Young pullet paralyzed & lethargic

What is this??

  • Mareks

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Botulism

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Worms

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2019
1) nearly 9 weeks old, production red (or maybe a cinnamon queen) one of 16 assorted, same-age hybrid layers. Maybe a little small? Not by much if so.
2) found laying on her side in the coop around 10am. I thought she was dead but then I saw her head was up.
Unable to stand or move her legs that I've seen. Also isn't moving her wings but her neck and mouth work. Seems sleepy but eating and drinking.
3) had not noticed any problems before finding her this morning!
4) none of the other birds are exhibiting symptoms.
5) no signs of trauma
6) no precipitating events
7) she is eating her medicated starter, which I have piled in front of her face. She will also drink water with vitamins and electrolytes with help and I've been giving her a drink every 10-20 minutes all day.
8) green poo stuck in her fluff, not alot, hasn't been given any food other than the starter. No blood.
9) I have her in a box in my garage with food and water with vitamins/electrolytes/probiotics (chick boost). I had her in the house all day but then I thought maybe too cold in here? It's 80 degrees outside.
10 ) Hoping to help her myself
11) Pictures to follow
12) more than large-enough coop with pine shavings. I splashed some water on some shavings a few days ago while refilling their water bucket - could 1 square foot of wet shaving cause a problem?
I don't know what a crop is supposed to feel like.

Thank you for your expertise!
She could have dehydration if her legs were not working well yesterday while it was hot. Mareks is the most obvious possibility if she will not move her legs. An injury might also be a possibility. Some chicks become very weak with coccidiosis. How are her poops? Botulism usually causes flaccid paralysis in toes and feet, and it moves upward in thespinal nerves causing paralysis of the wings, the neck, eyelids, and the breathing muscles. Hopefully, it is not that. I doubt that the water spill caused this. Are all other chickens acting normally?
[QUOTE="Eggcessive, post: 21670993, member: 85053] Some chicks become very weak with coccidiosis. How are her poops?[/QUOTE]
Her poop seems to be a normal texture and grass green with white on one end and sort of yellowish flecks in the white.
The green poop may be from not eating. Have you ever had any chickens that died from an unknown cause or who had suffered paralysis in one or both legs or wings? I really hope that your pullet is not suffering from Mareks, but I would try to get her to eat and drink. Mareks would need to be diagnosed with a necropsy by the state vet after death, but hopefully, she will start getting better. Here is some reading about Mareks disease: Recognizing and Preventing Mareks Disease in Small Flocks.pdf
This is my first flock ever and my first illness ever!

I got her onto her feet and she didn't immediately flop over onto her side! I feel slightly encouraged.
Still lethargic. Definitely not moving her legs. Is moving her wings a tiny bit maybe.

The rest of the flock still seems ok. I thought they seemed sleepier than normal for a sec but then I realized - it's roost time. Nervous!!
She still seems stiff and weak, but there has definitely been some voluntary motion in her legs and wings since Saturday. Last night she was also much more animated - protesting more as I tried to prop her on her feet. I hope that's a sign that she is getting stronger and not that she is in pain. She stopped peeping when I stopped handling her.

I have continued with the vitamins/electrolytes and added corrid. If she doesn't continue to improve I suppose I'll try wormer as well, because - why not. :fl

How does one know if a chicken is in pain??
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Chickens can be very stoic about tolerating pain. How are your others doing? Do they go out and roam around, or are they pretty much confined to a coop and run? Have you thought about placing her in a wire dog crate near the other chicks to visit? It would be interesting to see how she reacts to them, if she is more active, or if she eats better. Glad to hear that she is trying to move her legs and wings. Do you think there is any way that she could have been exposed to botulism from dead animal remains, vegetation that has been decayed or underground, or maggots? Here is a little reading about botulism:

Unfortunately Mareks still seems like a possibility, although a head or neck injury might be a slim possibility.
My older chickens free range all day.

I do let the littles out to roam, but just after I get home from work in the evenings - so maybe 2-3 hours/day right now. Otherwise they're in a large coop area. That's a good idea - I'll try her near the others in a cage and see what happens. They do seem to be missing her - rushing for the door now when I go to let them out when they never really did so before.

We do have lots of mice around - it's definitely possible that she got into something yucky I suppose, despite my pseudo-supervision while they're out. All of the other chicks seem 100% fine. I'm wondering more and more about an injury - I think I have their roost pole WAY too high up. Most of them are not using it, it's so high. Will have to fix that asap.

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