1-Week-Old RIR/JG Cross-Breed Has No Balance & Can't Walk

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ThreesACharm, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. ThreesACharm

    ThreesACharm Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    South Jersey
    We hatched 6 cross-breed (Rhode Island Red to Jersey Giant) chicks that we hatched in an incubator. One, "Cruz," was born with what seemed like a displaced hip -- we had a Wyandotte chick in a previous hatch with the same problem, and in the end, she didn't make it, so I was very concerned and started feeding vitamins from the start. However, as each day went by, Cruz became physically worse -- within 2 days, he was completely unable to walk and was resting/scooching around on his hocks, and only when he wanted food or water. By day 4, he had completely lost the ability to move, and since then, he spends all of his time on his side, his legs kicking and flailing, unable to do anything except push himself in circles in the brooder. We tried the band-aid method (thinking maybe it was splayed legs), splinting one and then both legs, and using boots to help keep him steady. The problem is, he has no center of balance at all, so even with splints, he just falls over. I tried to take a video to give you an idea of what the problem is (keep in mind, this was taken on Day 4; he's gotten worse over the last 3 days and can't even balance on his hocks anymore):

    This is from about an hour ago; he can't balance on his hocks anymore, so this is pretty much all he can do:

    The weird thing is, he isn't listless -- he is completely full of live and minus his inability to walk or even stand, he seems to be thriving. He gets incredibly frustrated when he can't get up and cries very loudly, but never gives up trying. He also does his "happy chirping" whenever I'm hand-feeding him or holding him so he can "practice" walking. He eats like a pig normal baby chick, drinks with no problems, and nuzzles and plays his siblings when they're near him. This is why I original thought he wasn't sick, but disabled or deformed. Until late last night, none of the other chicks showed any signs or symptoms of what Cruz has. While sitting on the couch, we heard very sudden, loud, scared cries. I peeked in the brooder, and "Bruiser," another one of the chicks, was doing the same thing Cruz was -- on her side, unable to walk or stand up, and pushing herself in circles so fast she cleared all of the woodchips around her and was laying on the plastic floor of the brooder. She had absolutely NO symptoms less than an hour before when I refilled their water and gave them dinner! I picked her up, and she started seizing violently for about 20-30 seconds. I held her for 15-20 minutes, trying to calm her down, and she very quickly lost the ability to move and eventually talk. I sang to her for a little bit until she closed her eyes, jerked a little bit, and passed :(

    I started thinking it's coccidiocis, but my husband is adament that because they've never been outside and Cruz has was clearly born with this issue, it's impossible. However, these eggs are the product of our personal flock, who ARE almost always outside and who I think could have passed it on to their babies (or am I wrong?)

    Also not helping is that when my husband went to buy the feed for the new babies, he accidentally purchased non-medicated feed. Neither of this realized it until last night when he claimed the feed would prevent coccidiosis, and went to get the bag to show me. Sure enough, it's non-medicated. He went out first thing this morning to buy some, and the chicks are being fed that exclusively now (including Cruz, who I hand-fed with it as soon as he brought it home) but I'm pretty sure if it is coccidiosis, medicated feed won't cure it; only prevent it.

    Unfortunately, our old vet closed his practice in February, and the only other vet who sees fowl doesn't have an appointment until next Friday afternoon, so I'm kinda stuck. Is it possible this coccidiosis? A congenital defect and a fluke that Bruiser died? Something else entirely? Is this something we can fix/cure/treat? My sister-in-law jokingly suggested polio, but that's seriously what his symptoms mimic (can chickens even develop polio?). I've checked his legs and feet a thousand times -- no pain, no slipped tendons, no popped sockets. IDK what else this could be.

    We do have vitamins, which I was feeding to just Cruz when we thought he simply had splayed or weak legs, hoping it would strengthen him up. Should I keep giving this to him? He's also been isolated since Day 2, but I do give him supervised time in the brooder with everyone else and he joins everyone for floor play 1-2 times a day. The other chicks aren't picking on him, which is good, but I'm afraid he might be contagious after what happened to Bruiser. Is there anything else I can give him? Anything at ALL I can do?

    Thanks in advance.. and sorry turned out to be so long!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by