Chicken lying on her back

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PetMomSuzanne, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. PetMomSuzanne

    PetMomSuzanne In the Brooder

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    A number of weeks ago (it must be going on for 6 weeks), I had a pair of foxes go through our yard and took out our rooster and 4 hens, injuring a 5th. We have 2 coops, both with their own rooster, but had lost our other roo the week before to illness. After the foxes went through, we "circled the wagons", putting all the hens into one coop and resurrecting the poultry fence.

    The only visible wound the injured one had was a puncture to the upper right chest, just below her crop. It bled heavily for a short time, and by the time I found her, it had stopped bleeding (she fell on that side in snow, so maybe the pressure and cold helped stop the bleeding).

    I brought her inside and put her in a large tote with food and water in our storage room (in-floor heating and lots of natural light which she obviously enjoyed). She always lay on the injured side, although she managed to move around in the tote. After a few days, I put her on some newspaper on the floor so I could clean out the tote and came back to find she had moved off the paper and was lying on her side and "bicycling" her feet, then rolled herself onto her feet and took a few very wobbly steps, using her wing as a crutch.

    I tried putting her back in the coop with the other chickens, but they immediately attacked her, gouging her comb. In desperation, I put her in the second coop, and was surprised that she could move around quite a bit, although it was kind of an uncoordinated stagger, like a toddler first learning to walk. She took a few tumbles/somersaults, but quickly rolled over onto her feet again.

    I hadn't had a chance to clean out the coop she was in, plus was planning on pressure washing it when it warmed up, and discovered to my horror she had lice. Dusted her and the coop heavily with DE, but also noticed at the time she was terribly thin. She doesn't seem to recognize the feeder, but will eat hungrily if I put the food on the floor.

    She didn't seem to be getting any better, and I was considering euthanizing her. Then we got a new rooster and found she'd managed to make it outside to check him out, and didn't have the heart to do her in. However, in the last week, I've noticed she can stand, but can't seem to straighten up -- her head is down, tail up in the air, and often is resting on her chest. Then the other day I found her lying on her back in a patch of sunlight in the coop. Thought she was dead until she moved her head. Then yesterday, I found her lying on her back on cold, damp ground, and when I opened the coop this morning, she was lying on her back where she sleeps. I'm at my wit's end what to do with her ..... I guess I thought, given time, that she'd heal, but while she's hanging in there, I don't see an improvement.
     
  2. Lauren Kim

    Lauren Kim Songster

    She cannot walk? She might have Marek’s disease.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    How long ago did you find the lice? DE will do nothing to kill them. It's possible she is totally worn down, anemic b/c of the lice. They will move like wild fire through your flock and coops. Are you positive it's lice, and not mites? Do a thread search for types of lice and mites to make sure you know what you are up against. You will need to treat her thoroughly with permethrin, as well as completely clean her coop and destroy the litter. Then, treat the coop, be sure to treat the roosts and nest boxes. I suggest that you treat your entire flock, including their housing, and repeat the procedure again in 7 - 10 days to kill any eggs that will hatch after first treatment.

    If you have not given her a good multi vitamin, you should also do that on a regular basis. If she is still not improved, do the kind thing, and euthanize her.
     
    Smuvers Farm and bobbi-j like this.
  4. PetMomSuzanne

    PetMomSuzanne In the Brooder

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  5. PetMomSuzanne

    PetMomSuzanne In the Brooder

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    No, she was having problems walking after being injured by a fox. I can't help but wonder if there was an injury to her spine
     
  6. PetMomSuzanne

    PetMomSuzanne In the Brooder

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  7. PetMomSuzanne

    PetMomSuzanne In the Brooder

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    Permethrin, I haven't heard of that but will check it out. Yes, it's lice, I looked it up online. *sigh* I was planning on completely cleaning and disinfecting the coop before putting any other chickens in there, but it was the only place I had for her at the time. I'd cleaned out all bedding and put fresh in, but guess I just gave them a fresh host. I agree it might be kindest to euthanize her :-(
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

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    It's so hard to make that call. I know our instinct is to try to help, but sometimes we have to draw that line and decide what's best for the chicken. Before I euthanize, I think about what the chicken's quality of life will be, or currently is. Is it fair to the chicken to have to tube feed it or keep picking one up for weeks on end because it can't stand up, hoping it gets better? What will its life be like after it gets better? Will it recover completely, or will it always be weak and have to be separated from the rest of the flock? There are some conditions that keep happening over and over once a chicken has them (like prolapsed vent). Do I want to have to put my chicken through the discomfort of having to fix that every few months?

    I think it's great that you are giving her a chance, and that you are thinking about what might be best for your hen.
     
    lazy gardener likes this.
  9. PetMomSuzanne

    PetMomSuzanne In the Brooder

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  10. PetMomSuzanne

    PetMomSuzanne In the Brooder

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    Thanks....that was all the things I was thinking over and worrying about. Couldn't reintegrate her into the flock, so it was a pretty lonely existence. I'd actually just asked my son to put her down :-(
     

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