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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30326
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 3 year old Rhode Island red chicken is not feeling well.

Customer Question

My 3 year old Rhode Island red chicken is not feeling well. She is hunkered down sitting by herself. She is walking very slow when she does. I have examined her and she does not have any wounds. Her cloaca appears normal with no distention or discharge. Her comb is a bit pale and her feathers seem fine. Her belly feels a bit firm. The other girls are not bothering her. She seems very mopey and uncomfortable. She does not have any respiratory signs and the rest of the flock is healthy. They have a pampered life - free range on 4 acres. She will eat if you bring food to her. I fear for the worst but want to know if there is anything I can try in case it is something treatable. Thank you for your input.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year 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, the symptoms you've mentioned can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of 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. 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 in differentiating the various causes of what you're seeing. Veterinarians can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to distinguish between the differential diagnoses.It's best to approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of Sandy's 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.Have any new symptoms arisen that might help clarify why Sandy is ill - a change in her eyes, nasal discharge, sneezing, swollen sinuses, regurgitation/vomiting, increased respiratory rate, squatting repeatedly to lay, walking like a penguin, lameness/paresis (weakness)/paralysis? Presumptive antibiotic therapy is reasonable but not something I favor. Tylosin in the form of Tylan-50 in your local feed store can be administered at a dose of 20-30 mg/lb intramuscularly or the injectable solution can be given orally once daily for 5-7 days. Bringing Sandy inside in this manner should be considered: respond with additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

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

Dr. Michael Salkin