Sick RI Red - Week has Passed, No Better but No Worse? UPDATE!

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


11 Years
Oct 12, 2008
I just want to thank everyone for their advice and support! It seems our girl Pearl has made a complete recovery! We decided her symptoms were due to a hard molt - as was suggested on here - and gave her a good amount of protein and also the infant vitamins. Within a few days her staggering ceased! We let her out to run around and she was fine. We waited a couple of more days just to make sure, and then reunited her with the flock. Yay! THANKS TO ALL!!


Hello Everyone!

This is my first time posting and before I begin I just want to say "thanks" to all who share their knowledge on this board. My husband and I have both been scanning it since our Pearl got sick last week, and the info is invaluable!

Anyway, here's the sitch. We have a year old RI Red. Very healthy bird, 4-5 lbs, robust, top of the pecking order, gorgeous and friendly. A great bird, all in all. Last week my husband came in from letting her out of the coop and said "something is wrong with Pearl." She was walking as if drunk. So we immediately separated her from the rest of the flock (3 birds) and tried to figure it out. From what we read here we made the guess that she has Marek's. We followed the advice here, and have given her electrolytes, kept her warm, and made sure she is hydrated. We also fed her that yogurt, oatmeal and egg yolk mixture, which she really enjoyed. The problem for us now is, she's no better, but she's also no worse, so we are not sure how to proceed from here.

A couple more comments:

- her spirits are good. We've been letting her out first thing to get some air before the other chickens are out, and she does her usual scratching and eating, and walking around, albeit with a stagger. She has also done the run, flap and fly thing chickens do when they want to get from one place to the next in a hurry. She will also fly up on the fences and such, so other than the wobble she is not weak.

- we have checked for egg-bound and crop bound. We have checked her droppings for worms, but did not see anything, though my husband thought something could have been a worm (long, clear and stringy). We put her on dewormer just to be safe, but have not seen anything for concern since.

- she is molting.

- she seems warm to the touch skin-wise but not her comb.

- she lives in a clean, well-ventilated coop with three other birds. The birds did come from another environment, my sister's, but so did Pearl. We got Pearl in July and the others in August, same flock.

- she did get into the compost a few times before we realized and secured the fencing, but that was a while ago, at least a month or so.

Any comments appreciated. We just don't know how to proceed!


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It sounds like you have done your research well!

Short of taking her to a vet, I think you are doing all you can.
Keep doing what youa re doing and keep us updated! and
I have a chicken in the exact situation -- she's moulting, walking with a stagger. But not always: she can run away quite fast, and I had trouble catching her to separate her. Her comb is bright red and she's upset to be separated. Her poops are a little loose, too.

I wonder if it has something to do with the moult??
It's possible that it's her molt. Molting involves much more than just growing new feathers. It affects nearly every system in the body, especially the nervous system. You might try giving her some poly-vi-sol drops for infants (not the one with added iron). Place three drops on the beak twice a day. It sounds like everything else you're doing is spot on. Keep an eye on her, and if you notice any more symptoms, post them.
No change, as of yet. She is currently outside, tearing up my mulch and eating bugs. No idea what to do at this point, other than continue with the vitamins and electrolytes.

I'm really hoping it's the molt. Her feathers are coming in nicely now.

Yup. She can walk, she just staggers and wobbles every 5 or 6 steps or so, and the straightens up and carries on. But, there are also times when we have seen her run and flap her wings. She's also capable of jumping up on the fences still. So, totally at a loss. It's been over a week now and still, no better, no worse. Spirits still good, appetite good, poop normal although she did have a black one today, which I'm thinking may be due to the vitamins we have her on now.

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