Tuesday evening I tucked my girls in for the night and I noticed one hen sitting on the floor by me and not wandering off while I gathered eggs. I thought it a little unusual, but not enough to make me take notice (my hens are pretty tame). The next morning when I let them out the same hen was in the same spot. Again, a little unusual, but still nothing ringing bells. I was gone or the day and then that evening the same hen stumbled over to us outside and lay down. She just lay on the muddy ground with her head getting droopier and droopier. I picked her up to check her out. The only thing unusual was that she was rather lifeless and lighter feeling. I set her back down and she just lay there.... with our dog 4 feet from her drooling at the thought of fresh chicken (literally). I knew this wasn't normal, so I kept an eye on her the rest of the evening. She only got worse. A quick look in a chicken care book made me think she may have botulism. Since she was getting weaker, her comb was bluish purple and laying along side her eye (she was a Leghorn with a large comb), and she was laying her head on the ground with her eyes shut, I felt the best thing to do for her and the flock was put her out of her misery. Now I have another hen doing the same thing only she doesn't seem as far gone. Her comb is still normal (I think she may be a Sussex). They are fine and running around. Next thing you know they are laying there and don't want to get up. They seem weak and don't want to lift their heads. Quite often have their eyes closed. When trying to get them to stand they will stand with legs braced apart and wobble until finally laying down. They have been vaccinated for Mareks (these girls are almost a year old). I do know that this past weekend my kids were turning our hill into a mudpit. The chickens were having a grand time in the mud along with the kids. My 3 year old son got diarrhea at the same time as the 1st hen dieing, so I don't know if there was something nasty in the mud or if it is just coincidence. At this time I also took out some rotten veggies as well as coffee grounds for the compost heap (of course the chickens got into it), and I cleaned their coop - took out the sawdust bedding and put in straw. Eyes, nostrils, beak seem normal. Breathing normal. Their eyes look intelligent still. These girls are genuine free rangers during the day (22 acres of ours and they like to go over to the pasture next door). They also eat dead baby birds, snakes and dog poop.... Lots of places to get into yucky stuff! And, yes, I do take the nasty stuff away if I see them with it, but I'm inside working while they are outside eating. The only chicken medicine I have is Vet Rx. I may be able to pick something up tomorrow down south if the feed store has it. I really don't want any other girls getting sick. Any clue what this is and what I can do to prevent it in the future and maybe save this one bird? I just read about cleaning out toxins, so I gave her some epsom salts in water and I'll give her some molasses before I go to bed. Thanks!