Sleepy? Chicken


7 Years
May 19, 2012
South Texas
I am quite new to keeping chickens, we had three chickens which are all laying an egg each a day and seem to quite happily tolerate our blue heeler as they roam our back yard. About two weeks ago I added two slightly younger birds and despite the usual abuse from the established flock they seemed fine, today one of them is very lethargic, she will drink water if I drip it onto her beak but left alone she lays over and does not move, I do not see any parasites on her nor can I feel an egg in her as suggested in other threads. Anyone?
Hi elweaselgrande,

a few extra details might help people pinpoint the problem. For instance I'm wondering how old the sick bird is (in weeks), what her diet is, and whether she's the right weight (pick her up and feel her breastbone, then compare her to other birds)? Check her nostrils for any mucus, listen to her breathing.

If she was raised on wire (not on the ground) she might not have immunity to coccidiosis, which could explain the lethargy. Treatment for that would be an immediate trip to the feed store for one of the sulpha-type coccidiocides, or amprolioum (e.g. Corid), then ongoing use of medicated feed (or putting her on clean ground daily). But mostly coccidiosis affects birds around the 3-6 week mark (though it can come later; there are different types of cocci).

Edit: forgot to say, it may be wise to isolate her in case she has something contagious (being brought to a new home can stress birds so that underlying disease shows up; or else she may have caught something that your birds had already dealt with). Either way, if you separate her you can keep a close eye on her.

Coccidiosis may or may not produce bloody droppings so by all means check beneath her in the morning.

I hope you can find an answer,
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she is about eight weeks old (educated guess) she came from the same store as the other four birds, she is not breathing hard, no mucus no signs of injury and no parasites, she is not eating and will fuss a little and flap her wings when I inspect her, she also seems to have a limp despite there being no sign of injury.
Hi elweaselgrande,

the limp is a concern, but first things first: I would fetch some coccidiosis medicine and give it to all the chicks in case this is the problem. It's the most common chick ailment and can easily kill, whereas it won't do any long term harm to treat her (following directions of course).

Watch the limp. It may be only nutritional deficiency brought on by cocci, so give it time and see if it improves (you might check the foot for any injuries, but there's not much else you could treat at this stage anyway).

best of luck, I hope she improves.

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