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Silkie with injured legs

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Have been a frequent visitor here over the past year but this one has got me stumped.

My problem child is my 9 month old silkie hen minx. A few weeks ago she ran madly across the yard to greet me and must have sprained her right leg when she jumped down the two steps in my backyard. She has regularly done this for months however the difference was she had been on a high protein diet for the past month with lots of egg so she put a bit of weight on. Any way long story short she limped around for two weeks on asprin doses and was just starting to mend when she jumped off a perch and has done something her left leg now. I watched her do it and she ended up with her legs in different directions.

On visual inspection I can't feel or see any variance to her originally injured leg.

I've had her confined to a box to limit her movements. She is eating and drinking happily on her own. Her right foot can move on its own and she will grasp my fingers with it if I pick her up and offer my finger to the foot. She is not strong enough to stand on it though.

Since the second injury, the left leg is extended forward mostly however you can gently bend it and put it underneath her, she won't grip your finger and doesn't look like the ankle bends freely but she can move the leg as a whole

I've had her on wood shavings the past two weeks but the past few days she has been in pain as when she poops, she then uses her wings to help get away from the excrement. Understandably so.

Aside from her legs, she is in good health. Her eyes are bright and she is very alert. She was laying eggs still when she had one bung leg but not now.

I've been feeding her anti inflammatories the past couple of days to settle her down. She will calmly sit on your lap for hours but I've had switch her box bedding over to a towel as she wasn't liking the wood chips.

There doesn't seem to be any breaks or fractures, if anything it feels like her hips are not supporting her on her left side and it almost looks like she has spraddle legs. It doesn't feel like she has a slipped tendon. The only other physical marks I could find is 1/2 an inch below her hock joint on both legs are a blackish mark on either leg but I thing that's been caused by her limping around.

Unfortunately to get an X-ray here it's around $300 plus $150 for a vet to look at her and to be honest my past visits they haven't been overly helpful and just seem to use mareks disease as the go to explaination for everything. My flock is closed, vaccinated and very healthy otherwise. I can take her outside and sit her on the grass and she will happily sit there and eat it. All this leads me to believe it's just muscular / an injury not mareks.

If any one could possibly shed some light on how I could treat this it would be appreciated, I have thought about making a sling for her to sit in, I have tried wrapping her legs with cohesive bandage but it didn't make much difference.

My other thought was to sit her in some Luke warm water with Epsom salts.

I'm open to anything atm.

Kind regards,
post #2 of 6

Welcome to BYC. The $300 price for an Xray sounds pretty outrageous. $100 seems to be more like it should be. While injuries should be ruled out, I would be concerned about Mareks disease or a leg bone deformity (Varus-Valgus deformity or Tibial Dyschondroplasia) that has worsened with age. Sometimes the hock tendon can rupture. It sounds like she was vaccinated for Mareks, though. The left leg sounds like there is some nerve damage possible. Unfortunately, most vets know very little about chickens, especially bone deformities, so we have to try to find info online. I would treat her with vitamins and trace minerals in her water or food. Poultry Nutri-drench or Poultry Cell has those, and the dosage is 1 ml daily for a 1 pound bird. 

Here is some info on leg bone deformities, a podiatry page, and some Mareks info:

Edited by Eggcessive - 1/18/16 at 6:48am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks eggcessive for the speedy response, yes our vet fees are nuts especially when you have had better success treating problems from simply reading forums online. I've poured over all the sites that you listed (greatly appreciated and thank you) some of them I had read before, others not, and decided to give minx a bath tonight. 1 because I know is been bothering her being covered with filth and two to have a closer look at her legs as silkies are so fluffy.

I sat her in the water and she was able to move both legs which is good because it means the left one with the second injury has not paralysed her. I think she relaxed a bit as well. Treated her also with some lice was as I've noticed them preying on the weak.

Her left leg is quite swollen around the joint and slightly pointing outwards.

I've put her in a sling in a box with food and water in front of her. She was a bit non responsive at first but she has settled and is eating and drinking on her own.

So this is where I am at. I will give her some anti inflammatories before bed and see if this will settle her. Last night she was flapping about every hour so I say we've both had the same amount of sleep the past two nights.

Going to pump the vitamin b's into her as well.

If she lives through this ordeal she will be known as super chook having survived a prolapsed egg when she first laid, bumblefoot and being a brilliant layer for a silkie.
post #4 of 6

"Her left leg is quite swollen around the joint and slightly pointing outwards."


That sounds like she has sprained her hock tendon or possibly has a slipped tendon. This tendon can also rupture with some of the leg bone deformities above. Make sure that her other joints are not swollen because that could be an infectious arthritis.

Here i are a couple of threads about a particular chick with a slipped tendon and how she has progressed. :

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info again.

Well two days in the sling have definitely improved her stress levels. I notice too that she can move both legs a little, the right will grasp my finger, the left won't however but that's the really sore leg. If you watch it however you can see the occasional movement through her toes.

I've picked her up to check on her legs, no change, I placed her on the grass outside to see if she would attempt to stand but she doesn't.

The tendon feels like it's in the correct place after comparing it to another hen.

Is it worth giving her some movement in her hips with my hands so that she gets some circulation or should I be leaving her?

She has been accompanying me to work each day and she complains far less than my customers!
post #6 of 6

I would take her out of the sling for some physical therapy to move her joints and hips. That would help her circulation as well. Hopefully she will get to where she can move around some on her own, so that you could place her with another friendly chicken to spend her time. Ciqala's thread about her handicapped chick is helpful to those dealing with these problems, to see that they can lead a fairly normal life with extra care.

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