Chicken falls over and can't get up

SweetJoy7

Chirping
6 Years
May 22, 2013
147
11
71
Hello. We have a 3 year-old golden laced black wyandotte. She falls over and then she can't stand back up. She also seems like she can't curl her toes or perch very well. Does anyone know of any vegetables or vitamins we can give her? Thank you so much!
 

ruth

Life is a Journey
12 Years
Jul 8, 2007
4,273
140
271
Woodville, MS
Was she injured that you know of? She sounds awfully weak. I always use crushed up B vitamins and feed scrambled egg or even raw egg yolk to sick/weak birds. I'll crush up a B or B Complex or B12 and mix with their water. Just depends on whether or not they are still eating on their own.
 

Nambroth

Fud Lady
8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
2,961
1,144
312
Western NY
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry to hear that your girl is having trouble! B-complex vitamins sure can't hurt if she has any nervous system damage. If you have trouble getting her to eat the broken up B-vitamins, you can try nutritional yeast. Look for a brand that is very high in Thiamine, for your specific problem.

E deficiency can also cause the symptoms you are seeing, but you must be careful not to overdose E, as it is fat soluble, and can build up in her system and cause other problems.

Here's some more reading: http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou..._poultry/vitamin_deficiencies_in_poultry.html

Is there any chance she got into some lead? This could be a single lead bb from gun ammunition, or some old lead paint flakes, or .. well, heck there was LOTS of stuff made with lead back in the day and a lot of it got left laying around old farms. Even a very small amount of ingested lead can cause leg problems like this.

Has she been like this long, or is it sudden? If sudden, has she had access to any wet areas where water has been stagnant, or where there might be any animal carcasses? Not to sound grotesque, but if so, botulism might be an issue.

Double check that your feed is very fresh and that there is no chance it got damp or moldy. What are you feeding exactly? Aspergillosis, caused by aflatoxins in feed, can cause these symptoms.

Otherwise, there are some diseases that can cause lameness and leg problems. Do you have any history of any other symptoms in her or any of your other birds? Have you added anyone new within the last several months?
 

SweetJoy7

Chirping
6 Years
May 22, 2013
147
11
71
Thank you so much for your quick reply. Our chicken has been like this for several months. We had another chicken who couldn't bend her legs and couldn't walk. She passed away after a couple months. We will try giving our chicken vitamin b-complex. Would brewers yeast work for the nutritional yeast? From what we know, she hasn't gotten into any lead of any sort. Our hens(and roosters) food is always fresh. We are feeding our birds Nature Wise and sometimes Layena. Other than our one bird who passed away, all of our other birds are pretty much healthy. Our Wyandotte ,Lollie, had not been preening her feathers but now that she has been separated and is molting, her feathers are nice and soft. We appreciate your advice and we are thankful for your kindness. God bless you!
 

Nambroth

Fud Lady
8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
2,961
1,144
312
Western NY
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you so much for your quick reply. Our chicken has been like this for several months. We had another chicken who couldn't bend her legs and couldn't walk. She passed away after a couple months. We will try giving our chicken vitamin b-complex. Would brewers yeast work for the nutritional yeast? From what we know, she hasn't gotten into any lead of any sort. Our hens(and roosters) food is always fresh. We are feeding our birds Nature Wise and sometimes Layena. Other than our one bird who passed away, all of our other birds are pretty much healthy. Our Wyandotte ,Lollie, had not been preening her feathers but now that she has been separated and is molting, her feathers are nice and soft. We appreciate your advice and we are thankful for your kindness. God bless you!

If this has happened (or, at least, similar symptoms) to more than one bird, you might want to consider other possibilities, too. There are several diseases that can cause leg lameness/paralysis. Trying to figure out what it might be sometimes requires detective work!

Vitamin therapy can be tried. Water soluble vitamins can't hurt to offer, but do be careful with the fat soluble ones, as overdosing them can do damage (Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K). As mentioned, different deficiencies can cause these sorts of symptoms.

Brewer's yeast can be used (it usually lacks B-12), but Nutritional yeast will have higher levels of the helpful B vitamins, especially Thiamine. Or, if you prefer, you can break up human B-complex tablets. Just take a peek at the labels to see what amounts of vitamins they have.

