Bantam Hen with Weak Legs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Shirazz, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Shirazz

    Shirazz Hatching

    Jan 3, 2008
    I went to the coop yesterday and one of my Bantam hens was lying on her side on the ground. She is alert, eating, drinking, pooping, preening. Everything works except her legs. She can move them but it seems she has no control. She is about two years old and has raised a few clutches of chicks. When I try to set her upright she falls over. Internet says it may be nutritional. The hens are on scratch grains (mostly corn) for the winter. I have fed her scrambled eggs with the shells and chick starter but she seems the same. She is warm in my kitchen. She now has free choice eggs, oyster shell and fresh water. Help-I love my chickies. All other chickens seem just fine. Any advice?
  2. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    your hens should be on layer feed all the time, and scratch only given in small amounts as a treat before roost time.
    they may now need a boost of protein..

    could be a few different things.
    injury to back
    lack of nutrition
    worms (don't worm this hen unless a fecal sample has been tested since she is already weak, but a test needs to be done to see if a heavy infestation of worms is present)

    since you say she has raised chicks several times, I'm inclined to think this is nutritional, and in need of calcium and other nutrients.

    here is some info about Rickets, and treatment:


    Rickets can occur in young birds due to insufficient vitamin D3, calcium and/or phosphorus.

    Commercial feeds and supplements provide these nutrients, but if they are over-diluted the birds will not get enough. Birds can synthesize their own vitamin D, to a certain extent, with exposure to sunlight.

    A deficiency of any of these nutrients can also lead to problems with egg-laying birds. Egg production may be reduced and/or the quality of the egg shell may be poor.

    In severe cases hens may be afflicted with a disease called cage-layer fatigue (brittle-bone disease, osteoporosis). As indicated by the name, this disease is not usually found in birds raised on the floor.

    Rickets (hypocalcaemic)

    Vitamin D deficiency or phosphorus/calcium imbalance is seen in chickens, turkeys and ducks worldwide.


    Hock swelling.
    Soft bones and beak. - sometimes
    Birds go off legs.
    Poor growth.
    Birds rest squatting
    Or lay on their sides unable to stand
    Reduction in bodyweight.

    Post-mortem lesion

    Bones soft and rubbery.
    Epiphyses of long bones enlarged.
    Beading and fracture of ribs.
    Growth plates widened and disorganised.
    Beak soft.
    Parathyroids enlarged.


    History, signs, lesions. Differentiate from Encephalomalacia, Femoral Head Necrosis.

    Over-correct ration with three times vitamin D for 2 weeks, or Vitamin D or 25-hydroxy vitamin D in drinking water.

    Supplementation of vitamin D, proper calcium and phosphorus levels and ratio, antioxidants.

    Rickets diet:
    “” This amount feed one bird””

    Feed the birds three times a day for three days a mixture of

    This mixture is what you will need for the entire three feeds…. It is not 3 egg yolks and 3 teaspoons of honey etc…. divide the contents into three

    ½ to 1 x egg yolk….. give the whites to the other hens mixed into their seed or pellets (depends a lot on the size of the egg yolk)
    1 teaspoon honey…. .given for energy
    2 x tablespoons yogurt…. Given for calcium and also to make the bowel go back into normal production after this upset
    ¼ teaspoon calcium powder (if you can’t get the yogurt)
    3 to 4 tablespoons rolled oats…. To give substance to the feed
    Sprinkle of multi vitamin powder (only if you are not already giving it to them in their drinking water, don’t overdose)

    Mix to make a crumble mixture not runny, if you have to roll into pellets and force feed, and then massage the neck to get it down, the bird may be too weak to eat or have lost the desire to eat…. Don’t hold back…. The longer it goes without this the worse it will get

    If you must give it something to drink – only give drops onto the beak or use the crop tube to get fluids down the throat, don’t try and pour any fluid down a chickens throat, it will more than likely go into the air passage and into the lungs and end up drowning the bird

    You can use different ingredients if you wanted to
    A D & E Powder
    Mixed with 1 teaspoon honey
    Rolled into a few rolled oats make into pellets and force fed


    ¼ teaspoon calcium powder (instead of yoghurt)
    ¼ teaspoon cod liver oil (instead of egg yolk)
    1 x teaspoon honey
    rolled oats
    mixed with milk to make into a crumble or make into pellets to be force fed

    What ever way you decided to go the reason is to give the bird a large dose of Vitamin D, C and A

    After 3 days cut back to once a day for 2 weeks, you should notice the difference in 3 or 4 days

    Give other food also, chick crumbles, grower crumbles or layer pellets depending on the age of the bird etc
    Also have fresh water at all times for the birds to drink in easy reach, remember it is not well so it may not go looking for the food and water, so put it just about under its nose so it can’t miss it

    information from:

    others might have different opinions or suggestions.
    good luck with your hen..
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    there might be a couple things going on but in my opinion it has been instigated by improper nutrition and severely so. When birds are severely stressed or challenged by disease or parasites or improper nutrition, malabsorption will occur (meaning even if you do give the proper feed and the bird eats enough it will have problems absorbing/utilizing the nutrition from the feed).
    I suggest you bring the bird into a temp stable environment (warm if your weather is cold) and immediately start a complete supplement such as aviacharge 2000 (approved for organic certified and formulated according to the NRC recomendations >you can order online from McMurray or Strombergs) which you can mix into some cooked oatmeal (human type>mix just enough into feed to make it clump together) and if I were you I would crush a tum and add that to it too (as it contains the right type of easily absorbed calcium... add it every other day for a week) mix that with layer feed (cornell study shows that oatmeal helps digestion and calcium in particular)... offer a good quality live culture yogurt (unflavored and without sugar) free choice in addition to this. This is a very minimal supportive measure but one that is very necessary in the case that the leg problem has arisen from severe lack of calcium and improper nutrition (which I believe might just be the problem)... by separating her you can also observe her easily and monitor her progress and any secondary complications.
    You can also immediately give her three drops of POLYVISOL (this is liquid childrens A-B-D vitamins)into beak once a day for a week in addition to the above. Do NOT give milk as this will irritate the intestines and a few other things which is not good for the bird (do a search in the FEED forum on milk...all the info re this is there) and only make things worse.
    Since she cant get around too well you need to ensure she drinks sufficiently too and does mot get dehydrated...if you suspect she might have drunk insufficiently you can add an electr/vit mixture to her waterer for a couple days such as DURVET
    There might indeed be something else going on but the above measures are supportive and just might be enough to get your birds system back in gear so her own immune system can handle any other problems going on.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  4. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    how is the hen?

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