"Mentally challenged" leghorn? Or just sickly?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Robin Lawson, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. Robin Lawson

    Robin Lawson New Egg

    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.

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    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.
    1 person likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    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?
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Some where in the dusty memory data bank, I seem to recall that leg sticking out like that is classic Marek's sign. I agree with OH. In this case, it might be wise to cull.
  5. x2
  6. Robin Lawson

    Robin Lawson New Egg

    Aug 15, 2016
    Redding, CA
    Thanks, everyone, for your responses. She's always seemed slow. I think we will cull in case she's in any discomfort.

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