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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28931
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Please help my three month old chicken is acting lethargic

Customer Question

Please help my three month old chicken is acting lethargic she is keeping her eyes closed and isolating herself from everyone else in the pen she has a phone that is turned pale her vent is clear don't see any mites no warmth no blood in her stool just basically very lethargic
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Shannon, unfortunately lethargy 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 Pumpkin'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. It frustrates me that I can't be more specific for you but such is the dilemma of poultry owners and vets alike.

Tylosin (Tylan-50) dosed at 20-30 mg/lb once daily intramuscularly or the injectable solution can be given orally for 5-7 days is available in your local feed store. If you have another antibiotic and need a dose for it, please let me know. It's best to bring her inside as shown here:

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I gave her Corid is this a good response to her symptoms
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

No, Corid (amprolium) is a coccidiostat. Coccidia in chickens causes diarrhea which is often hemorrhagic. Please look into her eyes and tell me if they look like the eyes in a chicken with Marek's disease here:!mareks-disease/c1qzk

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
im sorry I had to go to work... so this is what happened..i was desperate to help her so i began examining her all over paying close attention to everything. i began looking around her vent and under her wings and found no sores but i began to scratch her and lo and behold with my glasses on i discovered what lok like either lice or mites. so i used a spray i had for that cleaned the whole coop from top to bottom and spread de throughout. i checked my other chickens and could not find any on them but im sure they too would have them so i treated them as well. they all seemed to enjoy the good scrathing i gave them. however i still did not feel this was enough and like i told you we had given her the cordin and i quarentined her. this is where she stayed until i goat home from work. well when i got home she was back to her spunky self and begging to be let out and she seemed healthy. then we discovered something else...the feed store had given us the wrong feed. we had been feeding her egg laying crumble verses young chickens crumble. i read up on that and found that it was also bad for her so i have since put her on her correct diet and as of today she is doing really good. so any suggestions as to is im on right track
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Wonderful update! External parasites should be identified prior to treatment but in most cases a carbaryl-containing dust such as Sevin as well as environmental control should suffice. A recent study showed that mite populations could be controlled with dust boxes containing either diatomaceous earth, kaolin clay, or sulfur. All hens using dust boxes with any material showed a reduction in ectoparasites (mites, lice, fleas) by 80-100% after one week when compared to control groups. Ectoparasite populations recovered when dust boxes containing diatomaceous earth or kaolin clay were removed; however, sulfur provided a residual effect up to nine months post removal. Provision of dust boxes may be a simple and effective method of ectoparasite control for backyard flocks. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

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

Dr. Michael Salkin