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Injured chick gasping

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My little RIR chick (feathered, about 2 or 3 months old I guess) has one injured leg. She lays with it straight behind her. I cant feel a break or any warmth over a particular area. There is no visible injury at all. She's been in a birdcage since I noticed. She is not moving much, but is doing a gasp type thing and resting with her eyes closed. When she gasps, she stretches out her neck. None of my other 20 chickens are having any problems. Is the gasping from the stress of the injury? Or does this sound like an illness? I'm terrified of gapeworm! She eats fruit/ veggies, but doesn't seem interested in chicken feed, and I havent seen her drink, so I gave her some water in a dropper.
Edited by Neverdone - 9/24/15 at 8:17am
post #2 of 8

Welcome to BYC. Leg sprains can be very common, but Mareks disease can cause lameness and decreased immunity to common diseases. Was she vaccinated for Mareks? Gapeworm is very rare, but respiratory diseases from bacteria, viruses, and mold can cause gasping. ILT is one that can cause the neck stretching, but all of them do that to some extent. Look over this link about common diseases: 

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq


Edited by Eggcessive - 9/24/15 at 9:38am
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the info. I called the store, and their chicks ARE vaccinated for Mareks. The leg injury came first, then the gasping. I thought maybe the pain would make her do that.....
post #4 of 8


It is possible that she would be gasping from the pain, but usually that is from severe acute pain.  Birds are really tough when it comes to pain tolerance.


Edited by circesfire - 9/24/15 at 11:34am
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I looked at the diseases and their symptoms, but none match up. She's not GASPING gasping, just stretching her neck a little and opening her mouth. She's eating, went crazy over some grapes and cheese, and drank drops of water out of my hand. There's nothing I can hear when she's breathing,no rattling or anything, her eyes & nostrils are clear, no discharge.
She CAN move her hurt leg, but she's keeping her toes curled up. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I thought I would be able to feel if something was broken/ not in the right place....I've had chickens for a few years and this is my very first injury/illness/concern. I've been very fortunate so far to have super sturdy, unstoppable birds.
Anyway, if something were dislocated, would there be heat/redness or some sign? I wish I knew some chicken people around here, but there's only one and he is the waitandseeandthenputitdown type.
post #6 of 8

Start her on some poultry vitamins that include riboflavin (vitamin B2) since that can caused curled toe paralysis. That also can be a sign of Mareks.  It's rare that farm stores get vaccinated chicks because of the extra cost, but yours may well have been. Make sure that she can lie down and reach her food and water. Confining to a crate or basket to force her to rest her leg would help.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I took her to the vet this morning. The vet said she had badly twisted her leg, that her patella slides around some. Eek. As a result of being sedentary, she developed a respiratory infection in her left lung (but this was not something contagious), which is the same side as her injury.
Little Helen is on an antibiotic, and of course has her own bird cage to be kept separate, and will be inside at night.
I have all the chickens on some probiotic stuff added to their water, and now extra vitamins for everyone.
Thank you for your help!
post #8 of 8

It's good that you were able to take her to a vet. Chickens can have leg bone deformities that can worsen as they grow, and some of them cause rupture of the hock tendon. Here is some reading about those, and hopefully she doesn't have that problem:

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/6401121_Valgus-varus_deformity_of_the_intertarsal_joint_in_broiler_chickens

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/1051/leg-health-in-large-broilers/

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