My chicken is weak

by Michelle
(Brisbane,QLD Australia)

Question
My chicken is weak it appears to be having difficulty walking, and has yellow colored feces near her backside. What could this be?

Answer
There are a number of things that this could be. As much as we would love to be able to give you a simple and accurate answer, that is something next to impossible without examining the chicken and running tests.

Anytime you have feces building up on feathers near the vent of a chicken there is probably some form of diarrhea.

Diarrhea can be caused by parasites, toxins, virus, bacterial infections or an unusual amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet.

The weakness you mention could be a side effect of the diarrhea. Since chickens urinate and defecate all at once, diarrhea will cause too much fluid to leave the body before it has a chance to absorb.

Also when diarrhea is present nutrients are rushed out of the body before they can be absorbed, or in the case of parasites, the parasites could be absorbing all the nutrition. This can be a deadly situation.

It’s important to help this bird retain some fluids and regain some energy if she is to win this battle.

You can give her a little Gatorade or Pedialyte to try to keep her strength up and mix some in her dry feed. If you don’t have that handy, mix a tsp of sugar in 1/8 cup warm water with a pinch of salt.

Give her some with a spoon or eye-dropper and mix the rest in a little dry food. She needs to be kept warm, dry and clean. The only way I know of to determine what is causing this is to take a sample of her feces to a vet and have it checked.

Often, for a reasonable fee, they can diagnose the problem without the expense of an exam fee/office visit. If they have a diagnosis for you, they will most likely have a medication to cure it.

It takes different kinds of antibiotics and anti-parasitics to treat different kinds of problems.

As we know chickens poop everywhere in their environment. They also clean themselves with their beaks.

It is extremely easy for diseases to spread through feces in a group of chickens, so it is vital that you find out what this is.

You may need to treat your whole flock to prevent all from getting sick. She and any other possibly sick chickens should be moved away from healthy ones.

I hope this helps and your chicken is OK.

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