Sick? Injured? “Off”?


Dec 8, 2020
Hi! I’ve got a concern with a 5 month old free range hen, a week ago we noticed she wasn’t keeping up with her flock (mom and siblings). After noticing this we thought she might be hurt. Her running is off balance and frequently falls. She gets stuck on her back very easily. Feathers are always fluffed up. She will not go into the coop at night (hides in the garage with the dogs) and at times I will find her laying in the middle of the yard. Our other chickens are very aware of hawks and she is not. She’s a little off, always moving her neck weird and since she’s been big enough her chirp is more like a goose honk. Her markings are different than the others. So at this point I have to keep an eye on her and make sure she is still around.
Yes. Sounds like she has health issues. What is your objective? To try to diagnose and treat or just confirm she likely has serious health issues in order to cull?
If you aren't comfortable handling chickens, then culling is best for both of you.

Treating means you are committed to giving the chicken a thorough exam to look for injuries. If you find none, then she should be assumed to be sick. But that entails a process of ruling out possible causes and arriving at something you're pretty sure you can treat. Then that requires tracking down a source for an antibiotic or other appropriate med, and then sticking with administering the care every day for as long as it takes. It can be a real job.

There is no shame in culling to save both you and your chicken a lot of discomfort.

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