Lethargic Hen


In the Brooder
Dec 17, 2015
When I went out to see my (2) girls this morning Frida my Rhode Island Red was clearly not acting right. She was laying on the floor of the coop in the sun (which she usually avoids), she had her feathers fluffed up and her head sunk in as if she is cold. She shifts from one side to the other. She definitely doesn't seem comfortable. Her wings also seem drooped down at her side. I provided her some water close by and she drank for 2 minutes straight. She also let me pet her and pick her up with out moving when I got near her (she doesn't let me pet her without pecking at me normally). While being held she doesn't fight and doesn't have to be restrained. I put a little treat down to see if she would eat and she did peck at it so from what I can tell she is still eating. When she does get up to walk she is crouching and not standing all the way up and also walking very slowly. Eventually she walks back to the corner and lays back down.

She has seem sleepy the last 2 days when we I let them out in the later afternoon/evening. She would do her normal pecking around and eat grass for a while but then she would come sit near me and act very sleepy. I just assumed it was the time of day as the sun goes down about 6 pmish here and it was 5 - 5:30ish.

Frida is a 2 years old Rhode Island Red.

We treated for round worms sometime at the end of summer. I can't remember exactly when I want to say some time in September.

From what I can tell her molt is done but the feathers at the rear/tail area ad some wing feathers ares still coming in.. She has not resumed laying yet. I'm worried about her possibly being egg bound as she has had some soft shelled eggs before.

I didn't hear any respiratory distress. I only saw her defecate once and it was runny/ white & yellowish in color.
I don't see any cuts, abrasion or injuries on her anywhere.

My other hen is acting perfectly normal aside from being worried about her flock mate.


Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 16, 2015
She does sound like she's not feeling well, it could be cocidiosis if it's really wet where you are at. Hopefully someone more familiar with your hens symptoms will help figure it out for you.


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
Welcome to BYC. I don't have tons of experience with internal laying, but it sounds like she may possibly have that. I am treating a hen that is having similar symptoms, and mine had some pale yellow droppings, with lethargy, no appetite, not laying after completing her molt, and difficulty walking. There is usually not a good outcome for internal layers or with other reproductive problems. I would check inside her vent an inch or so with one finger to check for an egg. It would not hurt to worm her again, and try to get her to take some chopped egg, tuna, or other favorite treats along with her normal feed. Antibiotics such as enrofloxacin sometimes are used, but if you could take her into a vet, you might get more help.


In the Brooder
Dec 17, 2015
Thanks for the feed back! I will see if I can feel anything in her vent. I have tried to feel around on the outside but can't feel anything, then again since I haven't had an egg binding before I'm not sure what I'm feeling for.

I'm not convinced that's the problem. She doesn't seem to be straining or trying to lay. She is still interested in food and water so that's a good sign.

We started her on some penicillin yesterday and aspirin as she's felt feaverish. She did come out of the coop voluntarily this morning to eat some grass for a few minutes but I think she got cold so she headed back to the coop. We have a heat lamp set up so she can try to stay warm in the cold weather.

I'm keeping a close eye on her for any changes good or bad.

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