Sick chicken

Asked September 12, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT

Hi there, My hen is about a year/year and a half old and is listing to one side. She is eating and drinking, but seems to have diarrhea. She wobbles when she walks slowly, and sometimes does a somersault. But then she will run from me perfectly fine. She seems pretty lethargic. She is a Speckled Sussex.

Multnomah County Oregon poultry

1 Response

These types of cases are difficult to resolve or even to determine the cause. Some possibilities include: toxins from molds in the feed, physical injury of the head (got her "bell" rung), tumor, nutritional deficiency, or a disease organism (Marek's comes to mind but the bird is a little old for new symptoms).

If other birds in the flock are healthy, the chances are that other will not be affected, and the problem will affect only this bird, at least for the time being. If others are affected, check for molds or other toxins in the environment, make sure you are feeding a complete diet formulated for chickens. If no obvious environmental or feed problems are found you may want to get a proper diagnosis (may not be able to determine base on one bird) which should be determined by necropsy. For necropsy information and pricing, Contact the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the College of Vet Med at OSU in Corvallis: 541-737-3216.

NOTE: If only one bird is affected, it may simply be an individual problem with this bird based on its genetics and not a contagious issue for the flock. There is always some background mortality, as high as 20% in small flocks, with no determined cause. Unless other birds start showing similar symptoms, I would suggest doing nothing except supportive care for the affect bird. if others become affected, a necropsy is in order.