I have copied a list below of diseases that can cause leg lameness, that often lead to a slow wasting away and death. I know it's a lot to take in but perhaps one of them will ring a bell for you.

  • Avian Lymphoid Leukosis is a disease that can cause Marek's like symptoms, though signs are usually only visible upon necropsy. This virus causes lymphomas, much like Marek's disease, throughout organ tissue. Most chickens with this virus will experience weakness, and will "waste away" over time, becoming more and more emaciated as the tumors spread. This viral disease is often thought to be the 'sister disease' to Marek's, as it is very similar in many ways. Unlike Marek's disease, it can be transmitted through the egg (vertically) from parent to chick. Of important note, there have been some signs that in individual chickens with a genetic predisposition, that Serotype-2 Marek's vaccine (only hatcheries have this vaccine) may cause this disease to more rapidly harm the infected chicken. http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/poultry/neoplasms/lymphoid_leukosis_in_poultry.html
  • Heavy Metal Toxicity in chickens (and other fowl, such as ducks) can look very similar to Marek's paralysis. Lead toxicity seems to be the most common for birds like chickens, that unlike other pet birds such as parrots, generally do not chew on metal objects but may swallow small metallic objects whole. Lead shot, BBs, pellets, (etc) are often mistaken for stones and ingested to aid the bird in digestion. A single BB or piece of lead shot is enough to cause serious illness in a large fowl chicken, or even eating old lead paint flakes, or finding them in the soil is enough to harm a chicken-sized bird. Heavy metal toxicity is one of the leading medical problems that vets and wildlife rehabilitators see in ground dwelling birds such as chickens, ducks, and geese, so it can be somewhat common. Symptoms include neurological issues such as partial or total paralysis of one or both legs and sometimes the wings. With lead toxicity, lesions of the nervous system and elevated white blood counts can also mimic Marek's infection. X-rays and/or blood tests might be necessary to diagnose this problem. Treatment generally involves injections of a chelating agent such as Calsenate. Large metal objects may need to be surgically removed. This problem is very hard to diagnose without veterinary help. For more reading: http://www.birdclinic.net/avian1.htm http://www.avianweb.com/heavymetalpoisoningbirds.html
  • Botulism in fowl can also mimic the symptoms of Marek's, in that it often causes neurological distress and paralysis. Often birds with botulism will present leg weakness, and neck weakness or paralysis. This can come on quite suddenly or gradually, depending on how much of the Botulism toxin has been consumed by the bird. Botulism is caused by the consumption of the toxin, either from decaying material (usually decaying carcasses) or eating an abundance of invertebrates that have been infected with the Botulsim toxin (such as maggots that have been feeding on decaying material). Generally, if a bird survives more than 48 hours, it will recover, so if Botulism is suspected in birds with sudden paralysis, immediate treatment is necessary. For more reading on Botulism consult the following: http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/poultry/botulism/overview_of_botulism_in_poultry.html and http://www.avianweb.com/botulism.html
  • Viral tenosynovitis is a viral form of arthritis that is transmitted in chickens and turkeys. Transmission is generally via fecal material of infected birds. Infected birds experience lameness and hock inflammation, swelling of the tendon sheaths (the 'tubes' that the leg tendons are encased in), and general lack of mobility of the legs. It is most commonly seen in commercial meat birds and has been reported less commonly in commercial leghorns in the past. Photos with more info (warning, necropsy images): http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/6/diseases-of-poultry/200/reovirus-infections
  • Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) is another disease of poultry that might look like Marek's. This bacterial disease affects chickens and turkeys, but may also infect other commonly kept fowl. It is a relatively common disease, and easily transmitted. Like Marek's, symptoms include lameness/paralysis of the legs and reluctance to stand and walk, as well as blue/purple comb and or wattles due to respiratory distress. The hock (ankle) and wing joints may become swollen. Birds may also experience rales (roughness of breath, rattling, wheezing) and may have some respiratory discharge. http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou...nfection_in_poultry_infectious_synovitis.html
  • Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is similar to MS, in that it is a mycoplasma infection, is very common in chickens, and is easily spread. It can cause paralysis and lameness in birds, similar to Marek's, but is generally accompanied by respiratory distress, sometimes severe in nature. Respiratory distress can include but is not limited to: rales (rasping, wheezing), coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, bubbling or discharge around the eyes, expelling mucus, and overall difficulty breathing. http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou...lasma_gallisepticum_infection_in_poultry.html
  • Mold or Moldy Feed is a serious problem, as mold in grain, especially corn, is known to grow aflatoxins. Most of the aflatoxin problems on corn are caused by Aspergillus flavus, and the most potent toxin produced by this mold is called aflatoxin B1. These toxins may have degenerative effect on the nervous system of birds, causing signs similar to Marek's such as weakness, paralysis, or spasms, along with pale combs, weight loss, and lethargic behavior.... so it is very important to investigate feed, both bagged and in the bird's environment, to make sure it is fresh and free of mold. Molds may not be visible to the naked eye, so when in doubt, discard old feed and supply birds with fresh feed. If you find moldy feed or suspect moldy feed and see any changes in health in your flock, immediately discontinue access to affected feed! Read more: http://www.mycotoxins.info/myco_info/animpy_sr.html More information, and treatment: http://birdhealth.com.au/flockbirds/poultry/diseases/mould_infections.html
  • Injury to the body, and especially to the head, can cause paralysis-like symptoms that look similar to Marek's. It is important to carefully check for hidden injuries, gently palpate bones for breakage, and observe your bird carefully to determine if injury is a factor. Injuries may be internal and not visible via simple physical exam. Head injuries can cause paralysis or weakness, and loss of motor control. Breeds with vaulted skulls (such as Silkies) are especially prone to brain damage, and can sustain brain injury and swelling that can create physical disability.
 

