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Leg paralysis in hen-sudden onset

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

One of our 13-mo. old white rock hens suddenly started exhibiting paralysis in her legs yesterday.  She can walk a bit, in fact, a little bit better than yesterday, but mostly is squatted down and unable to get up on a perch.  She otherwise is alert, eating, and drinking.  Her wings don't seem affected, nor does she have a twisted neck.  On top of that, she's in a molt and more aggressive hens have been mounting her in this squatty state and her skin's been raked on her back, elbows, and vent area and she's bleeding a bit.  Eek - what a mess.

We're trying to keep her separated from the others.  A friend with long chicken experience says it sounds like 'chicken palsy,' a disease we can't find references to anywhere.  Any clues or advice for us?  Our hens are otherwise quite healthy, spend half the day free-ranging our 2+ acres supplemented with scratch & oyster shell.  We did, however, take in a lost pullet some kids had found last week.  Hope it's not contagious.

Thanks, Tami

post #2 of 30

I would stop the scratch and keep her separated and her movement capacity limited...it might simply be a sprain or strain which rest can help.

post #3 of 30

I'm having the same problem with a Leghorn right now.  Two nights ago I noticed she was having problems walking around on the roost, almost falling off whenever she tried to move.  Last night my wife noticed that she was having trouble walking, like her legs were really weak.  She was pretty weak overall, I think due to dehydration, she just wasn't making it to the waterer yesterday.  We put her in a cage last night with food and water and fed her her some scrambled egg.  This morning she was more alert and generally not so weak, but her legs are paralyzed and she can only move around the cage by walking on her wings.

post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 

We kept her isolated yesterday from the flock.  She started walking around on her own, very unsteadily.  Ate only a little bit.  When I picked her up to put into the coop, my cradling her legs seemed to hurt her.  This morning she staggered out of the coop in search of food . . . we'll keep an eye on her progress.

Tami

post #5 of 30

Just to be clear, are you saying that the only food you provide is scratch?

post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 

Yes, although they ALSO have free choice oyster shell and free range of 2.25 acres of woodland and grass/alfalfa pasture.  Why do you ask?

BTW, the hen is doing much better.  She is out and about with her sisters and just limping on one leg now, as if it were asleep.

post #7 of 30

Your hens need layers food.

This could be the onset of a nutrition deficiency that has only showed visible signs in 1 of your hens.
If I were you, I'd start feeding layers food and offer the scratch only as a treat.

"It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission" 
     Tammy
Reply
"It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission" 
     Tammy
Reply
post #8 of 30

I'm glad she's doing better.  The reason I asked, is because scratch isn't a complete diet and I wondered if she might be short on protein or some of the vitamins or minerals that are added to a complete layer ration.

post #9 of 30

Our leghorn is doing better too.  She laid in the cage for three days not using her legs at all.  Yesterday I noticed that she was sitting up a little and walking around on her "elbows" instead of her wings.  This morning she was standing up in the cage so I let her out in the yard for a little bit.  She was able to walk around, but was a little wobbly at first.

I think it was a mineral deficiency.  Although we have layer pellets available, this one rarely eats the layer pellets, preferring scratch, grass, and rooting around in the compost pile.  I fed her scrambled eggs and layer pellets ground up with a splash of milk and she seems to be doing much better.

post #10 of 30

Botulism and Mareks both cause paralysis in chickens as can a few other things.  Mareks is extremely common and many birds survive it.

Here is a good link for looking up symptoms.

http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/diagext.htm



Chel

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