18 week old hen, injured leg?

Bird-mom

In the Brooder
Jan 29, 2018
12
4
14
Hello everyone!
My hen is an ayam cemani and is about 18 weeks old. I got her when she was about two weeks. We named her Diggs since that was her favorite thing to do as a chick and was the first one to start digging. She's very sweet and cuddly, so I was worried when I noticed my sweet hen was staying in the nesting box instead of perching with her siblings(though her younger sister cuddled with her). She isn't acting sleepy or anything, but she wouldn't walk. We moved them into a new coop yesterday, which is when I discovered the problem. For some reason, one of her legs isn't working. I don't think she can control her toes on that foot. She's the only one who is like this. From what I can see, there doesn't seem to be any trauma, and when I felt the bones on each leg to compare, they seemed okay. Of course, bruising and such would be hard to see on her black feet. I think what may have happened was the work of a clumsy and inexperienced rooster. Her brother who is only a little older than her has recently begun trying to mate her and her sister who are still too young to lay eggs. I'm wondering if the rooster may have injured a tendon or something? She's a lot smaller than him, so maybe while trying to get away, she pulled something? I ended up staying with her to keep her brother off since she couldn't stand to escape him. She seems to try to use the leg but ends up falling. Often she tries using her wings to balance or support herself. She has been eating and drinking well, but her poop is green. As of now, we have her resting inside so her siblings don't further injure her. I cuddle her and keep her company so she doesn't get lonely. We can't afford a vet, so does anyone know of a way I can diagnose her and treat her here at home?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,103
15,027
762
California's Redwood Coast
Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

Sorry one of your gals is having issues. :(

With no sign of injury or other symptoms... biggest suspect is Marek's... :barnie
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/

Are you able to post a pic or video? Is the green poo runny or normal?

Please know that many of us do face Marek's and according to my state poultry vet at UC Davis it is in EVERY chicken environment. All industry birds are vaccinated so it isn't even part of the NPIP certification. Do you know if your birds were vaccinated for Marek's?

My experience says it probably was't an injury caused by you cockerel. He won't be a rooster, technically speaking until he matures past one year old. Maturity makes a huge difference in behavior, is the only reason why I mention the different distinction... though my family uses the generic term rooster when we are having casual conversation.

Other possible causes of lameness are vitamin deficit... which unless you have extreme worm load or bullying I really don't suspect. But supplementing wouldn't hurt if you have poultry nutri drench, other bird vitamins, or Poly Vi Sol with NO iron baby vitamins will also work.
 

Bird-mom

In the Brooder
Jan 29, 2018
12
4
14
I may be able to post pictures later. It's hard to tell if the poop is normal or runny due to the sawdust clumping together.

They were not vaccinated, and upon reading I'm hoping it's only a vitamin deficiency. I'll see if I can get vitamins for her.

She wasn't bullied at all, only a peck here or there when the cockerel was rowdy.
 

Bird-mom

In the Brooder
Jan 29, 2018
12
4
14
I may be able to post pictures later. It's hard to tell if the poop is normal or runny due to the sawdust clumping together.

They were not vaccinated, and upon reading I'm hoping it's only a vitamin deficiency. I'll see if I can get vitamins for her.

She wasn't bullied at all, only a peck here or there when the cockerel was rowdy.
I read more about vitamin B deficiency, and I think that's what's going on!!
 

Bird-mom

In the Brooder
Jan 29, 2018
12
4
14
Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

Sorry one of your gals is having issues. :(

With no sign of injury or other symptoms... biggest suspect is Marek's... :barnie
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/

Are you able to post a pic or video? Is the green poo runny or normal?

Please know that many of us do face Marek's and according to my state poultry vet at UC Davis it is in EVERY chicken environment. All industry birds are vaccinated so it isn't even part of the NPIP certification. Do you know if your birds were vaccinated for Marek's?

My experience says it probably was't an injury caused by you cockerel. He won't be a rooster, technically speaking until he matures past one year old. Maturity makes a huge difference in behavior, is the only reason why I mention the different distinction... though my family uses the generic term rooster when we are having casual conversation.

Other possible causes of lameness are vitamin deficit... which unless you have extreme worm load or bullying I really don't suspect. But supplementing wouldn't hurt if you have poultry nutri drench, other bird vitamins, or Poly Vi Sol with NO iron baby vitamins will also work.
Thank you for your help! I'll keep you posted on her progress once we get the vitamins.
 
Last edited:

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,103
15,027
762
California's Redwood Coast
I read more about vitamin B deficiency, and I think that's what's going on!!
More likely E and selenium in my experience. One other consideration for a possible deficit would be what do you feed including treats and supplements regularly? If you use a formulated ration and don't diminish protein level too far with treats then you are probably good. But getting an overall picture can also help any future posters with their suggestions.

