Wrench is sick. Diagnosis ideas?


9 Years
Apr 21, 2010
My American Leghorn isn't acting normal. She's usually very dominant, always eats first, gets out of their run whenever possible, and is just generally very feisty and flighty.

For the last 4 days or so, she's very lethargic. She's eating, but not as much as usual. Her comb is very pale, a little yellowish and droopy. Her poo looks normal. She's walking fine.

She's not trying to get out of the run anymore, and she let me pick her up the last two days to take a look at her (she usually runs away from me). She hasn't laid an egg in about 2 weeks, but she's about 4 years old, and she's been stressed lately, so I wasn't concerned about it. She doesn't care very much about treats (she just walks over and pecks at scratch listlessly), and she's all hunched up like she doesn't feel good.

I felt her crop, but I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. It felt the same as my other two chickens' crops. They have access to grit and oyster shells.

Any ideas? Should I separate her from the other hens? I need a Dr. House for my chicken!


9 Years
May 18, 2010
Semora NC - on the VA line
is she making any wierd noises that arent normal clucking?

If she hasnt laid an egg in 2 weeks, listless, lethargic, and pale...she may be eggbound. feel her rear end underneath and see if you can feel any large bump that may be an egg...that would be my first guess...


Emu Hugger
12 Years
Mar 10, 2008
a bumpy dirt road in Florida

Sorry this was your first post.....

Check for egg binding
Also when was she last wormed or checked for lice and mites? They can bring a chicken down quick.


13 Years
Jan 17, 2007
New Jersey
And if she is eggbound you have an emergency on your hands. It's a very long time for her to be under the weather whether egg bound or sick in some other way (and doesn't it always figure that there's other stuff going on, like the stress you mentioned, that makes it hard to interpret!). If you are so inclined, a vet right away may be her best chance. What you described is a hen that is very ill.

If she was a regular layer before these last 2 weeks, do give her a crushed up Tums (mix with a bit fo water and gently administer with a dropper) - the calcium can help with getting an egg out. Do also give her 3 drops Polyvisol liquid children's vitamins also administered gently witha dropper, to try to bolster her strength. If it's hot out get here somewhere more comfortable so she has no other stressors.

Hurry on all. It sounds like she is in big trouble.


9 Years
Apr 21, 2010
She's not really making any weird noises.

I've had her for about a year, and I haven't wormed her since I got her. I don't know what they did at her previous home, she lived on a farm and they wanted to get rid of her because she wasn't laying much anymore. How often do you have to worm them?

She was usually only laying an egg or two a week before she started showing symptoms.

I'm at work now, but I'll check for egg-binding as soon as I get home, and I'll pick up some Tums and vitamins on my way home.
Thanks for the advice.


9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
San Juan Islands, WA state
There's folks who will disagree with me (some adamantly), but when in doubt I medicate with a broad spectrum antibiotic like terramycin (Duramycin). I isolate and only give the antibiotic to the sick bird and continue to look for observable symptoms for a more definitive diagnosis. If a bird isn't showing improvement in a couple of days or I start seeing evidence of cocci, then I will stop the antibiotic and treat with Sulmet or Corrid. And, of course, if I come up with a diagnosis that can't be helped by either drug, I stop both and go a different way.

Like I said, there's many who will vehemently disagree with my methods, but it works for me a good percentage of the time. When it doesn't, I generally assume that the unknown disease or condition was probably beyond treatment (at least without the aid and expense of a Vet). I subscribe to the medical ethic of "first, do no harm." Neither of these treatments are harmful even if they are ineffective. The bottom line is, if I think a bird is going downhill and likely to die, I'd rather do something that fails, than to do nothing because I'm afraid of making a mistake.

Not saying my approach is the right one or the only one - just throwing it out there for your consideration.


9 Years
Apr 21, 2010
Wrench update. I gave her a warm bath and a massage and I felt underneath and inside her vent. I could feel a lump from the outside, smaller than an egg and kind of mushy feeling. But I couldn't feel anything inside her. Could she have a tumor or something? She didn't struggle much or make much noise while I examined her.

I gave her the liquid vitamins and some water with tums crushed in it and some electrolytes. I also fed her some baby food with an eye dropper. She's inside now in a dog crate with access to water with electrolytes in it and more baby food. I can't really afford to take her to the vet. Is there anything else I can do for her? Try the antibiotics?

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
Oh I am so sorry. Poor Wrench. She may have had something working on her (tumor??) for a very long time - since they dumped her because they said she didn't lay much. Your good care kept her going this long but whatever was inside probably just killed her.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom