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Hen has no balance to stand or walk but seems bright and alert

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a 2 1/2 year old golden buff that suddenly can't seem to stand or walk. It appears to be an equilibrium issue. She uses her wings to keep herself sitting upright. I took her to the vet, but they don't have any answers. She's been in sick bay for 5 days now with no improvement but is still eating and drinking when I hold it up for her. Today I found an odd gob of tissue in her cage that is kind of gizzard shaped? I'm guessing she coughed it up, but it's rather big! It was clean, so I'm guessing she didn't pass it the other way! Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong with her? She can't go on indefinitely not being able to stand up!sad.png
post #2 of 6

She may have laid a lash egg. There are many threads about lash eggs with pictures if you do a search at the top of the page. Have you added any new birds to your flock recently? Was she vaccinated for Mareks disease? Sometimes there can be a temporary paralysis from laying an egg. Has she been laying recently? She may be an internal layer, especially if that was a lash egg, and that can lead to egg yolk peritonitis. I would make sure that she is eating and drinking, maybe add some vitamins to her water, and give her a little bit of chopped egg to eat.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks! They are all my original flock and were vaccinated. I will look up the lash egg. Thank you for the information. The vet was not much help, but did give her an injection of vitamins and I've been making sure she eats and drinks every day. She can stand but can't take a step without face planting. It's been 5 days with no change.
post #4 of 6

Most vets don't treat chickens unless they have a special interest in them. Here are a few articles to read about egg yolk peritonitis and internal laying:


The following are from the Merck Manual about various illnesses of the reproductive tract:


Salpingitis is an inflammation of the oviduct, which may contain liquid or caseous exudate. In young pullets, it is often due to Mycoplasma gallisepticumEscherichia coliSalmonella spp, or Pasteurella multocida (fowl cholera) infection and can result in reduced egg production. It is a frequent lesion in female broilers and ducks at processing. On gross examination, salpingitis may be difficult to differentiate from impacted oviduct in adults. As the oviduct becomes nonfunctional, the ovaries are usually atrophied. Unless associated with an infectious problem, this condition tends to be found sporadically during necropsy of cull hens.

Egg peritonitis is characterized by fibrin or albumen-like material with a cooked appearance among the abdominal viscera. It is a common cause of sporadic death in layers or breeder hens, but in some flocks may become the major cause of death before or after reaching peak production and give the appearance of a contagious disease. It is diagnosed at necropsy. Peritonitis follows reverse movement of albumen and Escherichia coli bacteria from the oviduct into the abdomen. If the incidence is high, culture should be done to differentiate between Pasteurella (fowl cholera) or Salmonella infection. Antibiotic treatment of peritonitis caused by E coli infections is usually ineffective. Management of body weight and uniformity, reproductive development (ovary follicle growth and maturation), and drinking water sanitation are the best preventive strategies.

  Internal laying

In these hens, partially or fully formed eggs are found in the abdominal cavity. Such eggs reach the cavity by reverse peristalsis of the oviduct. If they have no shell, they are often misshapen because of partial or complete absorption of the contents. Frequently, only empty shell membranes are present. No control or treatment is known. This condition is related to erratic ovulation and defective egg syndrome 

Image result for lash egg        Image result for lash egg

                                           Lash Eggs from salpingitis

Edited by Eggcessive - 3/16/16 at 6:53am
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the information! It does appear that it was a lash egg. I'm guessing that because of her current state the infection is beyond recovery, but I have called the vet for antibiotic and will hope for the best. At least I know what I'm dealing with, now and can be proactive for the rest of my flock. Thanks again for the support!
post #6 of 6

You're welcome. I'm all for vet help if you can do that.  Baytril or enrofloxacin are best for EYP, but they are against FDA regs for chickens, although your vet may have a good option. Some vets will quietly prescribe if the chicken won't be used for food, and you can order it online here:

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