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Brain Or Nerve Damaged Hen???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by carpetbeggar, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. carpetbeggar

    carpetbeggar In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2008
    Here's the story. My Father raises laying hens and I help him out with them since I am now staying with him. Anyway last Spring he got 31 new born hens and after a couple weeks he put them in their new pen in the old house which we use as a shed now next door. That first night something came in and killed six of them (We initially thought a rat, and although it's still pretty certain it was, it could have been a mink also). All the rest except two survived without any injury whatsoever. One of the two injured had her leg rendered useless and after nursing her for a couple weeks, there was no way the leg would be of any use so my Father put her down.

    That leads me to the other injured hen. Basically the back of her head had a HUGE chunk of skin ripped right off. It was a pretty big and deep wound. I began cleaning the wound every day, put polysporin on it, nursed and fed her back to health. During this time she developed wry neck and didn't really do much but stand around and sleep all day. After about three more weeks of this or so I was ready to give up on her when out of the blue she came out of the wry neck, straightened up and has had no issues with it ever since.
    Now during that time she wasn't eating enough food as she should have and she ended up very undersized. So she's been with us since last Spring, seems in no pain anymore and lives now with the flock of five I have that free ranges all day...Basically the pet flock.
    Even though she is in no pain, she does have issues:
    !.) She is undersized.
    2.)She has lost a lot of coordination when it comes to using her beak when she eats. She makes an absolute mess when she eats, as she has to peck at the food and once she gets it in her beak, wriggles her head around a bit to get it where she wants it to swallow. She has gotten better at it now, and even though she gets enough to eat, she still struggles with her coordination when pecking.
    3.)She never did start laying eggs, I assume something got scrambled in her nerve and brain message center that doesn't allow her to lay?
    4.)She can't jump up on anything that is higher up, including her roost area at night and I have to lift her up to her bed for her. She has no problem jumping down from it the next morning, but just can't get up there.
    5.)She has to sleep by herself. If any other chickens are anywhere near her at night when she's in her bed she goes absolutely bonkers in fear. She lets out these ungodly squawks and starts running around in circles until she ends up falling down off her bed. I shouldn't laugh, but sometimes it's just funny as hell to see her do that. [​IMG][​IMG] Now during the day she has no other issues with the other hens and interacts with them normally. It's just when she's up high on something and another hen comes near her.
    6.)Other times when she feels threatened for whatever reason when not roosting she does the same thing of running in circles and squawking like crazy. Then other times like say when my cat comes around them the other hens are wary of the cat, but she actually chases the cat away from the barn now, while all the other chickens scatter. [​IMG]

    Now the one thing I am concerned about is that one of her ears since her accident produces very large amounts of wax and crusts up on the outside of her ear. She seems to like it when I wipe it away, but doesn't seems to bother her...She doesn't scratch at it much or anything else. I'm just wondering if this can be fixed or if it will be a problem for her all the time and something in her ear was affected when she was attacked. It is very foul smelling too and yellowy.

    What is the best way to clean the waxy, foul substance from her ear?

    Also does it sound like she has brain damage or would you say it is nerve damage...or a combination of both?

    Anyways I love her to death (her name is Denise) and if she was suffering or in pain in any way I would put her down, but she is living a pretty happy life now IMO.

    Oh, another thing, are there any ways I could try and help her in her ability to be able to jump up onto things like her bedding roost or will she just have sleep in areas she can access by walking only, or if I lift her up every night?


  2. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    Sounds like you're doing a great job for Denise. I think she may have an ear infection so perhaps antibiotic drops in her ear or antibiotics in her water would help. I am not experienced with antibiotics in the water. You do say she doesn't scratch at it though and I think she would if it were infected. She may not be laying simply because she is underweight. My bird was like that and after I made sure she got extra scratch/mealworms/sunflower and added grit on top of her food she gained some weight and just started laying. If your bird has a hard time picking up small pieces, I would make sure to sprinkle the grit on her food. Good luck!
  3. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Songster

    Mar 22, 2010
    Nice post - I think you covered every possible detail! Good for diagnosing.

    I am not very experienced with ear stuff. All I would say it keep it clean, like you are doing.

    Would she be able to jump an a low (maybe 1 ft.) perch? If not, I'd say it is just fine for her to sleep on the ground. I would just make sure that she doesn't sleep under the perch, because I don't think it is healthy to be covered in poop each morning.

    Yes, there is probably some brain/nerve disorder with her. Or it could just be post traumatic stress disorder in chickens (that sounds funny!). As long as she isn't in pain, which it doesn't sound like she is, I'd just let her live in her corny way. (as long as your willing to keep her, of course)
  4. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Ear infections and such can cause poor coordination in humans, so possible in chickens also. The infection in her ear may be ear canker.... There is a medicine for that, can't remember off the top of my head, bird medication, for canker.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  5. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    could use a q-tip for the ear
  6. silkieroo

    silkieroo Songster

    Apr 14, 2010
    Durham NH
    I agree with chickenzoo that her ear thing could be the cause of her... lets call them "balance issues" i would search ear infection on here and see if you can find anything. Meanwhile it seems like your doing a great job caring for her! I admire your dedecation! [​IMG]
  7. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Otomax is the name of it...... they use it for ear infections in dogs also.

  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I have a tiny bantam frizzle that can't fly or get up on the roost with the other chickens so to help her She has a small roost thats at about 1' and then the second roost that at about 2 foot the from there she goes to the 3 ' roost. That way she is right up there with the rest of the flock....she wouldn't have it any other way [​IMG]

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