"Mentally challenged" leghorn? Or just sickly?

Robin Lawson

Aug 15, 2016
Redding, CA
We have 4 white leghorns (among others), raised from chicks and 6 months of age. 3 of the 4 have been laying for over a month now, but one has yet to lay and has always acted very different from the others. She's the only one that willingly lets me pick her up and instantly closes her eyes. She's underweight compared to the others. She doesn't keep herself as clean. But most of all, she acts really dumb. Tonight, I took out the evening kitchen veggie scraps and there was a total feeding frenzy all around her. She plopped down with her leg sticking out and closed her eyes. I put food right in front of her and she looked, but let the other chickens have it. So bizarre! She acts sick, but has had this behavior for a couple months now. Wondering if we should cull her or just take a wait and see approach.



BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
Sounds like a neurological problem. Things like Mareks, botulism, encephalitis, come to mind. I would probably cull as it sounds like she might be suffering.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Does sound neurological...could be disease or just a genetic anomaly or an incubation issue.
Her top beak looks overgrown, maybe because she is not pecking the ground for forage as much as the others.

Has she always been 'slow'?
How's her activity level?

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