Very Sick Hen Please HELP!

Outta Here

May 17, 2021
Have you checked your treats or what she's been eating? A few days ago I had a 6 month old laying pullet who suddenly didn't come for treats and stood all huffed and in distress, refusing food and water. She had laid an egg that morning but acted like she'd be dead by nightfall. I was surprised when she was able to get on the roost, but I expected to see her dead by morning.
After ransacking my mind for all the things it could be, I remembered my dog was sick for a day or two over gorging on too much fatty raw chicken. The vet diagnosed pancreatitis from the overload. It happens at Thanksgiving to dogs who get too much turkey fat.
I remembered I had given the flock more than usual Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae, which are sky high in fat. And to reward Smoke for jumping into my lap, I let her gorge extra from my hand.
Fortunately, Smoke's refusal to eat when she was sick cleared things up, and I withheld the worms the next day and won't repeat the mistaken generosity. The next day, she was fine and laid at her usual time...Today as she followed me begging for treats, I realize she really is a little glutton for them and I have to be more careful.
As for your girl being long-term undernourished, most young pullets have very little meat on their breastbones or elsewhere. Have you felt the other healthy ones of her breed for comparison? She could be normal but sick from something she ate or overate.
Last edited:


Jul 18, 2017
East Coast of Australia
Lots of anecdotes here, but to be honest it's hard to get them back from that sort of condition if you're trying remedies without a diagnosis.

It sounds like you think of her and treat her like a pet rather than livestock. If you have the means, take her to the vet. You don't really have time for guessing games. It could be something contagious and the visit might save your whole flock.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
How old is the hen? You said that she has never laid an egg, but others have for 3 months? Is that correct? What does her poop look like? Pictures of poop and her are welcome. Can she stand at all? What does her crop feel like—empty and flat, full, hard or puffy? What do you feed? Does she free range where she could have gotten into something poisonous in a compost bed or eaten a bad plant? She could be suffering from some reproductive disorder, infection, or organ problem. But answer some of the questions and we may help.


12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
The general symptoms point to bacterial infection or possible coccidiosis.

Coccidia vax doesn't cover all nine strains of it, so treating your flock would be wise just to cover that base. But this hen I would give an oral antibiotic. Do you live where there are pet stores? It's so frustrating when a thread starter leaves out their location as it would really help us help you.

Ask for amoxicillin or if you have any left over antibiotic on hand let us know what it is and we can help you calculate the dosage. Your hen may not have the luxury of time for us to spend the time trying to figure this out. I usually treat with an antibiotic the second I see such symptoms as your pullet has.

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
Southern N.C. Mountains

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