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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 23749
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Lethargic...clear runny poo, Carmella...2 years old. Just

Customer Question

Lethargic...clear runny poo
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the bird. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: Carmella...2 years old. Just gave her a warm Epsom salts bath and some olive oil
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Carmella?
Customer: No
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Bird
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
She is a sexlink chicken...very social.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site.

Unfortunately, lethargy and diarrhea can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues in chickens. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of such a presentation, so we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests, X-rays, and physical exams to differentiate one from another. Necropsy of a newly dead or a sacrificed severely ill bird then refrigerated (not frozen) can be an important diagnostic particularly in large flocks. With this in mind, your best course of action is to reach out to your county-extension poultry personnel or avian-oriented veterinarian (please see here: for help.

It's best to approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of her financial value to your operation. Although some services such as your county animal disease diagnostic laboratory might be available free of charge through a county agency or land-grant extension office, the expense of some diagnostic tests and treatments can add up quickly. While it’s always worth your time and money to identify a bacterial or viral infection that could potentially impact more than one member of the flock, this might not be the case with a condition that only affects one hen. It frustrates me that I can't be more specific for you but such is the dilemma of poultry owners and vets alike. Are there any other worrisome symptoms you could tell me about - conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, increased respiratory rate, gaping, regurgitation, vomiting, lameness, pale comb/wattles, repeated squatting as if to lay?

If you don't have an avian vet available to you, presumptive treatment for the most common gastrointestinal parasites plus a broad spectrum antibiotic are reasonable. Piperazine (Wazine, e.g.) will address roundworms and amprolium (Corid) will address coccidia. Tylosin (Tylan-50) dosed at 20-30 mg/lb once daily intramuscularly (or the injectable solution can be given directly into Carmella's beak) for 5-7 days is available in your local feed store as are the other drugs. It's best to bring her inside as shown here:

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?


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