Chicken gone lame

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LestersFlat, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Songster

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    One of my young hens, about 5MO, was limping when I first noticed something was wrong on January 3. The pics attached are from that day. She was fine with me picking her up and inspecting, but I could not feel anything wrong with her feet or legs. I was out of town that following weekend and didn't trust my hub to deal with her in a separate crate, so I left her loose with the rest. When I returned a few days later, she was no longer walking, and her right foot was splayed out behind her. She was huddled in a corner behind the crate, I think trying to avoid the young rooster who was intent on having his way with her.

    So I did then separate her in that crate in the coop. She has not gotten any worse, and does not appear to be in pain, but I don't think she is going to regain use of that one leg.

    Does that sound like Marek's? Or is it possible that the roo was too rough with her and injured her leg somehow? I do have a vet that could look at her, but don't know what I would do if she did have a broken leg...

    She is one of the 6 young ones hatched in-house, not vaccinated. The other 12 were purchased and vaccinated. If it does sound like Marek's, do I have to move the crate out of the coop?
    walking.jpg right foot.jpg left foot.jpg right foot standing.jpg
     
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  2. nchls school

    nchls school Crowing

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    Mareks is a possibility, but there are many reasons for a lame leg; a young overactive rooster being one. Yes, separate her from the flock to be on the safe side. Limit the amount of room so the hen does not have to move overmuch and keep food and water close. Hopefully the leg will improve soon.
     
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  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

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    Sorry you face this. :(

    A broken leg would have symptoms like swelling and pain. This does sound a lot like Marek's is a possibility.

    Removing or leaving in your flock is a personal choice... I remove immediately (and cull)... even though the others may be exposed already... less dander continuing to be shed is still less attack exposure to the rest of my flock.

    @rebrascora takes a different approach.

    A chicken sling might be helpful...
    upload_2019-1-15_11-15-50.jpeg [​IMG]

    Best info I have seen on the subject...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/

    If you lose or relieve her, I suggest getting a necropsy to either confirm or dispel Marek's in your flock.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/how-to-send-a-bird-for-a-necropsy-pictures.799747/

    https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf

    Hang in there... I know this is scary. :fl
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

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    Meant to ask what you feed including treats and supplements...

    Some vitamin/mineral issues can look like this.
     
  5. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Songster

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    Schuyler Lake NY
    Since this first started a month ago, there has not been much change. This young hen is still completely lame, and now seems most comfortable with both legs splayed out behind her. No swelling or pain that I can see. The right foot, which was the bad one to start with, is now curled, on the other one the toes are straight.

    I initially had her in a crate in the coop, but brought her into the basement because it has been frigid cold and she keeps spilling her water.

    When I let her out of the crate on the floor, she will eat and drink for a minute or 2, because she always gets herself turned around away from food and water in the crate, but then she uses her wings and ends up several feet from where I left her on the floor. I usually leave her loose like that for a bit and then retrieve her and put her back in the crate facing her water and food again.

    She has always been fed layer crumbles, Grubblies, and occasional goodies like oatmeal and veg. She was totally free range until I had a bobcat take out 8 chickens in the middle of the day. Since November she still had room to roam in a fenced grassy area until January when I brought her inside.

    I did talk to a knowledgeable vet tech, and she said they had another chicken brought in with the same symptoms. They did every test possible including xrays and found nothing wrong. She said this young hen seemed to be improving with vitamins—crushed up dog vitamin pills. So I have been giving my girl some of those along with cranberries, bits of lettuce, oatmeal, raisins, and whatever else I can think of that might be healthy.

    My cat seems to enjoy hanging out with her when she is loose on the floor, and she is a total love when I hold her and stroke her little head. If she were a roo I would have no problem giving her to my neighbor for food, but I just don't know how long this is going to continue and what I will do about her.

    Wait and see I guess. Posting this in case it is helpful to anyone else. monkeywithhenny.jpg hanginin.jpg
     
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  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    How old is she?
    You mention she's always been fed layer crumbles - how long have you had her and how long has she been eating layer crumbles?

