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Chicken walks funny, holds tail down, doesn't eat

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KarinC, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. KarinC

    KarinC New Egg

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    Apr 29, 2007
    I have 5 hens that I keep in a good sized coop area.
    I have a white leghorn hen that is about 3 1/2 yrs old.
    She has been in excellent health until a few days ago.

    She is walking funny, sort of like "pigeon toed" - her hips seem to be spread out more than my other hens. (again - just recently, she wasn't like this a week ago). She walks differently than the other hens.

    When she tries to eat or drink, her tail is held down, not up like the other hens, and like she used to hold her tail up all the time. Also, when just standing, her tail is often down.

    She has lost her appetite and isn't eating much. I offered her oatmeal with hard-boiled egg - normally a treat. Last night she did eat that, and this morning she wasn't interested.

    Yesterday evening I gave her a warm bath and swept her vent to check for an egg or anything else. I couldn't feel anything and nothing came out of her.

    All of my hens eat Layena lay pellets morning and noon, and a sprouted grain mixture in the evening. They have access to oyster shells all the time. I give them ACV in their water and fresh garlic whenever I remember. (about 3 times a month).

    She has no respiratory problems. She looks otherwise healthy.

    She has very small poops and that's probably because she hasn't been eating. She feels very thin and skinny.

    One more thing, I lost a hen a couple months ago to similar symptoms as this hen is displaying. I never found out the cause of her death.

    Does anyone have any ideas about what I can do or what is going on here?

    thanks,
    Karin
     
  2. hencackle

    hencackle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
    You said the hen holds her tail down...is her vent also pointed towards the ground? Would you even say she walks like a penguin? Have the quality of her eggshells changed as well? I'm wondering if she has become an internal layer.
    Stephanie
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2007
  3. KarinC

    KarinC New Egg

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Hmmm, I just looked at her to see if her vent points to the ground and she's sitting down.:|

    From what I can tell, it doesn't look like she's about to lay an egg or anything when she's standing. It just looks like it's uncomfortable for her to stand in general and she prefers to sit, more and more. Tail is down when sitting. She always used to hold her tail almost straight up, I remember.

    Her eggshells may have been getting thinner lately. I have another white leghorn and can't tell which eggs were from whom, but yes, some white eggshells have been quite thin.

    I'm not sure what an internal layer is, or means. Is there anything I can do about this? Like I said, I already tried the warm bath with no success. Also, she is not eating! I'm very concerned about that.

    Karin
     
  4. KarinC

    KarinC New Egg

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    Apr 29, 2007
    And also, yah, she does kind of walk like a penguin.
    Karin
     
  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    She could also be eggbound...
    Sometimes the shells get too thin and break inside her also.
    The thin shells can also make passing the egg difficult for her to pass.
    Also older hens have less reserves of calcium in their bones.
    Try putting Apple Cider Vinegar with the "mother", the organic stuff that looks like Sangria, in their water. It helps the calcium apsorption.
    Also give Oyster shell calcium. I have a box that I bought at the petshop.
    Put your ailing hen in the sink in some warm water. It will help loosen her muscles to help her pass the egg a little bit easier. Let her soak for about 15-20 minutes. Then dry her off and make sure to keep her warm.
     
  6. KarinC

    KarinC New Egg

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Quote:Thanks for your suugestions. I did give her another warm bath in the kitchen sink for about 15 minutes. (She really wanted to get out!) All the while I was massaging her underbelly and felt in her vent a few times to encourage passing whatever may be troubling her. Nothing came out, not even any poo. She did seem to like the warm water for a bit and did relax, though.

    I dried her off with a blow dryer and am holding her in a towel.

    I don't think the bath will help her live but maybe I gave her some comfort. I will try the other suggestions, but am afraid she won't make it through the next day or two. She's very sleepy and having a hard time standing in the kennel I have her in, probably because it's slippery in there. But I don't know where else to isolate her and keep her safe.

    Anyway, thanks again.

    Karin
     
  7. echix

    echix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2007
    TEXAS
    I had this happen recently (2 days ago) to one of mine - same symptoms - tail down walking funny - etc. I felt her crop and it was a tiny hard little ball. I gave her some reglan and masagged it for a day or so and put her on Baytril and it went away today but she is still a bit under the weather. She passed a bunch of grass and stuff.... have you checked the crop on yours to ensure it is empty or squishy and not a hard mass? Could be that... could be the internal lay thing but I am experiencing the same and it was a crop issue.
     
  8. KarinC

    KarinC New Egg

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Quote:As a matter of fact, when I was holding her today I did feel that her crop was like a tiny hard little ball. Wow, I'm amazed that crop problems could produce such seemingly unrelated symptoms!

    I don't have an reglan or baytril on hand. What else do you think would work? I could probably get baytril at my feed store tomorrow but isn't reglan a prescription drug?

    I hope I can help her through this thing! Please keep the suggestions coming.

    thanks,

    Karin
     
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
  10. KarinC

    KarinC New Egg

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Here it is a few weeks later and this chicken is still alive! [​IMG]

    She has been in the living room inside a dog kennel all this time. She looks a LOT better than when I first wrote. I was almost sure this hen was going to die but never gave up because she didn't.

    She is walking pretty normally and even holds her tail up most of the time. She has developed her appetite again and here's the problem. I'm running out of ideas of what to feed her.

    She still refuses to eat the regular lay pellets that the other hens eat. I also give them a sprouted grain mixture once a day and she's not interested in that either.

    She does like sprouted whole grain bread, soaked with water. And I give her a hard boiled egg every day, which she loves. She hates oatmeal. She loves most kinds of fresh veggies that I cut up for her. But what else can I give her?

    You must understand that she was so thin, I was desperate to get her to eat anything. That's why I'm still concerned now about feeding her correctly to build up her strength and hopefully one day rejoin the flock. (Right now the others just want to attack her and she doesn't run away).

    Any ideas on what else I can feed this chicken to build up her strength?

    Also, she has what I would call diarrhea (sp?). She poops very liquidy poops very often. It messes up her underside feathers. I have been dealing with this problem by washing it off with a hose nearly every day. What can I give her to help with her diarrhea?

    thanks,
    Karin
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2007

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