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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 32731
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My chicken has had the runs [whitish] has layed today, keeps

Customer Question

My chicken has had the runs [whitish] has layed today, keeps laying down all fluffed up, which is not normal behaviour. Looks lethargic and closing her eyes.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian-oriented vets on the site. Unfortunately, the symptoms you've mentioned - diarrhea, lethargy and fluffing - can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues. In avian medicine, there's rarely one cause of a condition, 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 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 various etiologies.
It's best to approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of the bird'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 would be prudent to quarantine Gladys away from your other birds where she has her own food and water and is unlikely to be stressed by your others. See if you can heat up her environment to 26.7C. You can presumptively worm her with piperazine (Wazine, e.g.) and you can initiate a systemic antibiotic such as tetracycline (Duramycin-10, e.g.) with the understanding that it's impossible for us to know at this time if gastrointestinal parasitism and/or a bacterial infection is responsible for her malaise.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. I regret that I can't be more specific for you from here.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thankyou for your answer, my hens were due to be wormed, all done and, Gladys is a lot better.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the good update! I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.