    Sadly, I do agree that that she is likely suffering from Marek's. If that is the cause, all you can do is offer supportive care.
    You can give her 1/4 tablet human B-Complex daily along with Poultry Nutri-Drench 1-2 times a week.
    I would also give her a higher protein feed or add protein like egg, fish or meat.
    Cut out the oatmeal. Lettuce is not that nutritional, but if she likes it, o.k. a small amount of chopped kale or broccoli may be a little better.

    Have you tried a chicken sling to see if that helps at all? There are plenty of examples if you google images of slings. A daily massage of the legs may be beneficial as well.
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-shocking-effect-of-oatmeal/

    At some point, you may need to make a decision about the quality of life that she has. Not an easy one to make, but I'm sure this has crossed your mind.
    If you do lose her, it would be good to send the body for testing to find out what was wrong. Cornell is your state diagnostic lab, here's the link https://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/
     
  7. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Songster

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    Born here in July. One of my hens went broody and hatched 5 chicks. She is one of 3 that survived the bobcat attack in November.

    She was given starter feed for the first few months, probably until late Sept early Oct, then mama started taking the chicks out and about with the rest and I wasn't able to control what they ate. I used up the starter feed around then, and that's when she would have started getting layer crumbles, some cracked corn, and Grubblies.

    I do pick her up and massage her legs sometimes, but will try to do it more often. And I will try to add some of those dietary changes as well. I have given her some egg bits with shell attached, and the grubs, but she seems to go for the feed and oatmeal before those. So maybe I will give her only those and give the feed later.

    No, I haven't tried a sling.

    And yes, we are getting to a point where quality of life is an issue. I will send her for testing if it comes to that.

    Thank you.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    Has she ever laid an egg?
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

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    I was wondering how she would be able to without standing.

    Very sorry for your loss. :hugs


    I think the opposite... give her ONLY the feed first and all other things are secondary treats. Feed is formulated to meet their needs.

    Some birds may experience malabsorption if they ever went through coccidiosis.

    Did she say if they considered Marek's as a possibility and were they an avian or non avian vet tech..

    Some birds even with Marek's will recover, and possibly have relapses later.

    After a month of not using the leg muscles, they will have atrophied (lost tone) very badly... as I experienced after an arm injury recently. Without intensive physical therapy to regain strength, walking seems like an impossibility to me. :hmm She also does look kinda sad... I'm sure she loves the time you spend with her!

    I would NOT recommend your neighbor eating her, as aside from her lack of muscle... getting tested would be a priority for me. To at least know what your are facing or maybe even better, not facing.

    It's an especially hard quality of life choice when you have worked so hard to save a bird. I know! :(

    Hang in there! :hugs
     
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  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    Hi

    As others have said, I have experience with Marek's and sadly I am reasonably confident this is the problem with your pullet. The stress of being harassed by an adolescent cockerel is one of the primary triggers. Her current posture is fairly common with Marek's. As others have said, vitamin supplements like Nutri Drench and human B complex vitamins can be helpful to support the immune and neurological system. I would also recooment that you get some chick crumbs and soak them in water to make a mushy oatmeal consistency. I usually ferment it for a couple of days to help with digestion and improve gut flora as that also helps to support the immune system. Chick crumbs are higher in protein and lower in calcium than layer pellet, so better for an invalid that is not actively laying. Oats and oatmeal are not good for chickens. If you want to mix a few berries into the chick crumb mash by all means do so, but otherwise don't add anything else. The advantage of a mash is that they need very little extra water, so rather than leave them with a pot of water which they can tip over and drench themselves or struggle to access, just give them the opportunity to drink twice a day whilst you hold it and don't worry if they don't want any. The sloppy food should provide enough fluids. Birds that are not actively laying do not need nearly as much water anyway. The Nutri Drench can be added to their food or carefully droppered directly into their beak. If you get a warmer, sunny day where she can go out on grass in a cage next to the flock, I find that beneficial and encouraging them to move a short distance towards a goal like a favourite treat every day helps to focus them to do a bit of physiotherapy. Just a foot or two initially and extend it a little each day.
    Unfortunately I do have concerns about the look in her eye and she may be getting tired of fighting the disease. I support and encourage them as long as they are bright eyed and interested in food. Once they lose their appetite, it is a down hill struggle and I use that as the red line to end their suffering.
    I wish you luck with her and hope she is able to make a miraculous turn around as some of my Marek's birds have.... even after weeks of being nest bound.
     

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