sick weak chicken what do i feed?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 19, 2013
I have a 20 week old CA white chicken who is sick. who hasn't started laying yet. She is weak, she is eating and drinking very little, she has normal poo. She tries to walk but falls over a lot. she lays down a lot too. Her breast bone is sticking out too. I think from losing weight. I think she may have worms. I have checked vent and her crop and for bugs and it doesn't seem to be any of those that is the problem. but I could be wrong. I'm a new chick mama. Only going by what I have read on BYC and other forums. I need to get her to eat more. any suggestions? I have read about feeding her yogurt, oats and scrambled eggs. is that right? I got some safeguard yesterday to treat her for worms. How can I get her to eat? do I feed her or give it to her and let her eat it. ? I have her separated from the others, I have 8 total . 4 CA whites and 4 RIR. I have 3 kids and I know how to nurse them back to health but this chicken I don't have a clue. help please.

I would not overuse yogurt or oats, but give her the chicken feed mostly since it is well balanced. You can add a bit of water to make it like oatmeal or mix it with raw egg or a small amount of yogurt twice a week. The chicken feed should be 90% of her food. You can up the protein of her food by adding a bit of gamebird feed, tuna, or liver. After worming her I might get some Corid and treat for coccidiosis for 5-7 days, since it won't harm them. Dosage is 2 tsp liquid or 1 tsp powder per 1 gallon water.
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Also, I forgot to ask you if I need to treat the coop and run? thanks

Assuming that you are meaning if this is coccidiosis? No, you don't need to treat the coop/run other then normal cleaning. As birds mature they develop resistance to the cocci in their environment. You can't ever truly get rid of it as it is a protozoa that lives in the soil. Good coop hygiene and healthy birds are the best prevention but young birds are always at risk as are birds that for any reason have a lowered immunity.

This may or may not be cocci but given that she's a young bird I'd certainly treat for it asap and then worm them as well. And yes, you can treat all the birds with the Corid, easier that way anyway and it sure won't hurt them.
thank you . thank you. I will get corid today . I gave her one dose of safeguard for worms yesterday. do I need to give her more than one dose? if so can I give her corid and safeguard at the same time? I feel so overwhelmed. so many things to treat not knowing what is making her sick. thank you for your help and knowledge.
forgot to ask you about the run. I read that they should not be on bare ground. their coop is up off the ground 2-3 feet. the floor in it has pine shavings. the run however is dirt. do I need to change that? what do I do if so? thanks.
The dirt run is fine. Unless a person is going to raise chickens in cages they are going to hit the dirt at some point. When they do they will be exposed to any resident cocci and will have to develop immunity to it. Once they do so you generally won't have any more issues with it unless you get a sick bird whose immune system is already compromised.

As far as the dewormer, yes, you should dose them again in 10 days. Dewormer's don't kill worm eggs so that second dose will clear up any that hatch between now and then. Make sure you treat them all.

I would go ahead and start the Corid regardless of the dewormer, although I usually prefer not to deworm sick birds, waiting until they feel better. But in this case, since coccidiosis is a possibility it's best not to wait on the Corid. If that's what this is you should see improvement pretty quickly, within a day or so.

I know it is overwhelming sometimes trying to figure out these birds when they get sick! Been there, done that many, many times and it's never fun. But you are on the right track. All you can do is start with the things that would be most obvious, like cocci and/or worms, treat for that, see how she does and go from there.

Also be sure to keep her hydrated if you think she's not drinking much. You can use an eye dropper or a small, needleless syringe to give her the medicated water several times a day until she starts drinking more on her own. Good luck with her!
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At the end of the Corid treat it is good to give them chicken vitamins and probiotics to replace the Vitamin A and K they lose, along with the healthy gut bacteria. If you can fee range them safely, it is good to get them out in grass. Clean and dry litter in the coop is good, too.
Thank you so much. I feel al little better about her recovery now. I hope to see positive results soon, I will let you know how it goes. I will pick up some vitamins and probiotics as well tonight.
have a great weekend and God Bless You!

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