lethargic chickens

7 Amazing Ways to Deal with Lethargic Chickens

Foraging for food and cooling off in the dust during the heat of the day are just two of the many activities chickens engage in during the day. But occasionally, your chickens may be lethargic and less energetic than usual.

A lethargic chicken, in contrast to a healthy chicken, is unusually sluggish and uninterested in its surroundings.

Chickens that lack the energy to move or stand upright are considered to be lethargic. They might tuck their heads under their wings and snooze for hours.

On top of that, sleepy hens are defenseless against roaming predators since they are unaware of their surroundings.

What is Lethargy in Chickens

lethargic chickens

A lethargic chicken, like an unenergetic person, is a bird that lacks vitality. It’s possible that they nap more often than other chickens. Possibly they would spend less time actively foraging.

Hens often sleep and rest, but they will swiftly awaken if they are frightened.

If you wake up a chicken that is too sleepy to move, it won’t do anything. Chicken lethargy could be caused by a variety of illnesses or environmental factors.

Symptoms for Lethargic Behavior in Chickens

A sluggish chicken is often misdiagnosed as ill by their owners. It is important to recognize the signs of lethargy in your chickens before determining that they are ill. These symptoms characterize a listless hen.

Your Chickens are Not Foraging

It is normal for a healthy chicken to spend the majority of its time out of the coop searching for food. Chickens wander around their coop looking for food like seeds, crumbs, and worms.

Hens in good health will scratch and peck at whatever they can get their beaks on, even if they are in their coops.

It will take some time for your free-range chickens to return to their coop and recuperate after a day of foraging. The difference is that they’ll be on the move all day.

It’s possible your birds are lazy if you rarely see them foraging. In contrast to the other chickens, a sluggish one will not go out foraging with them. Rather, it will be found lounging on the ground while its other birds forage overhead.

It’s possible it won’t leave the coop until late afternoon. Even though hens slumber much as people do, lethargic chickens may spend too much time sleeping. They don’t have the healthy inclination to venture out of the coop and forage for food.

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Problems with Mobility

This is a common symptom of lethargic chickens. A robust and hearty hen never ceases to flaunt her health. When walking, it will rapidly thrust its legs forward. Further, a healthy chicken will occasionally flap its wings for agitation or balance.

The gait of a chicken can reveal a lot about its overall health. If a bird has trouble getting about, it’s likely to be sluggish overall. Tired chickens have trouble getting up off the ground, too. If they try to walk, they will constantly trip and fall.

The bowed legs that characterize the majority of lethargic chickens make it difficult for them to walk since their legs refuse to bear their weight when they attempt to stand.

Separate from others

A flock of chickens will stay together because they feel more secure in that formation. However, lazy hens often choose to live alone, rather than in a flock. The sluggish chicken won’t be participating in the group’s regular activities.

Rather, it will opt for a solitary existence. Only around mealtimes will it have a hard time fitting in with the other birds. The sluggish fowl can still eat with the flock. The chicken, though, would much rather be left alone.

To avoid competing for food with other birds, it will choose to nest in isolated areas. As a result, lethargy in your chicken may cause it to withdraw from the group.

Facial Slump and Drooping of the Head

When roosting during the night, chickens have a particular way of sleeping. One or two of your flock members may be suffering from lethargy if they don’t go to sleep at the same time every night.

Floppy chickens nod off when their heads appear to be falling or tucked under their wings. Chickens that are too tired to keep their heads up when sleeping have a hard time raising them.

They Don’t Realize Where They Are

Some of your chickens may be lazy if they seem to be completely oblivious to their surroundings. Chickens in good health keep their eyes and ears open at all times, so they can keep tabs on what’s going on around them.

Chickens, and roosters in particular, that are in good health are always alert to their surroundings in order to detect any danger. However, a sleepy hen can’t keep an eye on her surroundings.

Chickens who are too sluggish to react to their environment are more likely to be injured. Slow chickens won’t flee from any approaching predators. Chicken owners don’t have to exert a lot of effort to manage their lethargic chickens.

Chickens who are too drowsy to glimpse their environment will not object when humans remove them from their coops.

