Lethargic hen, tail feathers down, not making any noise, not egg-bound, seen by vet but still worried...


In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2021
Hi all! Yesterday I noticed my ~8 month old dutch bantam named Myrtle, acting strange. She was just standing in the coop with her tail feathers down and wings slumped, and was completely quiet. She's always cooing at me and running around and scratching with her sister. The day before she had laid and egg and was completely fine.

We went to the vet immediately and she did an xray and ultrasound. She is not egg bound but does have three that are "moving through the assembly line" so to speak and she saw nothing abnormal. Her crop was full but the contents felt fine.

She's given me an oral calcium supplement and an antibiotic called Sulfatrim to give her in case there is some kind of infection in one of the developing eggs? I'm not sure if I heard her right. She's also instructed me to give her Gatorade.

At the vet she was listless. Like a ragdoll. They administered her first dose of calcium and the antibiotics and some water before we left.

By the time we got home, she was perked up and active. Her tail still wasn't up but she was eating and walking around and checking out her "chicken hospital cage" I put a stick in there and she roosted on it.

This morning she was just laying in the pine straw I had in there for her, not wanting to eat or drink. I managed to get her to eat a few corn and peas and administered the Gatorade with the syringe.

This afternoon, she looked completely normal. Her tail was up and everything! And as of 7pm her tail is back down and she seems Lethargic. When I gave her her evening dose of the medicine there was a moment where when she was breathing where I thought it sounded like she had "a stuffy nose"

The vet couldn't find anything wrong with her and thought that it was a dietary deficiency stemming from her reproductive system.

Has anyone else ever experienced something like this?

I love her so much. I feel so helpless :(


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Feb 18, 2021
San Martin, Peru
So the symptoms does sound like cocci or another bacteria infection but I always deworm my bantams first before antibiotic treatments. Can you rule out worms or is that a possibility? Due to their small size they are more sensitive to worms. My bantam hens always start drinking excessive water when they get worms. Was your hen getting diarreah prior to the vet visit?

I have not had a lot of luck with sulfatrim, but it is also an anticocci med, but it targets only some of the spectrum. You can give sulfatrim and amprolium to get a broader spectrum antibiotic against cocci.

Unless you can rule out worms, you might have to consider that. Best time to treat is at night when her crop has emptied a bit so the meds can work, and by morning the treatment will have gone through her and she will be ready to flush her system the next day.

What was her poop like the last few days? Let her sleep on a clean towel and you can monitor how it looks in the morning.

Be careful with any sugars and vitamins you want to give. I would only give water or a homemade electrolyte. Vitamins may interfere with the medicines. Vit B and sulfatrim cannot be given together they have a negative drug interaction. The vet recommended gatorade with the sulfatrim, but gatorade has potassium and sulfatrim with potassium is a major negative drug interaction. Better to make your own homemade electrolyte with sugar and water.
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