Lethargic, no appetite, shivering, not wet


11 Years
Mar 19, 2008
Hello. I have a challenge for you. I have a small flock (24 chickens and 7 ducks). I live around Binghamton New York. I check on my birds at least 2 times each day. Today I discovered a hen that refused to move as I entered the hen house. The remainder of the birds were out doing their thing in the yard. She is missing some of the feathers on her lower back. She is not in a molt. I picked her up and placed her outside the henhouse. My rooster jumped on her (not for copulation) and another hen started to peck at her feathers. I broke them up. There is always plenty of food (layer ration and table scraps) and water available. Since discovering the bird I created a safe place for it in my basement. She has plenty of heat, water, a perch, food and space. She has not eaten or consumed water in 6 hours. No droppings.

Does anyone have any advice?
Good start - warmth, quiet, food, water. Since she's weak, she may want to nestle in a nice bed of straw or wood shavings rather than perch......

Not sure if she was "just" roughly treated (lower back feather loss) and is drained from this or if it's more serious. Others will no doubt be along with thoughts on this. Have you been able to ascertain that she has no other injuries? Do you know if she's laid an egg lately? Do you know if she's been eating well up until today? If there is anything she especially loves to eat, see if she shows any interest in the morning.

Hoping she will be feeling better tomorrow.
Thank you for the quick response and questions. At 11:35 I checked her tail end and noticed that there was some dirt/possible dried poop (black/brown) holding feathers together. I cleaned that up - without pulling off the feathers - and almost immediately afterward she let some very runny diarrhea mostly light brown or white.

I don't know if she ate or laid an egg recently, but I can say that she wasn't acting this way yesterday as I spend enough time with/around the birds that I would notice a change in behavior.

She did have more energy when I picked her up at 11:35pm than she did when I put her in the cage 6 hours ago. She was shaking considerably more though. Very alert. Normally the birds are all asleep on their roosts just after dusk. I turned out the heat lamp over two hours ago.

I will not be checking this post until at least 7 AM on Thursday 3/20. I will respond with an update and I will try anything to learn from what is happening.

Thanks again.
No she doesn't feel thin. Heavy and strong. When I was cleaning her tail end I also noticed that her abdomen felt empty, but I have never checked for an egg before. Her vent was larger (about the size of a quarter) than I expected, but could that be due to laying eggs? She is almost a year old.
I don't know how to check for an egg, but if she is egg bound, I hear searching for it often leads to pushing the egg back in which is a bad thing. The size sounds about right for a good layer. I think you're doing all you can at the moment.
Were those feathers closing the vent? Could she have possibly had an adult version of pasty butt? If she immediately had a poop, I'll bet she starts feeling better. You can always try Poly vi Sol, infant liquid vitamins. 3 drops twice day. Keep us updated on how she is doing!!
At 6:30 EST she was found dead. The body is cold so it must have happened earlier.

Thanks for trying.
CRUD. So sad - poor girl. Sounds like something was brewing since before yesterday. I'm so sorry she didn;t make it.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom