Welsummer suddenly lethargic


5 Years
Feb 23, 2014
Good evening BYC,

We have a coop with four hens, each a different breed, all approx. nine months old. Our Welsummer, Major Cluster, has had zero health issues so far. This morning she exited the coop as normal, raised a ruckus as normal, laid her egg for the day, also normal.

We let the hens out in the late afternoon for recess, and upon her exit she was very unenthusiastic, which is not normal. She moped about, moving slowly, not picking her greens/grass as usual. She'd also pause and stand still for 20 seconds or so at a time. She didn't eat, even when I brought out the corn, nor did she eat any cut carrot. She also allowed me to hold her for 10-20 minutes at a time, and usually she is up and out after about 5 seconds.

Internet research on our own is currently steering us toward an impacted crop. The other three girls had a noticeable, firm bulge on the upper right portion of their chests. Our Welsummer does not. We've never felt her crop before, however, so we have no baseline. We currently have her separated for the night in a covered box with shavings, water, electrolyte. She took in a little electrolyte when fed it via a dropper, and her crop area made gurgling sounds as she drank it.

Are we doing the right things? Do her behaviors point to anything else? Anything we should be doing?

Much obliged.
probably coccidiosis, that s the symptoms my girls showed including gurgles, you need to get her medicine, I think its called something like coccidia?
I don't think it's a crop issue if her crop was empty. But an empty crop in the afternoon is unusual since she may not have eaten anything. You could treat with Corid for cocci, but unless she is new or you have recently brought in a new chicken, she should have built up immunity to cocci on your property unless you have moved. A gizzard blockage or some other problem may a possible cause. Tempt her with soft scrambled egg. Here is some info on coccidiosis: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/coccidiosis-what-backyard-chicken.html
Hello everyone, thank you for your replies. We're looking into the cocci angle, but I wanted to update our hen's symptoms.

She spent the night inside our house in a box and seemed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning. She ate happily from a spoon of yogurt, but she did not take any electrolyte from the dropper this morning. We took her outside to give her some flowing water from the hose, which she (and all the hens) go after, but she wasn't interested in that, either. She did walk about more lively than yesterday, and came across some corn scratch from yesterday - and this she ate up as usual. She also had some droppings that were watery and green, which we figured might have been part of the clog (going with the impacted crop theory from yesterday). There were also droppings in the box from overnight. Thinking she was better, we returned her to the run with her sisters.

At first she seemed normal and roosted on the run roost to preen. After a half hour or so she was back to sitting on the ground and not moving much. We've since pulled her again and put her back in the inside box, and fired up the computer to see what BYC suggested. We will call a vet tomorrow to see about a fecal float test. We had a sick chick (one of this group) back when they were 7-8 weeks old, and at that time we administered a cocci medicine (would have to look it up, if we kept that info), but I understand there are many strains.

If anything else from the above jumps out at any of you, please let me know.

She's always been a light bird, at least (or especially) compared to our Buff Orpington; our BO is probably twice the weight of our Welsummer. But her weight hasn't noticeably changed, though we haven't scaled the birds since they were chicks.

As far as I can tell her keel bone doesn't protrude any more than any of the other girls. You can definitely feel it; since she's been sick she's been happy to sit on my hand so I've had the opportunity in the last day to get a feel for it. My wife has also not noticed a big change there.

We did check under her wings for external parasites, but did not see any evidence. We will recheck when we try to feed and water her in an hour or so.

If she were mine I would bring her inside, get a baseline weight on her, do a thorough exam that includes checking inside the vent for a stuck egg and I'd dust her for bugs with a proper poultry dust (DE doesn't work). If she's not drinking she'll need to be tubed fluids at 30ml/kg every 6-8 hours until properly hydrated, then tubed baby bird food if still not eating. I'd also de-worm her with Safeguard (fenbendazole) or Valbazen (albendazole). You can use liquid Safeguard for goats, cattle or paste for horses or cattle, they're the same. Tractor Supply should have them in stock. You can also use Panacur. it's the same as Safeguard.

Safeguard dose - .5ml per 2.2 pounds (50mg/kg)
Valbazen dose - .2ml per 2.2 pounds (~20mg/kg)

You could also give her Corid, that sure won't hurt. What does her poop look like?

Corid or Amprol dose:
1.5 teaspoons 20% powder per gallon for 5-7 days.
2 teaspoons 9.6% liquid per gallon for 5-7 days.

More Corid info here:

Unfortunately not much in the way of chicken-educated vets in my immediate area. I did take a fecal sample in today to have the local vet run tests, and they gave me the name of a vet that might be able to do something with chickens. Test results in tomorrow. Feed store a couple towns over should have some/most/all of the items pictured above, thank you for the list.

Yesterday was much like Day 1. Today things are looking up a little bit. Major Cluster has had a little more energy and showed some gumption out in the yard today. She's mostly been holed up in a box in the kitchen, but ate a little bit of scratch, a little bit of mashed regular food mixed with water, a little bit (but not much, I don't think she likes the taste) of a young-chick powdered nutrition mix (best I could do for today with what PetCo had to offer), some water and some electrolytes. All the girls love "water in the wild" where we just turn the hose on and they drink up, and that's lots easier to get her to drink water that way versus the dropper. She's got enough fight in her still to really resist beak feeding via syringe.

Major Cluster's droppings have been a mix of very green, tightly packed, small-diameter extrusions..and white watery substance. The white is almost certainly yogurt - on Day 1 we fed her some by spoon since she would willingly eat it and to get some good biotics in her. The green is very likely carrot tops that we let her pig out on, lesson learned. We still have her separated for the night, so we can monitor intake and exhaust (as it were).

Thanks again for all replies.

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