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2 year old barred rock limping - update, necropsy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jrabbit, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. jrabbit

    jrabbit Out Of The Brooder

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    background: we have backyard chickens in Houston, and they spend most of their time in a large enclosed run with access to an above-ground roosting house with hay on the floor. They have perches, which they sleep on, and we clean the poop-boards once a week or more, if they are extra-messy. They are different ages, but all around 2 years old.

    We had 5 - in late summer, 2 pretty much stopped laying. In October, 1 of the regular-layers suddenly had a very messy prolapse and died. A couple weeks later, we gave one non-laying hen to a friend because that hen was getting picked on incessantly. The hen who had died was her pal, and we felt like she was just going to be miserable. (update: that hen has blossomed in her new home, has regrown her feathers. She's still not laying, but she had a tendency to get broody anyway and would stop laying for weeks at a time.)

    So, fast forward to December. All was well. We were getting 1-2 eggs a day. The remaining non-laying hen would occasionally lay a soft egg. I think in all those months, we maybe got 1-2 eggs from her that were intact. Suddenly, on Dec 26, our best layer died. We were not in town, and the chicken-sitters were not really familiar enough with chickens to tell us of any behavior changes, except that on Dec 25, they only got 1 egg, and they aren't sure "whose" egg it was. The day before, she apparently was hanging out on her perch during the day, which is unusual for her. And they found her dead, just laying in the hay, like she had gotten comfy, then put her head down and died. It was cold that night, but not freezing.

    This morning: It's now been about a week. Our remaining layer has maybe given us 5 eggs - normal. But NOW, the non-layer is limping. We let them out of thee coop, and watched her. She is clearly having trouble walking - doesn't appear to be just one leg, but more of a balance issue. When she got out of the coop, she really had to pause and put a lot of energy into jumping UP onto the board that is at the door. Then she sat on that board for a few seconds, recovering, it seemed, before hopping off and looking for food. She was walking SLOWLY around, pecking at the dirt for bugs and eating leaves. ( the other hen is doing the same, but walking like normal) She is making a few clucking sounds, pretty much like normal. She has yellowy wet feathers under her tush. She hasn't laid eggs in weeks. The poop in the hutch looks normal. (Husband cleaned it yesterday.) Nothing has changed in their diet - same food as always.

    What do we look for? or do? I really don't want to lose ANOTHER hen!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  2. Jane Jill Jack

    Jane Jill Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    What age are your chickens, especially the limping one?
     
  4. jrabbit

    jrabbit Out Of The Brooder

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    they are all about 2 years old, from different sources, and we don't know exactly, but I'd say 2 years - give or take a few months.
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    You can research chicken diseases at google custom search on this page, maybe type in hen limping and see what you come up with. Also there is something called Lymphoid Leukosis which seems to attack older birds, it would really be hard to say unless someone could actually see your hen.. but maybe this will give you a start.
     
  6. jrabbit

    jrabbit Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks for the ideas. I've decided that I'm going to bathe her first and look for mites. Since her vent-area is so messy, I'm a little concerned and think that the bath is probably the best first step. eek. I've bathed cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats ... this is a whole NEW experience! I'm preparing my kitchen sink for the bath!

    --janis
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Actually they enjoy a warm bath, just be sure to blow dry on low heat after. Also you can trim her feathers around her vent to keep off the goop that tends to stick, thats what I do. Let us know how it goes.


    Trish
     
  8. jrabbit

    jrabbit Out Of The Brooder

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    She did really well in the bath. I sat with her in my lap while blow drying for about 20 minutes. She was very content. In the bath, she drank the water [​IMG] I was able to get most of the dried poop off her feathers, and her skin doesn't look inflamed at all. I don't see any evidence of mites, but we treated their coop with Poultry Protector Spray. When it's dry, we will dust it with Sevin and add new hay. We are considering spraying both hens with the Poultry Protector, but I just don't want to stress this one (Beatrix) out.

    Now, she's on towels in a laundry hamper (with another one on top) - I tried our cat carrier, but she was really unhappy in the small space. I gave her water, she drank. I gave her some flax seeds (they love them) and some granola - she ate a little. Now, she's just sitting quietly in my kitchen.

    She seems alert and content. I just can't figure out what's making her act so strange (the limping).
    --janis
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Glad to hear she had her bath and enjoyed it. Now you might want to trim her feathers just a bit around the area where your seeing the messy feathers. Also the flax see could cause some diarrhea because it is used as a laxative. As for the limping I haven't a clue, what is she eating? does she get oyster shell for extra calcium? you might want to find some baby vits. w/o iron or poultry drench and put some into her water. Also try giving her yogurt, scrambled eggs, mealworms to help her with a boost. Have they been wormed? I use poultry protector also, but if you had a big out break of lice or mites you would have to break out the big guns, as I had to do back in the early fall. Poultry protector is great for use after you get rid of the bugs. I wish there was more I could tell you but I just have not had to deal with a limping hen. Also how is her appetite?
     
  10. jrabbit

    jrabbit Out Of The Brooder

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    Her appetite seemed pretty normal today. She was out scratching the dirt like the other hen. We had been feeding them an organic feed, but before christmas, the feed store was out of it, so we go the regular MG layer feed. Any chance the feed is to blame?

    She is still inside. I am afraid to put her outside. She seems so weak on her legs. I think that it is highly unlikely it was mites. We didn't spray the hens with the poultry protection spray, and now it's dark. If it is sunny tomorrow, maybe i will, just to cover all bases. I did trim the feathers around the vent. Goodness that is a messy task! Little feather pieces flying everywhere!

    Thanks
    Janis
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011

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