She is not unbalanced from side to side. It almost looked like she had tripped and had her leg stuck under her body. I lifted her body up and she started walking again.
She's still alive today, and still slow. We are treating her for worms now.
I'm sorry that I can't help. I think that starting with deworming is a smart move. Maybe add some vitamins/electrolytes to her water and try feeding her some high protein foods like mealworms or scrambled egg. You can also try making a mash with warm water, chicken feed and yogurt. I put some unsweetened applesauce in mine...they seem to really love the stuff :)
We are using Wazine 17 for now since we are not sure what is wrong and we do not want to "clog her" up with worms if that is the problem. (I think it was DAWG53 that suggested using Wazine 17 first.) So far, she has just had more watery stool and no visible parasites. We gave her some canned cat food (it's what we have available at the moment) and she ate some of that but she has not been interested in the layer pellets or scratch.

We will give her the electrolyte water tomorrow after she's had her 24 hours with the Wazine water if she hangs in there. Thank you for the suggestion.

I have noticed that she has her mouth open at times, but not gaping open or head shaking. Still, I'm worried about "gapeworm" now, too.

None of the other chickens are showing any signs of illness at all - but we are going to treat them with Wazine starting tomorrow morning.
She's still hanging in there, she's in a small cage in the house. We gave her a raw egg yesterday morning and a scrambled egg last night and she ate a few bites of each. Last night we gave her water through a syrenge, and this morning she is drinking on her own again.

She still has very runny poop. We have her on tetracycline.
Wazine is not my favorite wormer but is more readily available. I finally got some valbazen and it is a much better all around wormer. If you look on my signature line you will find lots of information regarding worming.

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