Chicken having trouble walking - pics

izchief360

Hatching
Feb 11, 2020
3
0
3
Hello all,

First time posting because I can't figure out what's wrong with my hen, but have been raising chickens for about 2 years now. I have a 10 mo old Rhode Island Red who has, as of Saturday 2/7, developed severe difficulty walking. I should note that back in October, she suffered from (what I can only presume) to be a pulled tendon or ligament sprain of her Right leg, which took about 3 weeks to improve to ~85% original. She has been walking, running, eating, and playing with the others just fine for about 3 months.

This past weekend she all of a sudden developed severe inability to walk, lethargy, loss of appetite, heavy breathing with her beak open, and possibly runny stools (although intermittent with normal bulky stools). We brought her indoors in a pen and have been giving amoxicillin since Sunday night upon recommendation of a local vet who presumed it was a respiratory infection. Since yesterday, her heavy breathing has improved and her beak is only occasionally open, she has an improved appetite, and is hobbling around more. However, I have noticed that she is twitching her head now every few minutes and has a mild runny nose.

Today is illness Day #4, and it is clear that she is favoring her L foot over her R. I'm concerned that she may have some mechanical injury to the R foot (fracture, tendon, ligament) or a localized infection (bacteria? mites?). I have palpated both legs all the way up and do not feel any laxity or give, there is no obvious swelling or redness, and there is no evidence of bumblefoot or other lesions. She is moving all toes and clenching my fingers with her feet with appropriate strength. I've included some photos of the R leg; perhaps a more trained eye may pick up something I cannot.

Thanks in advance y'all!
 

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Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium member
8 Years
Apr 3, 2011
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southern Ohio
Sorry about your hen. How high are your roosts? Do you have a rooster who might have hurt her mating? Is a vet again possible for an xray of her leg? Does it seem like her right leg is the one hurting, or is it the left? Does the lest leg appear slightly bent above the ankle in the pic?Amoxicillin usually will not treat a respiratory disease, but it could help with an intestinal or wound infection. The twitching of the head—is that head shaking? Head shaking and heavy breathing might be a symptom of a respiratory virus or bacterial infection. Tylosin or oxytetracycline are antibiotics that would be more suitable to treat a respiratory disease, such as mycoplasma (MG.) A virus would not respond to antibiotics, but would need to run it’s course over time.

I would keep her in a crate or small pen with food and water to force her to rest the leg for a few days. Then see how she is walking. A sprain could take weeks to heal. An xray might show a broken bone which could be splinted.
 

izchief360

Hatching
Feb 11, 2020
3
0
3
Thanks for the response. It is Friday now, and all other symptoms have resolved and the hen is able to walk, but continues having difficulty bearing weight on the R leg. Still have her in a pen indoors and her appetite is fine. I've been doing 20 minute trials of grazing in the backyard, and the limp has improved but is still obvious and she occasionally will stumble when putting the R leg forward.

Beginning to think this is a severe sprain/strain, but hopefully not a fracture. Do not have the funds for a leg xray unfortunately.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium member
8 Years
Apr 3, 2011
49,546
39,706
1,122
southern Ohio
Thanks for the update. Would it be possible to have her foot and leg xrayed by a vet, to look for a fracture? It might help to let her spend some time with the other chickens either supervised or in a dog crate near them, so they don’t forget her. Sometimes when they are apart more than a week, they will attack the chicken who has been gone. Hopefully, her leg will heal.
 
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