Could my hen have a disease instead of an injury?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by patinoklahoma, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. patinoklahoma

    patinoklahoma Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my free-range hens began limping after being out on our ice-covered yard. She worsened and wouldn't put any weight on one leg, so I confined her for two weeks and then began letting her outside in a 2x4' cage for a few hours a day. I suspected she'd sprained something on the ice and saw no evidence of a fracture. She improved and began walking gingerly 3 weeks after her injury.

    During her confinement, she had one day of being unable to open one eye. I assumed she'd stuck a straw into it or something, and the next day it was open and she could see out of it. I see no abnormality to her eye.

    I put her out with her flock and she had to run from the rooster; I brought her in to stay another week after an older hen began pecking at her and she couldn't ambulate well enough to get away. Now, two days after that, she is still able to walk pretty well, but when I offered her food, she'd peck at it but couldn't seem to get to it. The downward movement of her head toward her food always ends 2" from the food. She is obviously hungry, repeatedly trying to get the food but never getting to it.

    She had white, milky stool until I began force feeding her today, and now, two hours later she has some substance to her stool. I have her in the house now instead of the colder garage. She is about 9 months old and has a lot of new feathers coming in, shedding the shafts. She is unsteady, I think more than 2 days ago, but it may be to being starved and/or dehydrated. She was thirsty and after I brought the water up to her beak, she is able to drink without help. She still can't get all the way to her food.

    If anyone has any idea if this could be a disease process instead of an injury, I'd appreciate your input. Thanks very much. Pat
     
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    We need to use caution when birds are exposed to slippery conditions.

    Spraddle legs can occur from your birds not being able to stand on the surface, also it's impossible for your hen to keep her footing when a roo is on top.

    If really slippery conditions exist, it's best to keep your flock safe on good footing.

    bigzio
     
  3. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    oops, sorry to say welcome to BYC, where there is alot of help!

    bigzio
     
  4. patinoklahoma

    patinoklahoma Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2007
    Thanks, Bigzio. Can my hen have only one "spraddle" leg? Do you think spraddle leg is a sprain? Thank goodness the ice is gone now, and I'll be careful next time to keep them in.

    Could her not being able to eat be associated with a head injury from the older hen pecking at her?

    Pat
     
  5. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Pat, birds can be relentless when they discover one is weaker than rest. Isolation for injured birds makes all the difference in the world as far as survival is concerened.

    Depends on the injury, spraddle leg can be very serious if the joint is really bad. It could just be a sprain.

    Being prepared with a place for injured or sick birds is a good thing, she maybe had her head slammed against the hard ground also and time to heal helps. Water for her and treats like yogurt with her feed could help.

    bigzio
     
  6. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What you describe does not convince me that there may not be something else wrong with you bird. Try the links below, it is very helpful in describing illness and diseases in poultry. In the meantime, try to keep the food and water elevated on a block or brick to allow the chicken to eat without your help. Keep a watch on the eye as well. I would also put her on Vitamines and Electrolytes.

    This site has lots of helpful information, you may want to bookmark it for future reference
    http://msucares.com/poultry/diseases/diseases.html


    This one usually is not real helpful in treatment but you can usually do a google search to see what else is out there or you can come back here and someone usually has treated the problem.

    Another good site is:
    http://www.featherfanciers.com/

    The owner of the board has a PHD in poultry management and is very knowledgeable in how to treat sick chickens. He also has an online store for the meds you may need. He gives you the correct dosage for chickens and in a measurement that you can easily use at home without conversion tables.

    And last, http://dlhunicorn.conforums.com/index.cgi This board has a wealth of information by our own Diana Hunicorn. She has researched many issues regarding chicken health and other topics and has compiled that information on her website.

    I hope your chickens will be ok with time and good care.
     
  7. patinoklahoma

    patinoklahoma Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all your input. I decided this could likely be Marek's since she was lame, had an eye problem, and appears to have a neuro problem not being able to peck at her food. I put her down this morn when she was worse than last night. She had a pronounced tremor and worse gait. Darnit! My other chickens appear well, but altho I isolated my sick hen early, they may well be infected also.

    I wonder if I should somehow confirm if this was Marek's. How would I do that?

    Good forum, and very helpful. Thanks again. Pat
     
  8. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry to hear you had to put her down, this is one of the things hardest for me to do, but it's one of things that go with raising any livestock.

    Testing is possible for you, however I think you need to freeze your hen in a good plastic bag, and contact your county agent for help. I'm not familiar with your state practices, but I think they would be interested also.

    bigzio
     
  9. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mareks is what came to my mind as well but I did not want to alarm you. You would need to have a necropsy done and you need to call your local AG extension or a Vet to find out where in your area you can do that. I am not sure about the length of time to get the body to the lab. You would be well advised to have that information handy in case one of your other chickens get sick.

    I am sorry you had to go through this so early in your chicken experience. It is really hard to loose any of our birds but I am sure you made the right decision. I hope this is the last of the problems.

    There is a product out there called Virkon by duPont that has European testing that indicate it kills even the Merek virus. I have seen it in small packaging and you may want to consider a complete disenfecting of your coop just in case. I bought it in a tub as I purchased it locally from a commercial supplier. If you want a small amount to do your coop, let me know, I will send you some for the shipping cost. It comes in powder form and is highly concentrated so it should only be a few dollars.

    Jaynie, Bryant Alabama
     
  10. patinoklahoma

    patinoklahoma Out Of The Brooder

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    Jaynie, your offer is very touching. Thank you. I may take you up on your offer; I'll be in touch.

    I'll "unbury" my hen, freeze her, and take her to somewhere on Monday. My husband buried her for me before I put her in the freezer. It's been below freezing outside, so I hope her body is still good enough to evaluate. You sent me to the dictionary about "necropsy" and I learned it is a synonym for "autopsy". We learn something every day, if we're lucky.

    I've had chickens on and off since '87, but always from McMurray and never have had any health issues. Only coyote issues! Five of my 8 chicks came from a local woman last November, and maybe they came with the problem or maybe a wild bird brought it in. I'll likely never know.

    If another chicken gets ill, I'd probably be well advised to put them all down. But I don't think I can, especially my sweet, gentle rooster who has survived two coyote attacks in the last 3 years and is now blind in one eye.

    I wonder if I can vaccinate them all now and keep them from getting sick?

    Again, thank you. Pat in Stillwater, OK.
     

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