Chick with fast moving condition

Chirrup Charlie

Dec 11, 2020
Hi All,
I picked up a maybe week old chick at the feed store the other day that had been isolated because the other chicks had been pecking it due to (what seemed to be) a leg injury. At first it seemed like it was the foot (it was a bit swollen at the joint) but she held her leg out in front of her at first and then started hopping on it while only favoring it a bit. Then, a couple of days later she woke up and it seemed like her hock joint was wanting to bend backwards and was swollen. She could bend it the right way with help, but there was resistance (toes worked, the leg wasn’t “dead”) She didn’t really act like it was painful, but I operated on the assumption that it was. She was still bright eyed and bush tailed and very active, but had a really difficult time getting to food and water without flipping and flapping all over the place.
We put her in a little brace that bent the joint slightly in the right direction and put her in a sling. I thought it might be a slipped tendon, but I never felt the out of place tendon when doing the leg stretching tricks. She seemed content (although frequent flapping breaks were needed where I’d take her out and let her stretch around. Eating and drinking okay at this point, but sporadically sort of holding out for scrambled egg over her scratch (regular chick starter which she still ate quite a bit of) but at the end of the day her leg and foot seemed swollen so I gave her epsom salt soak before wrapping it straight and putting her back in the sling with a cozy blanket. Sometimes when I would take her out of the sling, she would put both of her legs straight out in front of her so her head was between her legs. I thought it was kind of weird, but thought maybe stretching out from the sling. Started this routine 2 days ago and today she seemed mostly content but stopped eating and drinking as much today. Not totally, but it raised flags as an issue. Her foot and leg were still swollen so I gave her a small dose of Metacam. The Rx was for an adult chicken and has the dose at 1.2 ml so I gave her a droplet-maybe .04 ml.

I woke her up tonight after she got some sleep to see if she would eat and drink some more. Her head is now swaying and tremoring and off to the side. She doesn’t seem like she’s in pain and is super cuddly and relatively active, but when I saw her my instinct told me that she seemed like she was dying. It seems like a neurological condition. I was concerned that I had overdosed her or that the Epsom salts were an issue, but I’m really at a loss. I thought maybe AE, but that doesn’t seem to match with the hock joint issue or the rapid onset of the head tremor thing. She is drinking a little, but will not/can’t eat. If anyone has any ideas I would greatly appreciate input! I’m really sad about her-we’ve become good friends over the ordeal. She’s currently snoozing comfortably in a blanket nest with her head sort of positioned between the folds of a blanket for support.

thanks in advance-
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It would be helpful to see pictures of how her legs appear from the front or back at eye level. There are a number of leg problems in chicks, such as slipped tendons, leg bone deformities such as varus valgus deformity, twisted tibia, and others. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies also can be problems with chickens especially if the parent stock was deficient. Also, starting a new thread would get more attention.

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