Lethargic/undersized pullet?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jul 25, 2012
We currently have 4 chickens: 1 adult/hen, 1 pullet (I believe that's the right term? not yet laying eggs but well beyond chick) that was raised with the hen, and 2 pullets that were raised together.

We bought the single pullet when our other hen got killed, so we needed a young chicken so our remaining hen had a flock. (We bought her at around 2 months old instead of raising her from a chick (what we usually do).)

Said pullet has always looked a little small and always pooped on the watery side and occasionally stumbled, but adjusted well to being with our hen.

We eventually introduced the pair of other pullets (1-2 months younger than her), and now the pair have gotten far larger than her, while she's stayed on the small side.

(the immediate problem)
Most recently, the little pullet started acting very lethargic, and not eating much, and kind of hunkering down in her neck like she might if she were cold.

We did what we did last time we had a sick chicken, and took her into the garage, gave her some scrambled egg and water with pulped vegetables (recommended by the chicken store), and left the heat lamp on near her in a box. She seemed to recover a fair amount after a couple days, so we brought her back out, but, a few days later, she's back to being very lethargic.

We'd appreciate any advice...

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: since "lethargic" could be ambiguous- she moves slower than the others and seems kind of tentative in whatever she does, and very often stands or sits with her eyes closed. She occasionally gets little bursts of energy, but they never seem to last long, like she's easily distracted/tired
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Some birds have some sort of internal problem, and never really thrive. I've had several like that; unfortunately, despite my best efforts to keep them alive, they've died. However, don't lose hop yet, as it is possible that your hen has a treatable disease.

The two things that come to mind are Coccidiosis and Worms. Both cause lethargy, thinness and unthriftiness, and usually diahrrea of some sort. Birds with worms will eat a lot but never thrive, but those with Coccidiosis will be uninterested in eating. Since either one of these problems could be affecting your hen, I would treat for both, but not at the same time.

First, I would recommend getting some Corid (amprol or amprolium) from a livestock supply store. The Corid 9.6% liquid dosage is 1 teaspoon liquid per gallon of drinking water, and the Corid 20% powder dosage is 3/4 teaspoon powder per gallon of drinking water. Treat for 5-7 days; do not give vitamins during treatment as they will interfere. Probiotics are fine, though. Improvement should be seen after a few days. If you don't see improvement after 3-4 days, I would take her off the Corid, as in that case she most likely doesn't have Coccidiosis.

As for worming, after the Corid treatment period is over, I would worm your hen with a broad-spectrum wormer. Some good choices include Valbazen, SafeGuard (its sold as a goat wormer), and the Worminator (contains Flubenvet and is what I use). Don't use Wazine or Ivermectin, as Wazine only works on roundworms and many worms are resistant to Ivermectin. You can usually find wormers at a livestock supply store, and the Worminator can be ordered from here: http://www.twincitypoultrysupplies.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=584

Other than that, there isn't much you can do. I would keep enticing your hen to eat by giving her treats (applesauce, moistened feed, scrambled eggs, vegetables, fruit, etc.), and perhaps put some probiotics and/or vitamins in her water. Try to minimize stress caused by animals walking around, noise, etc., and keep her warm and comfortable. If possible, I would keep her isolated.

Hope I've helped, and that your hen recovers!
I saw no mention by the OP of using preventative treatment for coccidiosis. I start mine at about 2-3 weeks of age every three weeks until they are at least 6 months old. Never lost a chick to coccidiosis since.
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Hi, thanks for the advice. We're thinking it might be coccidiosis, since we switched her off of her medicated food earlier than with the others. We've been giving her some medication in her water, and she's still hanging in there though not looking a lot better...

I don't know if it's related, but we've noticed that she seems to have some depth perception issues, where she sometimes stops short, pecking at the air instead of getting food. Any guesses on what's up?

Thanks again.

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