Listless Chicken with Lolling Head - Need Antibiotic Options! Please Help!


Aug 27, 2019
We had five chicks that were about three months old. When we moved them outdoors, one of them started dramatically tilting its head to the side. We were worried that it was due to stress from being moved outdoors, so we took her back inside where she had been living before we moved her out. She stayed about the same and she didn't get any better, and appeared to be suffering. We believed that the only humane thing to do was to put her down. We then had four seemingly healthy chicks.

However, earlier today when I let them out of their coop, one of them was lying on the ground, breathing shallowly and seeming quite close to death. We picked her up to move her back inside away from the others because they were walking on her, and when she raised her head up, it was tilting badly like the other one that we had.

She is now frighteningly close to death, and I don't know what to do for her. I don't believe it's Marek's disease, but I could be wrong. We desperately need possible cures, because we're very worried about the other three as well as our older, larger flock catching this disease or whatever this is. I have read that antibiotics will work well, but I don't know what medicines to use. We have no Baytril, or other prescription-strength antibiotics, so what should I do? We need help as soon as possible before we have an epidemic on our hands.


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
Welcome to BYC. Unfortunately, when a chicken dies it is impossible to know the cause of death without getting a nceropsy by your state vet after death. Wry neck or a twisted neck is one of several possible symptoms of Mareks disease. If it is Mareks, it may be in your environment for months to years spread by dander and dust from chickens. It would have had to come from somewhere, either the environment or another chicken or wild bird who were carriers.

I would give some vitamins that include E 400 IU and B1 thiamine for a few days or weeks. Make sure that she can eat and drink by offering up to the beak, and giving supportive care. Watch for any other symptoms. Here is some reading about symptoms of Mareks: Mareks Disease in Small Flocks.pdf


6 Years
Apr 10, 2016
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Poor thing. Unfortunately, this screams Marek’s at me, but hopefully I’m way off!

This is tricky. I believe Corid can interfere with some vitamin treatment (riboflacin, maybe? I forget.) I lost a chick at the tender age of two weeks to Marek’s this year. She seemed to respond to vitamins, but them I remembered coccidiosis was the most likely cause for her rapid decline, and switched to Corid. She died a couple hours later. I wonder if I could have saved her if I had continued vitamins instead of Corid.

I don’t mean to confuse you. I hope you get more responses with more definitive advice.

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