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Lethargic chickens are not only oblivious to their surroundings but also have trouble keeping their eyes open, which further hinders their ability to respond to changes in their environment.


Reasons for Lethargic Chickens

lethargic chickens

There are a number of causes of lethargic chickens. In the same setting, not all chickens will act the same.

If you have hens and you’ve noticed that some of them seem unenergetic, you should investigate the cause of their lethargy. Consider these potential causes of your chickens’ lethargy.

Variations in Temperature –

Temperature extremes can cause serious distress in chickens. Your chickens may seem listless as the weather changes. In either extreme heat or cold, your chickens could get listless.

Younger chickens and baby chicks are more sensitive to temperature changes and are more prone to develop lethargy as a result. Mature hens are less prone to become drowsy due to temperature changes because of their innate responses.


Chickens in good health never stop eating and drinking. However, chickens can become malnourished if they contract a sickness that prevents them from eating.

Your chickens may get lethargic if they aren’t getting enough to eat and drink. Your lethargic chickens won’t be able to forage as the rest of your flock will.

Not only that, but lethargic chickens won’t take part in the dust bathing ritual which is a social need for healthy chickens.

Egg Bound hens

Chickens can develop lethargy from egg binding. Lack of energy in laying hens may be caused by egg bounding, the condition in which the chickens are unable to release their eggs. When a hen is egg-bound, her digestive system stops working normally.

While other chickens are happily feasting or foraging outside, egg-bound hens are in pain and unable to eat because they cannot release waste.

If your chickens seem lethargic, check the place where they breathe. If you see that your chickens are lethargic and you have noticed that they are unable to lay eggs, you should consult a vet.


Lethargic Chickens? Here’s What to Do About It.

lethargic chickens

If you suspect that a few of your chickens are lethargic, it is best to keep an eye on them to confirm your suspicions. Chickens can be unmotivated, leading some owners to label their hens as slackers.

Take the following measures to treat lethargic chickens if you suspect that some of your birds may be sluggish.

Separate the sleepy birds from the rest of the flock.

Separate the sleepy birds from the rest of the flock. Investigate the causes of the birds’ lethargy and think about strategies to get the sleepy hens back to work. The specific cause of the chickens’ lethargy is unknown.

It’s possible that the lethargic chickens have a contagious sickness, therefore it’s best to quarantine them so that they don’t infect the rest of the flock.

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Chickens should be fed separately.

In addition to keeping the listless chickens apart from the active ones, it’s best to give them their own food supply. Chickens that lack energy can’t eat like normal chickens.

They eat considerably more slowly than the rest of the flock, even when they’re hungry. Your sluggish chickens will eat and drink more slowly than the rest of the flock if you feed them in isolation.

Your lethargic chickens will regain their pep after eating a large meal, provided they are allowed to digest it at their own pace.

Assist your lethargic chickens to eat and drink water

Chickens with lethargic energy levels won’t be able to sustain themselves with the same diet and water intake as their more active counterparts. So feeble is their condition that they lose the ability to even stand up.

Feeding your lethargic chickens in isolation from the other chickens is no guarantee that they will eat well. Therefore, you should help your lethargic chickens consume food and water.

Feeding lethargic chickens a watery form of feed that is easier for the chicks to ingest is one example. The vitamin-rich broth should provide the chickens with the energy they need to get back to their normal routines.

If you want to make sure your lethargic chickens are getting enough water, you’ll need to do it by dripping water down their necks rather than relying on water bowls.

Talk to a Veterinarian

The fact that you’ve figured out why your chickens are sleepy is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get them back to their regular routine.

After all, it’s possible that circumstances outside of your control, such as diseases, are what’s causing your chickens’ lack of energy.

The best course of action may be to consult an avian vet, who can do necessary diagnostics on your birds and provide appropriate drugs to get the listless birds back to their normal, energetic selves.


Chicken owners frequently face the challenge of a lethargic flock. If you don’t take care of whatever is causing your birds’ lethargy, they could die.

Every chicken keeper needs to keep a close eye on his or her hens to detect any signs of lethargy. Quick action is needed to save your birds from lethargy before the condition kills out the entire flock.


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