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Chicken Idiot (me) Not Sure How to Treat Injured Hen - Non Emergency

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Equussential, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Equussential

    Equussential New Egg

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    Hello, new BYC member, also new to chicken keeping, although my parents raised poultry most of my life, my personal experience is limited to 6-months with a perfectly healthy flock except for a few unfortunate instances of sudden, mortal injury. I’m essentially clueless and am hoping for advice from you knowledgeable folks.

    One of my hens is a 6-month old Black Australorp, roughly 8lbs. To the best of my knowledge she laid her first egg on January 14th; it was a bit smaller than a golf ball, nearly as round and had flaking pigment. For the next two weeks she laid every 2-3 days, only at night, from the roost. I can’t judge the size or quality of the eggs because by the time I found them, they were little more than a sticky spot on the floor. On January 31st, I witnessed her laying in one of the nesting boxes (finally!). She silently and stoically presented me with a lovely 4.1 oz monster egg. February 1st she did not lay. February 2nd she laid another big’un at 3.9 oz. I’m not sure that any of this history is relevant but I figure better too much info than too little.

    Back up to the last week of January... one morning this chicken came out of the hen house limping. Well, “hopping” is more accurate. She didn’t appear to be able to bear any weight on her left leg. I assumed that she hurt herself overnight...possibly being knocked off of the roost. She’s large and clumsy yet insists on choosing the highest spot in the house. She went on about her business (they are all free-ranging) and seemed more or less fine apart from the sore leg. Over the next few days the lameness improved to a point that the slight limp in her gait was hardly noticeable.

    Yesterday (February 3rd) the rooster pounced on her in an extremely ungentlemanly manner. Once the hen shook the dust off, she was again holding her left foot off of the ground. She gimped her way into the yard and parked herself on the lawn, very near my front door. And there she stayed. I brought her food and water and she ate normally but didn’t seem too interested in drinking. I observed her attempting to get up and move several times but she was clearly in pain and, even using her wings as crutches of sorts, was unable to move more than a short distance. When evening came I decided she wouldn’t be safe in the hen house with her lack of mobility, so I brought her in and set her up in a bathtub. She had an uneventful night.

    This morning I went to check on her and while she seems alert and normal in most regards, she is now quietly wheezing. I’m hoping that this is simply a result of laying, mostly immobile for many hours.

    I have examined her closely. The only abnormality I can find is a bare spot along her breastbone with, what appears to be a mild, days old abrasion. No more than a light scuff of the skin there. Her left leg looks perfectly normal but she shows some signs of discomfort when I apply pressure to the hock and she resists straightening of the lower leg. There is no apparent inflammation or evidence of heat. That is to say that both legs are equally warm to the touch because she’s been lying down.

    I want to make absolutely sure that there are no illnesses or diseases (that I am totally oblivious to) that might cause lameness and respiratory symptoms. I actually researched egg binding to assure myself that her abnormally large eggs weren’t somehow causing this (farfetched as it seemed)... I’m at a loss and I guess what I’m trying to figure out here is... should I treat this as a simple injury and if so, what’s the best course of action? Common sense tells me to keep her isolated and allow the leg time to heal – but beyond that I just don’t know. And finally, can I give her an analgesic... aspirin maybe(?) for the pain? If yes, what dosage?

    I apologize for the ridiculous length of this post. Thanks in advance to anyone who might have advice to share.

    Regards,
    Wendy
     
  2. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This deserves a response so I'm bumping it up. Though I don't have an answer for you, I'm thinking that it may be internal injuries caused by the rooster or a fall from the roost. You might think of lowering the roosts for heavy breeds. Hope she's better by now. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  3. Equussential

    Equussential New Egg

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    Feb 4, 2013
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    Thank you. She is no longer wheezing but still can't walk more than a few, odd, shuffling steps, chest down, butt in the air. Intake is normal, output is normal. ..I'm baffled. I plan to remove the highest perches - good suggestion, thanks again.
     
  4. spies04

    spies04 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely isolate her to allow for rest and to prevent further injury. If she is stressed, you may want to have another chicken is quiet and easy going with her.

    Isolation cannot hurt with these symptoms.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2007
    St.Charles, QC
  6. RangingChicks

    RangingChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    I've had good luck using vet wrap. Wrap it around the injured upper leg/thigh, not too tight so you don't cut circulation, but enough to stay on and give support. Leave it for a couple days, then remove it. If it's a sprain that will help.
     
  8. Equussential

    Equussential New Egg

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    Feb 4, 2013
    Texas
    Thanks to all. I genuinely appreciate your responses and input. The patient is currently hanging out with the other girls in the front yard and has stood and shuffled around from time to time. Poor baby walks like she's 90 but I'm going to take the willingness to try as a good sign.
     

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