Adult Chicken's legs suddenly spread wide apart - help please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Moody's Friend, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Moody's Friend

    Moody's Friend New Egg

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    Jun 12, 2011
    My mother's chicken is walking around with her legs spread very wide... not really bow legged, but sort of. We are both fairly new to raising chickens and don't really know what this could be. I wondered about her being egg bound, but my mother doesn't think there is an egg stuck. She has been this way for more than a week now. She seem ok... but I don't think she has layed, and she looks uncomfortable. yesterday I felt like she was panting, so I want to intervene and help her if I can.

    She is a golden/red sex link, but is fairly small. She and her sister lay jumbo eggs, one of them has laid an extremely large egg before.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  2. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you picked her up? It would be a good idea to gently feel over her abdomen and see if any of it feels swollen and/or hot. Those may be signs of egg binding or internal infection which would need to be treated.

    regards
    Erica
     
  3. beinginspired

    beinginspired Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2013
    I know your post was a long time ago, but I can't find any more info. I have a hen with what I think is the same problem. Can you tell me what you found out?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    How old is your hen? Egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying can cause hens to walk bow-legged or like a penguin. To check for egg binding, feel of the vent area and with a rubber glove, insert a finger 1-2 inches inside the vent to feel for an egg. If you do feel an egg give a dose of calcium ( a tums or calcium tablet, or crushed egg shells and yogurt) and then give a shallow warm bath to help pass the egg.

    Here is some info about egg yolk peritonitis:
    http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/egg-laying-issues/index.aspx
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/526089/egg-yolk-peritonitis
     
  5. beinginspired

    beinginspired Out Of The Brooder

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    She is about 4-5 years old, a Partridge Wyandott hen - she has been this way (although somewhat worse this week) for at least 4 months. I took her to the vet, he checked her and said she wasn't egg-bound, no parasites, etc. He couldn't say what was wrong with her, but the exam revealed nothing. He went ahead and wormed her just in case, but really no diagnosis. She looks terribly uncomfortable - her legs are so far apart she waddles. She is still eating, but it's hard for her to get around like the others, so if there is a "race" for a worm or something, she doesn't get there in time. I have bathed her in warm water about 4-5 times to get the poop off her bottom when it builds up. I don't know what is causing that even. I don't know how to help. I will keep giving her warm baths when the buildup on her rear happens, but what? Long term? I thought the egg binding would kill a hen fairly quickly. I hate seeing her suffer, but I don't know to what extent she is just uncomfortable, or possibly in pain? She still gets out when I let the others out to free range, and she walks around with them some, but eventually sits to rest while the others continue to roam. Thank you for your reply. -- Editing here, and wanted to add that she is swollen, and when I pick her up (which she doesn't like at all) she feels like a fully inflated football.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Ascites or fluid in the belly can be caused by heart or liver failure, but also can happen with egg yolk peritonitis. When fluid builds up it become very uncomfortable, and it can be removed periodically with an 18 gauge needle and syringe, or without the syringe to let it drain. There may come a time when you may need to put her out of her misery if she gets worse. Antibiotics such as penicillin may be a temporary help for peritonitis. Here is some info on ascites: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/853726/ascites-in-desperate-need-of-some-help-and-guidance
     
  7. beinginspired

    beinginspired Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2013
    Thank you so much. I have read tons on this site. Everyone is so helpful. I read the link and several others too. I appreciate you sending the info. I want to do the "less invasive" things first, as I'm just not wanting to cause any more stress or problems. I am trying about 1/3 of a 81mg aspirin to reduce swelling. I have done that 3 times so far. I put it inside a kernel of canned corn, and give that 1 kernel to her first, then give her a few more plain kernels as a treat. No problems. Today the swelling is down some, and I gave her a lukewarm bath this afternoon to clean her bottom, and very gently felt her abdomen. The "pressure" was less, for sure. It wasn't as tight as it has been, softer, but still very swollen. I know this is only a small, and probably temporary relief, but I don't think I can insert a needle, the vet didn't know for sure what was wrong (he checked and didn't feel an egg), and I just wouldn't know if I did feel in her vent exactly what I was feeling. She seemed to really enjoy the bath today after she settled down (in about 1 minute). I took her out and sat outside with her in my lap, l dried her off while I talked to her. She rested her head on my arm and nodded off for a short time. Then I gave her a few kernels of her favorite canned corn, and some plain yogurt. She ate it up. I think she was worn out, though so I carried her to her house and she went inside the nesting box where she has been sleeping for several months. I keep the hay freshly changed in her nest, and nobody lays eggs there. She just prefers to sleep there. She is too swollen to fly up to the roost with the others.

    That's Bella - on my arm. One day a couple of years ago when I was giving them some lettuce and trying to get them to jump up on the stump, she just flew up onto my arm as if she had always done it. She is so sweet and gentle. She is also a smaller breed than the others, so she gets picked on a lot. Bless her. She just walks away. She never fights. [​IMG]
     
  8. GraceyMay

    GraceyMay Out Of The Brooder

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    I had posted about a hen of our seeming to be paralyzed at times ( https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...alyzed-one-moment-fine-the-next#post_14551608 ) Eggcessive posted there as well...seems a very helpful person!! :)

    Our hen is still having the same issues as before, I had noticed she walks funny, but today I realized her legs (compared to the other hens) are spread way out when she walks. Being in a lot of pain would explain her temporary inability to stand. But since this has been going on for about 2 weeks (and from what I've read, death would come in about 48 hours), does it sound legitimate that my hen could be suffering from egg binding and/or egg yolk peritonitis? She never seems drowsy....just walks funny and, at times, seems like she can't get up (as she's laying nearly on her side and breathing heavily). I have not stuck my finger up her vent and, to be honest, the though of doing so freaks me out a little. Well, a lot actually.
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Would it be possible to post a picture or perhaps a YouTube video of her? It's not always easy to diagnose sick chickens, and sometimes it may only be after death from a necropsy that the real problem is discovered. With egg yolk peritonitis a hen can live for quite awhile sometimes, especially when treated with antibiotics and supportive treatment. Many egg bound hens can die in days, but some have reported hens with a stuck egg that has become encased in tissue. What is the age of your hen?
     
  10. GraceyMay

    GraceyMay Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your assistance. A few days ago I isolated her in the garage and I had her sit in warm water for a few hours and, though the water seemed very dirty when we took her out, I didn't see evidence she had passed an egg or yolk or anything. Last night I was watching her and her legs do not seem so strange as they had a few days ago and she did not seem to be walking funny.

    I took a few photos of her the morning I had her sit in warm water but they were all blurry. She wouldn't hold still for the photo and I just suck at photography anyway. She is around 4 years old.

    I thank you for your help.
     

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