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Please Help - Found Chicken Lying on its Side, Will not/Cannot Walk

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

Today I found one of my chickens (13 weeks old) lying on the ground and not able to get up.  She was awake but as the other chickens walked on top of her legs, she couldn't move her legs to get them off or even complain as they "trampled" on her.  I picked her up and gave her a warm bath and visually inspected her but found no signs of trauma.  She definitely favors her left side/leg because when I put her down on her left side to try to wash her right side, she immediately flipped over and flapped her wings in protest. 

She is eating but not really drinking.  I made a mash so that she could get some fluids.  She hasn't pooped since she has been quarantined so I haven't seen her poop to inspect for worms of if her poop is abnormal.  As I was rinsing her off, I thought I noticed a very runny poop but wasn't sure if it was just the "wash off" (she was literally lying down in some poop when I found her).

Here is a video of her in her quarantine space:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt0kLQVHlnc

Her "hurt leg" twitches sometimes as she tries to move it.  However, generally speaking, she doesn't move it.  Also, her toes are curled on that leg (similar to chicks that take too long to hatch and need booties).  However, she has always walked around without any problems and developed normally.

I also inspected the coop and couldn't find any evidence of predators getting in.

Any ideas?  Worms?  Lice?  Mites?  Is that the standard check first?  I just wasn't sure if they would cause her not to be able to walk.   Something else?  A disease?  I have no idea.  I have to do more research.  Thank you everyone.

post #2 of 36

Looks like Marek's disease.  Check the color of the iris of her eyes, if they are cloudy that is definitely what she has.  If you put her up on her feet does she try to steady herself with a wing?  That would indicate lower body paralysis which is also a sign of Marek's disease but could also be a symptom of other things such as Mycotoxin poisoning or late stages of Peritonitis (egg bound).  Sorry, but not too many chickens make it once they get to this point.

post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lensters 

Looks like Marek's disease.  Check the color of the iris of her eyes, if they are cloudy that is definitely what she has.  If you put her up on her feet does she try to steady herself with a wing?  That would indicate lower body paralysis which is also a sign of Marek's disease but could also be a symptom of other things such as Mycotoxin poisoning or late stages of Peritonitis (egg bound).  Sorry, but not too many chickens make it once they get to this point.


I think you are right.  It's probably Marek's.  Her age is right, just about 3 - 4 months old.  One leg is retracted and one leg is extended.  Once her feathers dry, I will check her skin and follicles to see if I can find any that are red and inflamed.  This is a great article that I found that breaks down the various types of the disease:

http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/Docs/mareks.pdf

She seems to exhibit the neural form.  Earlier, maybe I did see diarrhea.  It was so watery that I didn't think it possible that she just went.  But if it was, she's exhibiting many of the symptoms. 

I don't think it's Peritontitis since she's only 13 weeks old.  She's not close to laying yet.  Mycotoxin poisoning?  I'll have to look into that further.  Thank you so much for your response.

I don't think I have the heart to cull her (even if I could, I wouldn't know how).  I'm remaining hopeful.


Edited by mischievouschickens - 1/17/10 at 11:44pm
post #4 of 36

I don't have a video of my chick that did the same thing around 2-3 months old. I had one dead chick that seemed to be healthy the day before I found the lame one. I brought the lame chic inside. It ate and drank well like nothing else was wrong. In a couple of days it was standing but fell over when trying to walk. A few more days later it was walking around like nothing happened. It is now a 9 month old pullet. smile I would say as long as your chicken is eating and drinking don't give up hope. fl

Starting 2011 with 70 chickens big and small.
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Starting 2011 with 70 chickens big and small.
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post #5 of 36

That also sound like Marek's disease.  Depending on the breed a few to quite a few will survive it.  However, they will be a carrier for life shedding the virus in their feather dander.

However, the symptoms are so similar to Mycotoxin poisoning.  If that were the case, what didn't kill it made it stronger.  hu

post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 

What are some of the causes of Mycotoxin poisoning?  Most of the wood (plywood and OSB) I used for the coop was recycled and obtained free from Craigslist and Freecycle.  Some of it had mold from being left outside in the rain.  Every piece, except one, I primed with a sealer/stain killer before using in the coop.  The one piece that I did not have a chance to prime due to various reasons was the droppings board which is located, obviously, in close proximity to my flock.  They are still young and haven't started to roost properly yet but I noticed that a few of them "roost" on the droppings board at night.  I am not sure if one of those chicks may have been this particular one.

Could that cause Mycotoxin poisoning?  I don't think it's the feed because it stays relatively dry and we go through a 50 lbs bag in about a month.  Are there other things I should look at that could possibly cause this type of poisoning (assuming she doesn't have Marek's)?

Thank you!

post #7 of 36

They really need to eat the mold to get poisoned, so unless they are pecking at the board that probably isn't it.  With so much corn in the food it will start clumping when it absorbs moisture, so throw out any that is clumping even if you don't see mold on it yet.

I did lose a two week old chick to Mycotoxin poisoning who was very adept at catching flies.  He was down but still fiesty and he managed to catch and eat a fly that landed near him.  He was dead two hours later.  Since I have very few flies I looked for why one was near the brooder and found some spilled food behind the brooder which was moldy.  I would guess this would be a pretty rare way for them to get poisoned but watch their feeders and waters to make sure they stay clean because if you always keep the feeders full some of the feed in the bottom will mold and you'll never see it.  Chickens also like to backwash in their water so they spread stuff that way too.

post #8 of 36

i have no clue why she is so sick and i see you are trying your hardest to make her confy but try giving her a shorter bowl looked like she could not reach the food that well...

Crazy pullet The little sisterly one   
My name Is Chickengal505, but you can call me 505 . Thanks to Allmychicks , she did my avatar
Before you criticize someone. You should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away from them and you have their shoes
-Frieda Norris
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Crazy pullet The little sisterly one   
My name Is Chickengal505, but you can call me 505 . Thanks to Allmychicks , she did my avatar
Before you criticize someone. You should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away from them and you have their shoes
-Frieda Norris
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post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 

I should check their feed trough just in case.  Thank you for the suggestion. 

Regardless of whether the droppings board could be a cause or not, I think it's probably a good idea to replace it. 

I read that it's possible to give chickens the Marek's vaccination at any age although the ideal time is at 1 day old.  The lady I bought her from said they were vaccinated for Marek's but now I am concerned.  She gave the name of the hatchery where she originally came from.  I suppose there isn't anything that can be done anyway.

My primary concern is for her right now but I dread what may happen to the rest of my flock.

post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 

Chickengal,

Thank you for the suggestion.  I noticed that too.  Actually, I've been by her side and holding out the dish until she stops eating and then leave it in front of her "tipped over".  But I agree, a shallower dish would be good.

I've noticed that she won't drink at all even when I place a dish in front her.  I'm not sure if the mash is enough fluids for her.  I imagine it's not.  Anyone know of a way to get more fluids in her?

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