SweetJoy7

Chirping
6 Years
May 22, 2013
147
11
71
Hello. Lollie's necks seems to be sticking out a bit but we are not sure if she was made like this or not. Her crop is on right the of her neck. Is that normal? She is 3 years old so I do not think she has Marek's.Only her legs are weak and she does not seem to have any other problems. She is eating an organic mash food because it is the only food she loves to eat. Thank you so much.
 

Nambroth

Fud Lady
8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
2,961
1,144
312
Western NY
My Coop
My Coop
Hello! Yes, a chicken's crop is normally positioned to the right side (the chicken's right). It can get very large sometimes when they are gluttons! Just to check, her crop does empty into her body/digestive tract over time, right? This is most evident overnight.

I agree that with her being 3 years old that neurological/visceral Marek's seems unlikely. Not impossible, but just far less likely than in younger birds it seems. I would probably investigate other reasons before looking at Marek's, given this.
She has no sound to her breathing, right? No rasping, clicking, bubbling, gurgling, or discharge? Have any of your other birds ever had any of those symptoms?

If not, my guesses (I'm not a vet) would be: injury to the head or spine, which can present as lameness of the legs; or heavy metal toxicity, or aspergillosis, or arthritis, or possibly most likely: deficiency.

If you are comfortable doing so, maybe you can share with us the ingredients in the mash you feed?
Also, are you sure it is very fresh? Sometimes organic feeds sit on the shelf longer at feed stores simply because in some areas less people buy it less frequently.
 

ruth

Life is a Journey
12 Years
Jul 8, 2007
4,273
140
271
Woodville, MS
Hello. Lollie's necks seems to be sticking out a bit but we are not sure if she was made like this or not. Her crop is on right the of her neck. Is that normal? She is 3 years old so I do not think she has Marek's.Only her legs are weak and she does not seem to have any other problems. She is eating an organic mash food because it is the only food she loves to eat. Thank you so much.


This raises a red flag for me. It sounds like a vitamin deficiency which will result in twisted neck or crook neck or wry neck (has many names) as well as the weakness you described. I don't believe any one feed supplies all that they need. If she is eating only a wet mash she's missing out. Chickens are omnivores and need meat and veggies. We feed ours all leftovers and scraps and we get boxes of produce from the grocery that they are tossing out, plus all but our breeder birds are total freerange. This is in addition to commercial chicken feed. We also give them dog and cat food. For one that is already weak and showing signs of wry neck vitamins will help but all chickens need multiple sources of natural foods. Polyvisol (without iron) is a baby vitamin that is great and you can put a few drops in her beak or as I posted earlier, grind up some B vitamins and add to feed or water.
 

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