Sleepy, not eating, 4 month old hen


Apr 29, 2021
We have a 4 month old, starlight green egger, who is acting lethargic. She will sit down and rest when none of the other birds are doing so. We've watched her closely last night and this morning and she is not eating. We tried 2 of their favorite foods (Chard and watermelon) and she comes up to it, gingerly pecks at it, but doesn't take any bites. She drank normally this morning. We've seen one of her poops and it was normal, but small. Her crop is flat/empty and was last night before bed as well. Her eyes, ears, and vent are all clear/clean/normal. We checked her beak/throat and that is clear. She is still moving around some and came into the coop last night on her own. We are in MN, and it has been hot and humid, 90s plus high humidity the last 3 days. We live in a neighborhood. We have 6 chickens total and they are contained in a large coop and run. Shade is ample as is water and food. We occasionally let the birds out to free range and we did this yesterday for about 30 minutes around 430pm. From what my daughter and I can remember, she was acting normal then and eating grass and what not. No new birds introduced lately. No new foods introduced. The birds free range 1-2x a week and are fed Dumor layer crumbles. We supplement with some type of fresh green every day (chard, spinach, etc). Any ideas on what could be going on? Anything we could try? Or just watch and observe right now? Thanks so much! Of course, this is our favorite chicken of the 6, Montana. ;) Pics of Montana and coop/run attached.


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A couple things you can do to begin to eliminate possible reasons for her lack of appetite are to worm her and treat the flock for coccidiosis. Neither can hurt anything and might help to turn her around. Add a little sugar to the Corid water and that will overcome the bitter taste and may also help to elevate her glucose and improve her appetite. This can't harm the rest of the flock.

Meanwhile, observe the behavior of all of the chickens as she attempts to eat. Sometimes, a chicken will be bullied away from the feeder and she becomes too weak to feel like eating. Also, being bullied at the feeder actually "trains" a chicken not to want to eat. Slow starvation results. If this chicken gets shoved around and pecked at the feeder, this problem can be treated. More on how to do that if this turns out to be an issue.

If none of these measures improves her, if she continues to decline, she may have a treatable bacterial infection or an untreatable virus. I would start her on an oral antibiotic as the next step.

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