Pullet can't stand up...not Marak's


7 Years
May 20, 2012
I have a ten-week-old Pullet who cants stand up on her own. I don't know what breed she is, as the crate od chicks at Tractor Supply was simply labeled "misc pullets." She is black but that's all I can say for breed.

She's part of a flock of 11, and the other 10 all look, act, and otherwise seem perfectly healthy. Several weeks ago, I noticed that all of them were filling in very nicely with their feathers, including the one other black one. But this one, who we call Sicky Chicky, seemed really scruffy and ugly compared to the rest. I thought she might have been getting picked on and getting feathers pulled, but never saw any pecking and have never seen any blood, scabs, or other signs of abuse.

Two weeks ago, I found her wobbling around, like she couldn't get her balance. She would sit down with one leg out in front of her. I checked here on the forums and every answer about hens not standing seemed to point to Marak's. I immediately separated her from the flock and have cared for her in isolation ever since.

She doesn't seem to have any "paralysis," though. Both legs move fine, but she falls to the side a lot. I tried to supplement,her diet and have given her scrambled or hard boiled eggs twice a day, added a mash of yogurt and corn meal, chopped up strawberries, blueberries, and melon, and added poultry vitamin drops to her water. With the new diet, she seemed better almost immediately and was walking around within a day. She still seemed weak, though, and would tire easily. Her feathers started to fill in and she looks beautiful now. She does seems really itchy and pecks around her body a lot, but I've never seen any bugs or mites on her.

After a couple of weeks of steady improvement, the last two days, she hasn't been able to stand at all. She lies on her side, with her legs kicking like she can't control them, with one wing outspread to support her. The kicking makes her just spin in a circle, and now she has a raw spot on her ribs from the area rubbing on the ground. She still eats with gusto and seems to feel fine otherwise.

So, is this a really slow outcome with Marak's (which it doesn't seem to be based on everything I've found so far) or a nutritional deficiency or botulism or what? I would have expected at least one other pullet to show similar symptoms if it was Marak's or botulism from wet food in the coop going bad. My husband keeps saying I should euthanize her since she isn't getting getter, but it seems wrong when she's perky, hungry, and trying to move around.

Any and all advice is welcome. Thank you in advance!
It wouldn't hurt them if you add some vitamins & electrolytes in with their water. Some breeds of chickens are more susceptible to vitamin deficiency then others. Poor growth, poor feathering and drowsiness are a few of the symptoms of vitamin deficiency.
I cleaned out the coop when I first noticed she was sick and have carefully watched the food to make sure it doesn't get wet, removing extra and tidying up daily.

Are there any certain deficiencies to try to deal with? I read a few stories about protein, saw a mention of B-12, but don't know if the symptoms are from overall poor nutrition (she doesn't eat enough from being smaller and picked on?) or one particular vitamin she's lacking.
Hi, Kikiriki. I didn't see a link in your reply. Are you talking about a spot here on BYC or is the link missing?

Thank you.
Niki, she seems worse today. She can only lay on her left side and seems to be twisting her neck to the left now as well. Before it was just her legs kicking and falling over. I tried to put her on her right side to eat this morning to relieve the pressure on her outstretched wing and so she wasn't rubbing the same spot sore again. But within seconds, she was kicked over on her left side. I tried several times and she always goes on the left, and it looks like it's party because of the way her neck twists. It twists so far that it makes her body follow.

I was hopeful two weeks ago, and even a few days ago. But now I'm afraid I'm going to have to cull her and don't know how long to keep hanging on or what the most humane way to end any suffering may be.
Is your pullet a silkie? Most of what I have read is that Silkies get a vitamin E deficiency. Most people get vitamin E pills and squirt them in their beaks.
No, she's not a silkie. I just looked at a lot of breed photos and I'm guessing she's an Australorp. She could be a Minorca but she has greenish black feathers.

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