We have eleven hens, and one of our older hens is having trouble walking/supporting herself. She is about 4 yrs old, and just 3 days ago she seems to be flopping around in the yard like a fish. Her legs appear to work fine, but she is unable to bear weight. Her breasts do appear swollen, with the breastbone appearing to look like it could break through the skin. The kids say that they haven't seen her get injured, but I am trying to research what could be wrong. We have separated her from the others, as they were starting to peck at her, tear up her comb. Any ideas??? I am willing to try anything, but there aren't any vets around here that will look at chickens!
Older chicken needing help!
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Is her crop full and distended? Is her breast swollen or balloon-like maybe like there is air under the skin? Can you feel her keel or breast bone protruding under the skin? Is she overweight? Does she still lay eggs? Sorry for all of the questions, but so many things can cause problems in chickens. Older hens can frequently suffer from internal laying. They sometimes have problems walking due to the pain. But I am just trying to figure out if she might have an impacted or sour crop, or if there could be an injury to an air sac in her chest or neck.
There is a condition called subcutaneous emphysema or a leaking air sac, that can cause air to be trapped under the skin. This can happen after a blunt injury to the neck or chest, but also can occur with infections. A pendulous crop could also look this way. For a leaking air sac, it is possible to remove air with a large bore needle (18 gauge) and squeeze out the air. Pictures may help if you can post one. Here is some reading where you can decide what to do: