7 wk chick can't walk - Update: botulism? - 6th day - new pic

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ArizonaDesertChicks, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    2,378
    19
    199
    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    This 7 1/2 week old chicks was totally normal yesterday, but this afternoon when I went to let the chicks into the garden, I noticed she couldn't walk very well. I brought her inside to rest and when I took her out this evening noticed two odd bumps when petting her. The tops of her legs are jutting out through her back feathers (see all 3 pics - the last one is the most obvious).



    [​IMG]


    side view of 1 of the bumps:

    [​IMG]

    This pic shows both bumps (legs jutting out the top):

    [​IMG]

    When she stands, her back looks normal, but she is quite wobbly when she walks. I've never seen this before - it's very strange and disconcerting to look at.


    I don't believe she has Marek's -- she's very young and has not been anywhere near our adult chickens (besides the fact that none of my adults have ever had it) and there are no wild birds that get into their pen.

    I was thinking she may have injured herself, but am unsure as to how she could have.


    The only thing out of the ordinary that I can think of is a change of feed yesterday. I've raised all my previous batches of chicks on Purina Start-n-Grow and started these 15 chicks on it also. I switched them a few weeks ago to Manna Pro, which is a much finer crumble. They liked it just as much as the Purina. Yesterday, we went and picked up another bag of Purina starter crumbles because it was more convenient (the store with Manna Pro is much farther from us). The chicks did not like the change. They have hardly eaten any of it for the past two days (yesterday and today). I kept thinking they'd get hungry and figure it out - it's served up in the same feeder and they used to eat when they were even smaller, but to no avail. This evening I wet it down into mash and they did eat some of that. Could this have caused a leg problem in one of my chicks? Not eating much for two days? They do eat some bugs and grass in the afternoons and ate the last of the Manno Pro yesterday morning.


    Until yesterday, when they didn't eat much, the chicks' diet consisted only of starter feed 24/7, a bit of grass, etc in the afternoons, and apple cider vinegar in their water.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  2. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,664
    10
    131
    Jun 27, 2010
    I wonder if they got into some mold either in the old bag or the new one. No one seems overly hungry and this one may have some paralysis. Check into the possibility of botulism because that can cause paralysis. Have they had access to a compost pile or are there any dead critters on the property? Just reading the post again, maybe the garden isn't a good idea for now? If it's botulism, I'm not sure how to proceed. Maybe someone can weigh in here. Beautiful little hen btw.
     
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    30,361
    159
    446
    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Check for mold in the feed... where there any hard clumps of feed in the crumble?
     
  4. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    2,378
    19
    199
    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    The sectioned off 'garden' area they're in is probably 10 x 15 with no compost pile. No dead animals in there. The only plant they can reach to eat is some large zuchini leaves poking through the fence.

    There are no clumps in the new feed, but last night when I mentioned to my husband that the chicks didn't like the new feed, he told me there were bugs in it (he fed them the first day). Can 'old' feed cause paralysis? We just bought it, but I dont' know how long the store had it on their shelves. I hope I didn't harm the rest of them by wetting it down yesterday to get them to eat it. This morning, I gave them all cooked brown rice from our fridge to tide them over till I can get a new bag of feed (have to wait till store opens).
     
  5. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,664
    10
    131
    Jun 27, 2010
    I suppose that the waste products from the bugs could cause some mold.
     
  6. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    2,378
    19
    199
    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    She's exactly the same today - can stand, but only briefly - eats the most whenever I am with her - she's a real sweetie.

    Since I don't believe she is contagious, I have her in a wire cage outside next to the others to keep her spirits up and at the same time, letting her rest. I mixed up yogurt with a vit. B capsule and some polyvisol vitamins for all my chicks today. Hopefully, the extra nutrition will knock whatever it is out of her and keep the rest from going lame.
     
  7. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    2,378
    19
    199
    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    Much worse this morning - now both legs are sticking straight out front (unless she flails them around) and her neck seems to be paralyzed (not totally, but kinds of hangs down and she didn't drink when I dipped her mouth into the water dish).


    I'm looking up treatments for botulism, but am scared that her swallowing reflex may not work. She was totally fine 2 days ago - I really don't want to lose her.
     
  8. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    2,378
    19
    199
    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    Day 4: Her legs are sticking out in front of her - I don't know whether she still has a chance to recover. Any more advice or tips? Does she still have a chance since there has been no improvement in the last couple of days.

    She has a good appetite and her poops are looking normal (about 7-10 poops a day?). I gave her some epsom salts, molasses, and electrolytes the 2nd day and she has been eating chick starter sprinkled with multidophilus (acidolphilus +) and polyvisol vitamins added to it yesterday and today (day 3 and 4). I clean up the feed every day and put fresh feed down.

    Here is a pic of her new set-up. She has no mobility at all and no way to eat, unless I keep her propped up. I had to cover a lot of it with tape, cause she discovered that she loves to eat styrofoam. Her water dish is stuck into the styrofoam so she can't tip it over.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,664
    10
    131
    Jun 27, 2010
    She seems to be eating and drinking a little more but appears more limp and lame? Some here have made little slings for the birds so their legs can dangle but the body is upright. Kind of like a baby chair. I'm not sure but the birds laying in awkward positions might hamper the breathing. I would just keep doing what you're doing, if she's eating and drinking. These were some other possibilities:

    Paralysis...
    Botulism; Marek's disease; arthritis; aflatoxin poisoning; epidemic
    tremor

    but if it is botulism, I think it takes awhile for them to turn around so see if you can get any kind of time line from some other threads.

    How does she feel weight wise? Does her breastbone protrude or does she feel boney otherwise. I wonder if there's such a thing as a normal temperature and taking a chicken's temperature. No blood in the poop?
     
  10. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,664
    10
    131
    Jun 27, 2010
    I wonder if it wouldn't be a bad idea to use a little antibiotic and sulmet(?) from the feed store. What they have down there is fairly broad spectrum and shouldn't be harsh on their system. Do we have any idea if she could be weak from parasites? Anyway, don't do too much too soon. Keep with the course, see how long it takes to get some results, and set the girl up in some kind of sling (there are some threads about the sling here). One had a bird with legs out in front like that too and I think he recovered. Just keep up the good work and give her little treats like little bits of fruit, tomato or whatever it is she likes that might be fresh and hydrating.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by