12 wk old chicken, weak legs/feet/wings LONG

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickon, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. chickon

    chickon Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Hi all,

    This is my first post--hello everyone! I am VERY NEW at chickens so I'll toss out all the information I have, and you chicken-wise people can scratch through it for what's important. [​IMG]

    We have a flock of 25: 4 adults (1 rooster) bought from a local breeder in July, and 20 hatchery chicks that came in September. The affected chicken is one of the hatchery batch, so she is about 11.5 weeks old. She is an Orpington. All the chickens live together in a chicken house with wood shavings for bedding and straw in the nest boxes. They eat commercial feed and cooking scraps and occasional cracked corn, and are free on about 1/4 acre during the day. It has recently gotten cold here; right now it is in the 20's. The chickens have 2 heat lamps in their coop though. The young ones like to congregate under them to sleep. The chicken house is insulated with that pink insulation (is it called glass wool?), and Thursday morning I noticed some chickens pulling some out and trying to keep it away from each other. Presumably they may have been eating it. I blocked off where they were picking at it, but I noticed a couple other small places where they could have started to pull it out too. For what it's worth, I asked my Toxicology professor about the oral toxicity of that insulation and he thought it would just be like the rest of the grit they eat...but I dunno...

    Thursday and Friday I noticed that this particular chicken was the last to leave the coop when I let them out in the morning, but she seemed to walk ok. Also I noticed she has 'bed head'--disarrayed feathers on her head/back of her neck, and so do some of the other younger chickens (molting?). Last night, I thought she seemed a little uncoordinated; I thought it was because I had just put her in from the cold. (The red heat lamp was not on yet when it got dark; she and one other chicken went under their house instead of inside it without their red beacon.)

    Tonight my partner, with a keener eye than mine for Incredibly Major Chicken Problems, brought this chicken inside. She (the chicken) is pecking with vigor at the food we set out for her, & drinking water, but is disturbingly uncoordinated and weak in her limbs. Her wings droop when I pick her up, and her legs just slide out to the sides when I set her down. Her right leg is more tucked up against her body, while her left is more flaccid. Her toes don't wrap around my hand/arms with any strength.

    Our plan is to keep her inside the house, warm and separate from other chickens, in a dog or cat crate.

    Is she suffering from something obvious to chicken wizards?? She is sitting next to me near the wood stove as I write this, and a bit of quick link-following from this site (thanks!) revealed that for botulism they should be kept cool not warm--could it be botulism, and should I keep her cooler? (there is a weird little pond they could access, mostly it has been frozen recently--i suppose it could have something gross like botulism)

    I appreciate ANY insight from you more experienced chicken folks. I feel like a horrible chicken mama--it was my job to care for the chickens this week while my partner was away, and I let them eat insulation, catch a nighttime chill under the chicken house, and/or get some horrible neurotoxic disease. D'oh!

    Thanks a lot for reading. [​IMG]

    ETA: PS-- she seems lighter in weight than the other chickens too.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
  2. Oh, when you first have a sick chick, the things you think they may have. Fact is, you may never know what they have.

    I would think the insulation is NOT a good thing. Have you ever been in an actic with this stuff and not worn a mask ?? Man, you hack for days becuase of the fibers it puts off. I have repeatedly said that one shoud never insulate a chicken coop. Not only becuase of the hazards of the insulation, but it does not let the coop breath.

    If you want to insulate, go buy some heavy moving blankets. They are harmless to your birds, have a good insulating factor and they do let your coop breath.

    You can buy them used from any moving place. Most are glad to rid themselves of them and get a few bucks. They may be in horrid condition, but your not using them on your furniture or bed.
  3. chickon

    chickon Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Thanks for your message! The chicken is doing about the same today. Should I be doing anything different? Has anyone had a chicken do this before??

    That is a good idea about the blankets. I will get in touch with some moving places. It brings up a question I have been wondering about, though: in cold weather, when I don't want my chicken house drafty, how IS it supposed to be ventilated? (Is that what is meant when I read about having the building breathe?) During more temperate weather we left the doors and windows open, and there is a gap under the eaves for ventilation too. Obviously now that it is cold the doors and windows are closed, and the under-eave gap is currently insulated, pending Spring weather.

    Thanks for the tips

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