I hope you are right...but many of us hope the Marek's we see is just a vitamin deficit. And is usually our first attempt at denial that Marek's "could happen to us". :oops: :he

Give your all though! You've got nothing to lose by trying. :fl

Just to share... I had a juvenile present the same way. Bright eyed, good appetite.. non working leg and NO other symptoms. Saved it for 3 weeks and had to cull because I can't care for a disabled bird long term and my flock was more than happy to take advantage a weakened bird to elevate their place in the pecking order. Also though pecking is another natural way to make disease or weakness leave the flock. :(

You might look up a chicken sling... help get the weight off the legs and give a chance to practice putting some weight on them...
upload_2018-1-29_9-35-18.jpeg

Also will share a tool. You put in symptoms you see and it it tells you ALL the possibilities... which you then have to narrow down. It isn't perfect with so many options but I think it's a great place to start and be clued in...
http://www.poultrydvm.com/symptoms

Hate to suggest it... but if she doesn't make it, I highly recommend getting a necropsy to find the cause. It is often free or cheap as a means of protecting our food supply chain and can be helpful in knowing if there is something going on in our flock... ($40 here in Ca)... links to get that done if needed...
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/how-to-send-a-bird-for-a-necropsy-pictures.799747/

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
26,498
34,189
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
18 weeks old
staying in the nesting box instead of perching
moved them into a new coop yesterday, which is when I discovered the problem
one of her legs isn't working.
don't think she can control her toes on that foot
was the work of a clumsy and inexperienced rooster.
She's a lot smaller than him
I ended up staying with her to keep her brother off since she couldn't stand to escape him. She seems to try to use the leg but ends up falling. Often she tries using her wings to balance or support herself.
eating and drinking well, but her poop is green.
I read more about vitamin B deficiency, and I think that's what's going on!!
What type of food/treats do you feed?
Do you have photos of how she is laying down or a video of her actions? (videos need to be uploaded to youtube, vimeo or similar, then provide us a link)

You mention that she had been staying in the nesting box instead of roosting? How long had that been going on? Was she coming out during the day to eat or was she mainly "hiding out"?

It's possible that she may have injured her leg while getting away from the cockerel. Are there only 2 pullets?

With her age and symptoms, it will be very hard to know if it's injury or Marek's. The green poop is concerning and is a symptom of Marek's along with the lack of leg use. Other things can cause green poop too - poor nutrition/not eating, infection and sometimes worms or coccidiosis (can you take a poop sample to your vet for testing?).
Sometimes birds that have Marek's (paralysis) can recover, so depending on what your goals are, give her some time to see if she will get better. If you do happen to lose her, then sending her in for testing would give you confirmation.

It won't hurt to try vitamin therapy. You are correct about the B vitamins. B2(Riboflavin) is for leg health, but all the B's are important. You can use human B-Complex vitamins (no iron). I'm not sure how large she is, so start with 1/2tablet crushed in her feed daily. She may also benefit from an 18-20%balanced poultry feed like chick starter or flock raiser as well.

Keeping her protected from the cockerel is a good idea. You don't mention your location, but if your weather is mild and you have room to cage her in the coop so she can still see the others that would be good. If she does have Marek's, the others are already exposed.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,103
15,027
762
California's Redwood Coast
I was also thinking... because I like to be positive and don't want to become a fear monger...

I don't know if it could be a reality or not. But I remember another thread where a poster suggested that an egg trying to pass could be pressing on a nerve causing the lameness.

And even though my personal experience says probably not a cockerel induced injury (per my first post)... it IS totally a possibility. Not only might it be hard to see bruises... but a sprain or ligament type injury might also be difficult. Though I THINK those would usually include some swelling.

Anyways.. I'm hopeful for your gal to make a full recovery! :fl
 

Bird-mom

In the Brooder
Jan 29, 2018
12
4
14
What type of food/treats do you feed?
Do you have photos of how she is laying down or a video of her actions? (videos need to be uploaded to youtube, vimeo or similar, then provide us a link)

You mention that she had been staying in the nesting box instead of roosting? How long had that been going on? Was she coming out during the day to eat or was she mainly "hiding out"?

It's possible that she may have injured her leg while getting away from the cockerel. Are there only 2 pullets?

With her age and symptoms, it will be very hard to know if it's injury or Marek's. The green poop is concerning and is a symptom of Marek's along with the lack of leg use. Other things can cause green poop too - poor nutrition/not eating, infection and sometimes worms or coccidiosis (can you take a poop sample to your vet for testing?).
Sometimes birds that have Marek's (paralysis) can recover, so depending on what your goals are, give her some time to see if she will get better. If you do happen to lose her, then sending her in for testing would give you confirmation.

It won't hurt to try vitamin therapy. You are correct about the B vitamins. B2(Riboflavin) is for leg health, but all the B's are important. You can use human B-Complex vitamins (no iron). I'm not sure how large she is, so start with 1/2tablet crushed in her feed daily. She may also benefit from an 18-20%balanced poultry feed like chick starter or flock raiser as well.

Keeping her protected from the cockerel is a good idea. You don't mention your location, but if your weather is mild and you have room to cage her in the coop so she can still see the others that would be good. If she does have Marek's, the others are already exposed.
The green poop could be from poor nutrition, as she is on chick feed that only has proper nutrition for up to 16 weeks of age. We got her adult food today and are looking for vitamins.
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
26,498
34,189
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
The green poop could be from poor nutrition, as she is on chick feed that only has proper nutrition for up to 16 weeks of age. We got her adult food today and are looking for vitamins.
Chick starter is fine. It is a balanced poultry feed, usually it's a higher protein than layer feed with less calcium.

fwiw - I use a flock raiser feed for all my birds, it's 20% protein and can be given to all ages. The "ages" on the feed bags, imho, can be very misleading - they are a general guideline. If your girls are not laying yet, they can stay on chick starter or an all flock feed until they begin to lay (layer feed is for actively laying birds).

Let us know how she's doing.
 
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