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Help! Something happened to my hen's leg

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have a hen, Joyce, who was attacked by a rooster 2 days ago. Now, she can't stand and her left leg sticks out. She still eats and drinks and is alert. I've read she could have dislocated her leg or hip but I'm new to this and have no idea what to look for. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I
post #2 of 5

Welcome to the BYC Forum. I would look her leg over for bruising, swelling, etc. It could be a slipped tendon, a sprain, or a broken bone. Does she move her toes or leg if you touch it? Are you positive that the attack caused her lameness, and it couldn't be from a disease such as Mareks or a vitamin deficiency? I would place her in a box or cage with food, water, and put some poultry vitamins with minerals into her food. Rooster Booster brand is easy to find, Poultry Nutri-drench is also good. Make sure that she is close to reach the food/water. A chicken sling could also be used to get her off the ground as long as she can reach food/water. Force her to rest the leg for a least a week, preferably two. Below are homemade chicken slings:

 

chickensling-500x276.jpg

 

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/59765_pp.jpg  LL     LL   http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/58484_ruby2.jpg

post #3 of 5

Here is how to try to fix a slipped tendon:

 

Source: https://sites.google.com/a/poultrypedia.com/poultrypedia/poultry-podiatry

 

Fix Slipped Achilles Tendon in Hock Joint

Click here to read one little chick's success story of recovery from a Slipped Tendon & Perosis.
Click here to see a video of movement patterns of one chick with Perosis. Editor's note: The video says Perosis can't be treated after 24 hours, but I have not seen any other source say this, so I don't know that is true.
Note from Editor: I have had no personal experience with a Slipped Achilles Tendon being treated successfully, though a number of people have. Information below is from what I have read & tried to analyze myself, but may not be sufficiently informed. Please do additional research to ensure best treatments. [If you have a success story, photos, or treatment tips, it would be very helpful if you would Contact PoultryPedia so they can be shared to help others!]
  • Slipped Achilles Tendon is a condition that results when tendon that runs down through the groove on the back of a bird's hock has slipped out of place off to the side.
  • This problem causes a serious form of Splayed Leg that cannot be corrected until the Achilles Tendon is put back in place. It may also lead toTwisted Leg and other problems if not treated soon enough.
  • This problem frequently occurs in conjunction with Chondrodystrophy / Achondroplasia & Perosis, conditions in which nutritional deficiencies in parent bird's diet keep chick's bones from developing properly to hold tendon.
    • See "Ensure adequate nutrition to prevent Perosis" section to be sure that your chick feed has appropriate amounts of essential nutrients, and try supplementing in extra if your chick is showing a problem.
  • Symptoms:
    • The back of the hock will look flat (Compare to other legs to double-check).
    • The bird won't be able to fully straighten its leg by itself.
    • The bird will likely exhibit pain at least the first few days after injury. Birds may peep or cry repeatedly.
    • The joint will become swollen after a while.
    • Hold the joint between your thumb & finger and roll it back and forth. If the tendon has slipped, you will feel it snap back into place (and back out again, if the bone is not sufficiently developed). If you don't feel the tendon pop in, your bird may instead have a rotated femur, which requires surgery.
    • One leg may rotate out to the side or twist underneath the bird (showing Splayed Leg), depending on whether the tendon has slipped to the outside or inside of the leg.
    • If the tendons are slipped in both legs, the bird will stand & walk hunched down / squatting on its hocks ("elbows"), and may use its wings for balance.
  • Treat this problem as soon as possible, so the joint doesn't swell as much (making healing more difficult) and the tendon does not end up shortened or deformed.
    • If the tendon has been out of place more than a few days, it may be unbearably painful to the bird to try to fix it or may cause damage. You could try gradually stretching the leg the leg a number of times a few days to lengthen the tendon, & then try correcting the placement.
      • This is especially true of young chicks because their legs are growing so quickly. Various bones, tendons & muscles will have done a lot of growing in just a couple of days and may have become too short, long or twisted so they can't allow the Achilles tendon to be back in the correct location.
         
  • To reposition the tendon into the correct place: Gently pull the upper part of bird's leg a bit behind normal position and then carefully straighten the leg as though bird were stretching its leg back in a pretty normal stretching motion. Press gently against the side of the tendon if needed, and it should pop back into place pretty easily and cause little if any pain. Gently release the leg and it should return to a normal bent position.
    • Some sources recommend pushing the tendon back in place just by pressing with your finger. However, stretching the leg back is a much less painful method.
       
  • Sometimes a tendon has a hard time staying in place. It may have been out of place for too long or a chick's hock groove may not yet have developed enough to hold the tendon well (Be sure to provide very good nutrition to support optimal bone growth at this time. Do NOT give Calcium or other nutrients in excessiveamounts, however--that could cause other problems.).
    • You can repeat the repositioning of the tendon additional times. This may help the tendon gradually lengthen & shape correctly, while the bone is also growing enough to hold the tendon better.
    • You can put the tendon in place & then ***wrap the joint area with sports tape*** or other tape to help hold it there. Use a thin strip of tape wrapped several times around the joint. Change the tape after a few days to ensure it doesn't restrict circulation too much.
    • It will also help if you put the bird in a Chick / Chicken Sling or Chair and/or put its leg in a cast (such as one made from a bendable drinking straw) for a few days (~5) while re-alignment stabilizes.
      • (Note: There is some debate on whether it is better for feet to not touch the ground--as recommended below-- or to touch the ground a little.Please research further when making the choice.)
      • It is important for the legs not be able to reach the ground. The bird needs to be suspended with its legs just hanging freely or in not-too-tight casts shaped in normal bent angle. In this position, the chick won't try to use its legs as much. Its legs need relaxed rest in their normal position until the tendon(s) have stretched and adjusted back to the right place and shape.
  • Even after the tendon is back in place, the bird may continue to have some problems walking for a few days. If so, use a Hock Cushion(s) to protect its hock(s) from chafing & bruising during recovery. Limber the leg by gently stretching the leg several times a day, as you did when repositioning the tendon (Check to make sure the tendon stays in place.). If the chick struggles to figure out correct movements, Physical Therapy or short sessions in a Chick Cup (More info to be added.) may help.
  • You can try Surgery for a tendon that won't go into place or won't stay in place, along with other treatments. Click here to read one little chick's success story.
     
  • If there is swelling on hock:
  • If infection is part of what is causing joint to swell, you will find pus. In this case, recovery is almost always impossible, and would be EXTREMELY difficult. In almost all cases the bird should be put down to avoid additional suffering.
  • If swelling was just caused by displacement that has now been fixed, swelling will go down in 2-4 days.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! It was surely the result of a rooster attack. They were in a coop together and in addition to her leg, she was also bleeding on the top of her head, we have taken care of that. She does grasp my finger with her toes but slightly. We have her in the house in a brood box and I will make her a sling when I get home.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I will check this also!
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