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Limping hen?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Dear BYC-ers,


I searched this web site and also consulted my Gail Damerow book (Chicken Health) but could reach no conclusions.  So, I am reaching out to the collective wisdom of the flocksters on this site.


I have an 18 month old hen who started limping a few weeks ago.  As background, she has 3 chicks ~6 weeks old.  Her health seems otherwise fine.   Her limp has gotten a bit better over the past week.  She will walk on the leg but you can tell she is favoring it.  I examined her foot and also her leg joints for a slipped tendon, etc.  The usual chicken leg problems.  There is no sign of swelling or trauma.  Her comb, eye, and foot colors are good.


Her diet is 18% all flock pellets, organic homegrown feed, oyster shell, crimped oats, lots of veggies from the farm, and all the grasshoppers and earwigs she can eat.


My instinct at this point is to monitor her daily to ensure she is making positive progress but I don't want to overlook anything diet or disease related.


Any thoughts?


Thanks in advance!



Edited by Independence - 8/23/15 at 8:28pm
post #2 of 7

Sprains are very common in chickens, especially larger hens or roosters. Look at the height of roosts and nest boxes to see if they need to be lowered. Also make sure that there are no dark spots or swelling of the foot pad s or top of the feet between toes (bumblefoot.) It would be good to confine her to a pen to force rest of her leg, but probably not a good idea with young chicks until she leaves them. I had a speckled sussex once who limped holding her leg up for over a month, but since she got around okay to eat, drink, and roost, I left her alone. She may have healed more quickly caged inside the coop or run.

Edited by Eggcessive - 8/23/15 at 5:27pm
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you Eggcessive.  There is no bumblefoot present.  I have only seen that in penguins and didn't know avians were succeptable.   I am at 8,000 feet so we don't see much of that around here.  Good to know that is a posibility though.


I suspect scratching and gleaning for her chicks is not helping the healing process any.  The roost bars are all above deep litter (12-14 inches deep) and the nest boxes only 10 inches above the deep litter.  Is there any swelling associated with sprains?





post #4 of 7

Since a sprain is an injury to a ligament, it can certainly swell.  With her having chicks though, I would probably let her just take care of them. Eventually, she will leave them, and then you can separate her in a crate for some rest.  Here is a good thread from a member that has some good advice:

Edited by Eggcessive - 8/23/15 at 9:27pm
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the link.  I will update this thread in a few weeks.


For those who may read this thread in a historic manner - this is hen is not a large breed. She is an average Java hen.  In my experience, broody hens seem to be more susceptable to injury and stress due to their very low caloric intake and many weeks of sitting a clutch.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

A very belated update - the hen in question has fully recovered with no known side effects.   I have also had a rooster exhibit the same symptoms and then clear up after a few weeks.



post #7 of 7

Good to hear that she has recovered, and thank you for updating your thread.

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