Sick Chick... She won't move... Almost like she is paralyzed.


8 Years
May 6, 2011
Please help
I have had chickens before but I have never had a sick chicken! HELP!!!

She is a 24 week old leghorn. The last 2 days she has just been laying around. Since it is close to her time to start laying we just let her go. BUT today she won't move at all!!!
Our girls were day olds when we brought them home and we have had them for 24 weeks. We have had them in a brandnew coop. We have never had chicks at this location and we have never seen lice, mites, or fleas on any of them.

Here is what she is doing:
1. Won't move at all except her head. Her feet are all pulled up and she doesn't move them.
2. Will eat and drink if I hand feed her.
3. She looks normal on the pests, no lice, no mites ect.
4. Her comb is droopy and not very bright. Really dull in color..
5. Runny poop and she just lays in it.

What else do I look for?? I have read all about other illnesses but none seem to match what she is doing or I am just to new at this to recognize what's going on!
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I'm so sorry. I do hope someone will respond to you.

I've just nursed a chick back from the dead, practically, but I treated for wry neck. I don't know if your hen's legs aren't moving due to Mareks or if it could be a vitamin deficiency, which is what I guess caused the wry.

Is her diarrhea bloody at all? This could be a sign of coccidiosis. Are there any little pink specks in it?

I do hope someone will chime in here.
If there's a chance she is egg bound, here is some good advice from eggchel about how to help an eggbound hen,
I hope this helps your girl out!

Separate her.
Plan on keeping her separated from the other hens for a couple days so that
you will know if she passes an egg, what condition the egg is in (although a
broken egg will often be eaten right away) and so that the other hens do not
peck at her vent if she has egg yolk or blood in the area.
Examine her externally.
Examine her by gently feeling her belly from the outside. Can you feel a hard
egg? If so, you
can give her a warm bath (see instructions below) and massage her belly
towards her vent to help move the egg out.
Examine her internally.
Now, I can understand that you might not feel that you know your hen well
enough to check inside her vent for an egg or shell pieces, but it really
might be necessary. You could put on a pair of surgical gloves if that makes
you feel better and put some
vasoline or mineral oil on your finger and then just gently feel around inside
her vent to see if you can feel a hard egg or sharp shell pieces.
This will not only give you an idea of what might be going on, but it will
also apply some lubricant where it might do some good if there is an egg stuck
in there. If you feel any broken pieces of shell, see if you can carefully
slip them out without cutting her.
Unfortunately, they sometimes get twisted inside and it becomes impossible for the egg to come out without surgery, or it causes the reproductive tract to prolapse (invert itself outside of the vent). If that happens then you need to gently push the prolapsed part back inside and hope it stays, but often that becomes chronic and requires culling.

Giving a chicken a massage bath:
You can use rubbermaid tote, a baby bath, a 5 gallon bucket or an old dishpan
for the bath. I use the sink on my back porch or the laundry sink. (Some folks
use their kitchen sink but I dont suggest that for sanitary reasons... )
Check the water temperature the same as you would for the baby, good and
warm but not hot.
Lower her gently in the water. It should come up to her back. Keep your hand
over her back to prevent sudden escape attempts and to keep her from losing her
footing and panicking. Either one will result in her flapping her wings and
you will get soaked.
Massage her belly gently moving in the direction of her vent. She should
relax in the warm water. Some birds even fall asleep.
Getting her dry.
After the bath, wrap her in an old towel and put her under a warm lamp or
inside the house to keep her warm. Keep her wrapped in the towel for at least
15 minutes, or longer, to absorb as much of the water from her feathers as
possible. Then move her to a rubbermaid tote or a dog/cat carrier with a lot
of shavings to help dry her. Again, keep her inside until she is dry, it
will take overnight, and she needs to be in a warm place. It takes a long
time for them to get dry all the way to the skin unless you want to speed the
process with a hair drier. Amazingly, after the first minute or two, they
dont seem to mind the hair drier. Just be sure to frequently use your other
hand, between the hair drier and the bird, to be sure that it isnt too hot.
Thank you guys! I have given her a warm bath and wrapped her up in towels. I am keeping her away from the other girls to make sure nothing spreads. I have done almost all that you guys have suggested and still nothing. Ugh... I have been on here looking all day and I think it might be the Marek disease but I am really not sure. She is completely paralyzed from the neck down now. Just praying now that the rest of the chicks don't get it.

Is there away to prevent it from spreading if it is Mareks? I changed out the bedding and completely cleaned out the coop but the run is still as it was. Should I spray or treat the coop with anything??
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