Very weak, sick hen can't walk


11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
1) What type of bird , age and weight.
Ok, I have a hen that is about 1 year old. She is a buff color but I do not know her breed. She weighs maybe 3lbs.

2) What is the behavior, exactly.
She is just laying around with one leg just straight out. Seems very weak and she is very thin, no fat.

3) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
I can not find any injuries or anything but I did find alot of bugs and I have treated her with Poultry Dust. I also talked to my vet and he had me come pick up Baytril and I'm giving her 2 injections daily of .1cc.

4) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
I'm assumng it was from the lice???

5) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
She is eating and drinking

6) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
Her poo is runny and green

7) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
I have treated her with Poultry Dust. I also talked to my vet and he had me come pick up Baytril and I'm giving her 2 injections daily of .1cc.

8 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
I would prefer to treat myself if possible. I'm not totally sure she will or can be pulled through.

9) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

10) Describe the housing/bedding in use
Small shed with individual nesting boxes. HOWEVER, she won't stay in there she stays with a rooster outside. There is hay in the boxes.

I'm not sure if the bugs are the only problem. I had found several and then dusted her and they are falling off in droves. She will not use one of her legs even when I help her stand. I have been treating her a couple days now and she does seem a little stronger at times. It is rainy and cold so she is in the house in a box under a lamp. I hate to put her down if she will get better but she is so weak and sick I don't know what to do.

My next plan of action is to get vitamins for her water? Also the stuff to worm her tomorrow. Should I bathe her to clean up her back end? It's a mess. When she poos I put down fresh paper for her but I don't know if I'm doing enough.
It sounds like mites/lice for the main thing. You can dust her and etc all you want, but if you do not treat the area, coop, nests and etc and remove all the sahvings/hay and replace with fresh stuff...nothing will change.

They will literally suck the life of a chicken if they infest really bad. It makes them thin and so forth.

If she is eating and everything but still could be worms. Take some of her poo to the vet and have him do a float test and see if she has worms. If she does not, do not worm her because that will just make it harder on her.

Have you checked both legs really well for any type of swelling, inflammation, bruising etc?

Is she still laying, when was her last egg laid?

Get the electrolytes in her water so she does not dehydrate. Try giving her some plain yogurt, scrambled egg or hard boiled egg.

Hopefully, one of the other old hands will pipe in here.
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OK, since I powdered her I've "dumped" her paper twice and there were bugs dead on it and a lot of them. She is very thin when you pick her up but her feathers are so fluffy she doesn't look that thin.

She has not laid in 3 days for sure but doesn't seem to fell eggbound, not that I would know for sure.

Her legs: One leg she keeps up under her somewhat, it's gotten kind of scaly looking. The other leg she pretty much sticks straight out and it is darker looking and more scaly. I was just reading on another site that they can get something under the scales and you should bathe them in warm soapy water. I don't want to put undue stress on her.

When I hold her up to change her paper and food, etc. she will put her feet down but the one leg that seems messed up doesn't work right.

Her behind is so very nasty and today it's like she was trying to clean her self and little worm looking things feel off onto the paper and died. Sounds like worms to me and that is why I was planning on worming her.

Another question, if she makes it through another night should I buy something other than scratch to feed her??

I plan on cleaning the shed very good as soon as the flood stops, it's been raining and VERY hard for a couple of days now.

For now she is in a very clean enviroment because she is in our house. So she is fine. I plan on dusting the rest of them once it dries out here. I'm just trying to get her back on her feet.
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Where do you live? Some species of mites are big enough to cause anemia in moderate infestations. That's a possibility. Feed her high iron foods like raw ground beef, or buy some poultry cell and give her two full ccs. Also, it could be Marek's Disease and the mites just took advantage of her weakness. There is a treatment, posted on my website (linked in my sig) poultry health > supportive therapy > green treats and homeopathic remedies.

Worms? Are there large open wounds? It could be screwflies. Or it's just a long-bodied louse.
Yes. Get her on a 22% protein diet to get her weight back up to healthier levels. Swanson makes a fabulous 22% layer crumble. It's made with animal fats and it's one of the cheapest brants. Not sure if it's in you area though.
I live in North Texas, just south of the DFW area.

I do believe it's the bugs that has her down. She seems much stronger and she is eating great. All our chickens like lettuce so I gave her a little of that and I scrambled an egg for her and she gulped down the egg in record time. LOL.

I can't do the Baytril injection by myself, well I could but don't want to. So my Dad is coming in and helping me. I have her in a bathroom and tonight he walked in and she tried to get up but her one leg isn't working right. It may be wishful thinking but it looks like there is a little bit of color in it now and it was not ice cold anymore.

She lays with her feet or at least that one leg straight out to the side so she leans to the side in the back part of her body. I was keeping a towel rolled up next to her to keep her body as upright as I could because I read she could get fluid on her lungs laying sideways. Tonight she was laying with the front part of her body upright.

I will try the raw meat. I have to run up to the feed store for my weekly feed run and was going to inquire about the vitamins for her water.

So far she seems some better so I'm going to just keep trying and hoping. LOL.
try and get some poultry vitamins..if you can't find them can use Poly-vi-sol liquid baby vitamins, Enfamil brand if possible, no iron..
give 3 drops on beak (so it runs in her mouth) once a day for a week..then taper off for another week.
you can find it any pharmacy, including Walmart.

the green droppings is from not eating enough.
don't give her anymore scratch or lettuce ...
you can give her a little dark greens (such as spinach, etc), brocolli tops, or cabbage in very small amounts.
she needs calcium and protein..

also get some crushed oyster shell..put some in a separate feeder for the hens.
scratch should be only be given in very small amounts like candy.
they need layer feed.

make up this mixture and give it for 5 days:
the amounts given are for 1 day..feed it to her 3 times a day along with her usual feed as usual, free choice.

1 egg yolk….. give the whites to the other hens mixed into their pellets
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
3 to 4 tablespoons rolled oats..or water cooked oatmeal along with layer feed to make it crumbly..not soupy.

apply to her legs mineral oil, or Bag Balm..
sounds like she has Scaley Leg mite.
you can scrub the scales when she's a little better and less stressed.

check for any open sores.

do try and take a fecal sample to the vet for worm/cocci test..
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It sounds like you are doing a great job taking care of your hen, and treating her. my guess is that she is just very very weak and needs another week or two of this kind of care to get her strength back.

The poultry dust might need to be done at the 2-week point (check the directions) to take care of any next cycle of bugs hatching.

Try the raw ground beef, or chopped beef liver (raw, chopped into tiny little pieces, worm-sized).
I agree with MoodyChicken's advice. Also if your hen has a very dirty bottom you could bathe her, but only if you can keep her very warm after, use a hairdryer on low to dry her feathers. I would only wash her bum under very warm running water to clean it. You may need to use your fingers to loosen the poop, so if you're squeemish about that, you may just want to skip it. You don't want her getting a chill, when she is in such poor condition. But they do like being clean.
I bathe my chickens regularly, if they are very dirty. They seem to like the warm water. But it is very important to get them dry and keep them warm.
She is probaly not laying right now, since she is so weak. It takes a lot out of a hen to lay those eggs.
When my birds are sick and have bugs, I don't treat them with pesticides. I'll only bathe them and then treat with pesticides when they're healthy. Take her into your shower and gently blast the eggs and bugs off with the shower head. Rinse her well, and wrap her in a towel for a while. Then blow her completely dry. Make sure the water isn't too warm, chickens have very sensitive skin. If your elbow isn't comfortable in it, the bird isn't going to like it. Use baby shampoo and be sure to not get any water in her ears!

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