2 Year Old Hen Having Trouble Walking


In the Brooder
7 Years
Feb 10, 2012
Monroe, Washington
I have a 2 year old Ameraucana named Molly who has had trouble walking for a couple of months. Both legs seem affected, no sign of injury or bumblefoot. Her toes aren't curled, and she will wrap them around my fingers just fine and roots every night (although she has slept in the nest box a few nights). She's at the bottom of the pecking order, and gets a peck on the head every now and then, but nothing worse. She has taken to hobbling a few steps, then lays down, usually under brush or a tree. She's eating, although she has a fairly pronounced keel bone. She drinks plenty of water, and she's even laying an egg almost every day. She doesn't scratch and peck, but uses her beak to scratch the ground when she's laying down. The hens are on a diet of Naturally Free Layer from Scratch and Peck Feed. They get ACV in their water, and yogurt once or twice a week plus scraps from the garden. I've included a video of her walking and sitting down from yesterday. I'm starting to think vitamin therapy after reading a ton of posts here, but wanted yo get some opinions from my BYCers before starting treatment. Oh yeah, they've been wormed with Valbazen this spring, on Corid soon after that (2 were diagnosed with cocci), and she dust baths with no signs of mites/bugs. She talks and sings, and doesn't seem to be in pain when I pick her up.

Here's the video. Thanks in advance for any help!


Also wanted to add that she her stride seems to be shorter than the other birds in that she almost walks on her own feet as she takes a step. It might not show up on the video.

I would start the vitamin therapy right away,especially all the B's and E with selenium. There is water soluble vitaminE in most stores now. She definitely has some neurological problem that is affecting her walking. It seems very similar to another chicken recently on the emergency forum who looked like she was "goose-stepping." Did she have a Marek's vaccine?
Thanks for the reply. I don't know if she had a Marek's vaccine. We got her at around 12 weeks old from a breeder and honestly didn't think to ask. She was a replacement for an EE that was killed by a neighbor's dog, and we were so excited we just forgot to ask - first timers. All of our others we raised from chicks and they were supposed to have had the vaccine.
I was going to buy a high potency multi B vitamin. Is that what you recommend ? I hadn't about E with Selenium, but will pick that up as well. There was a lot about Hypericum, and thought that could help too. I'll also try to find the "goose stepping" chicken in the forums.
Thanks so much for your help!
I really don't think she broke her hip, but you never know. We see them every day and I would guess a broken hip, or bone, would present itself more obviously? She likes to be held, and has never seemed in pain when picked up. I even stretch out her legs and rub her feet and there doesn't seem to be any discomfort. Will start her on some vitamins - going to the store right now. Thanks for your reply!
Yes, she had her mareks vaccine.

I have no idea what could be wrong with her. She looks like she is on her way out though.
Cocci can really damage the intestinal tract and she may not be getting enough nutrition now.
Hi Jean!

Thanks so much for replying. All of the hens were on Corid this summer when a positive cocci report came back for 2 (Molly included). She really seemed to perk up after being de-wormed and getting the Corid, but has declined these last few weeks. Her poohs have been normal, and her crop was full tonight. We'll just have to wait and see. I hope some vitamin therapy will help her out. She's been such a great hen, and lovely blue eggs! She sure doesn't seem like she won't survive, but I've learned you can't count on that. We've really loved her though, and will give her a great home 'til the end - whenever that will be. Thanks again, Jean!
Day 2 of vitamin therapy. Not much of a change in her walking, but she seems to be eating more. Stood and flapped her wings more than she has done in a while. Gave her some yogurt with egg and layer feed in it and she devoured it! I'll keep up the therapy and feeding and report how she does over the next week.

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