Lethargic with Green Diarrhea


10 Years
Oct 2, 2009
Portland, OR
I noticed yesterday that one of our Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets (approx. 6 months old) went in the coop to roost early. She seemed a little lethargic, but I left her alone.

This morning, she didn't come running out of the coop with all the other birds but stayed up on her roost. She eventually came out, but seemed a little unsteady on her feet and pretty lethargic. She was waaaay too easy to catch!

I isolated her in a cage with water and layer pellets. I gave her a little kale which she snapped right up. I also gave her some plain yogurt with pellets mixed in. She ate the yogurt, but didn't touch the pellets. She's drinking water, but has green diarrhea. Her wattles and comb seem a little pale and dry, but her eyes are bright.

What's up with her? Any help is much appreciated!!!
Last edited:
My friend threehorses Nathalie Ross gave me this great answer for green Diarrhea
This is a good thing to follow for curing the chicken
I also encourrage all to use
the wet mash probiotic
3 tblespoons of dry crumbles
4 tbsp of milk
1 tbsp of yoguart
1 tbsp of applesauce on top for taste to chicken
this s for one chicken so multiply by the number of chickens feeding this wet mash probiotic
Glenda L Heywood

I think that sounds like a bacterial infection if the Sulmet isn't really putting a dent in it. Sulmet, although it has bacterial action, isn't really the best thing for bacterial gut infections; it's better for
protazoan infections like coccidiosis. I'm going to outline some treatment options for you that you should start right away if possible. There's alot of information here, but I'll summarize it at the end if
you'll please read through this to see why all of it is important. It works, if you'll try it and the bird's not too far gone.

All of these points are like a chain. If you have all the points, the chain will be strong. If you leave one or two out, the chain will be weak and might not work. OK, bear with me, here we go:

OK, first, the right medicine: If you have a feed store near you that has Neomycin, that's going to be
your best bet. I've included a table for medicating below. Gentamycin is good too, but you're probably not going to find it. There are other medications that you can use if you absolutely have no other choices. If this is the case, let me know that you can't get Neomycin for cattle at any feedstores near you. Also try your local 4H or FFA leaders; they usually have some on hand, or know where to get it.

Second, fixing the underlying problem:
Now, anytime you have any gut problems, the health of the beneficial bacteria that should naturally occur in the gut should be considered. It's usually when the populations of those good bacterial decrease that we see an INcreased in bad bacteria, thus gut illness. The good bacteria literally crowd out bad bacteria, and some even secrete substances that ward off over abundances of bad bacteria.

So during illness, and really any time there is stress, you'll want to increase the number of good bacteria in your bird's gut. You can do this quite easily through the use of probiotics available over the
counter, and some even at the grocery store. In this case, with a probability of E. coli, you'll want to find a "probiotic" that contains live cultures of Lactobacilus (most commonly lactobacilus acidophilus) as well
as B. bifidum. Bifidum is one of those bacteria that secretes stuff to ward off bad bacteria, in this case it specifically wards off E. coli.

You're probably thinking "right, where am I going to get this, and how much will it cost?". Luckily, those two live bacteria are usually found in Walmart yogurt. Just make sure it's NOT artificially sweetened.
(Birds don't do aspartame well.) You'll want to encourage your bird to somehow take 1 teaspoon per day any time during medication.

Third, nutrition during illness:
You can mix it up with boiled/mashed egg yolk for a combination of good high protein for healing, super nutrition from the egg, and the good bacteria from the yogurt. Plus, this treat is soft and easily dissolved.

When birds are sick, their crops/gizzards slow down, so it's really easy for their crops to back up and get impacted. Because of this, you'll want to feed crumbles and otherwise very easily dissolved feeds.
Discontinue grains and whole pellets until the bird is well. If you can only get whole pellets, put them in the blender. In these times, baby crumbles work great by the way. They're a little higher protein, no extra calcium to interfere with antibiotics, usually sold by the pound, and very easily digested.

If you don't think your bird will eat yogurt (some dont, some love it), then you can hedge your bets and pick up a non-dairy human probiotic from the human health food store. You'll find them in the remedies for yeast infections. Liquids are easiest to use, though you can crush tablets if you absolutely have to do. Be sure to read the label to see that it says that it contains both acidophilus (aka lactobacilus) as well as bifidum. Yeast infection remedies do because good ol' bifidum secretes something that acts against yeast infections too!

This can be a blessing for a poultry owner, because bacterial imbalances in poultry also cause "thrush" or "gleet", which is essentially a yeast infection of the digestive tract. Your birds are susceptable to this whenever they're ill and/or medicated, and your bird might have this as well. The symptoms are almost exactly the same with very few additions. Treating for one will essentially treat for the other if you do
it right.

If the bird will drink, you can start off by using the liquid probiotic for humans in their water. Just don't mix it with medicated water If you medicate the water, try mixing the probiotics with a tiny bit of
water or applesauce and mixing that with crumbles to just an oatmeal type consistancy. Most birds will eat this. You can even leave out the crumbles and just do applesauce, or mix egg yolk in the applesauce. Be creative. It's important to try to get the bird to get nutrition.

Fourth, vitamin E.
Vitamin E acts specifically against overdoses of E. coli. You can ask Glenda for the daily dosage of vitamin E,

GLH 2- 1000 mg daily soft get for people) and I'd use the oil capsules. You can do it her way, or even put it in a small bit of food if you KNOW that bit of food will be eaten entirely.

Fifth, supportive care:
Your bird will need to stay warm, be separated from the others so that it won't be bullied away from eating, and also so that you can monitor its droppings for color and consistency. If it gets stressed out,
think about putting a buddy in a cage beside it. Try to get the bird to eat and drink - that's very important. I'm not an advocate of force feeding. It's not easy to do, and usually the bird just regurgitates it. Sometimes you have to resort to this, but we try not to.

First, get a good correct medication. You're looking for Neomycin for cattle, or Gentamycin. Alternatives are Albamix, Spectam, or Lincomycin, but Neomycin is the best and most common. Ask your FFA or 4H or me if you can't find it in the cattle sections.
Email me for dosages.

Second, correct the initial problem by providing good bacteria through probiotics. First choice, liquid human probiotics. Yogurt from Walmart will work if the bird will eat it. Look for Acidophilus/bifidum

Third, change to easily dissolved feeds like baby crumbles, egg yolks, applesauce as a medium for the probiotics, anything (except grains and pellets and solids) to get the bird to eat and drink. By the way, baby foods are good for this too.

Fourth, vitamin E - 1 capsule daily.

Fifth, supportive care through warmth and safety, like we'd want when we're sick.

Nathalie Ross, Houston Tx

email me any questions
Hi Glenda!

I have two sick chickens that can be described as above and am going to try Nathalie's medical instructions. I'm able to get my hands on neomycin but don't know the dosage. Would be much appreciative of the info!

Thank you!
Just found Nathalie's email address at the bottom....will try contacting her directly if her email is still valid. Thx.
I have a chicken with the same exact symptoms. She just started showing symptoms today. I let her stay outside most of the day and I stayed out there much of the day to watch her and make sure she didn't get too badly picked on. I've now separated her and provided her with plain yogurt with ground pellets and a little olive oil and an egg yolk.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to find the neomycin, but I can't find Nathalie's email address. Can someone please provide me with the correct dosage? I'll also look for the probiotics tomorrow at Whole Foods. We live in downtown San Diego, so finding feed stores reasonably close can be difficult to find. I found one in La Mesa and am hoping they will carry the neomycin.

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