Favorite hen has lost use of legs over past week!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GinnySheller, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. GinnySheller

    GinnySheller Hatching

    Aug 24, 2010
    Hi, I am new here, and hoping someone can offer some advice. One of our hens, whose name is Trouble, was discovered in the run on Monday the 16th, unable to walk. We separated her from the other chickens (we have 22 hens, two roosters, and two chicks hatched last may), moving her into a portion of the run we reserve for broody hens/chicks. This is our first flock, and Trouble is about 15 months old. Our chickens eat a basic layer crumble and free range for about eight hours each day. There are no apparent health problems amongst any of our other chickens. While I have read that it isn't always effective, the original flock, including Trouble were all vaccinated for Marek's.
    I brought Trouble indoors about a week ago to keep a closer eye on her. She is not eating much and I rarely see her drink, although she must be drinking when I am not around to still be with us! I have been feeding her a variety of foods, whatever she will eat: Blueberries, cottage cheese, oats, grated apple, egg yolk, watermelon, and dry cat food, and I am sometimes sprinkling the contents of a B-complex capsule on her food, but worry that she doesn't like the taste. She won't touch chicken feed at all.
    Her legs have gradually gotten weaker over the past almost two weeks and now she is hardly moving them at all. We have been holding her and encouraging her to put weight on them to hopefully prevent atrophy. At first she would bounce up and down. Now she hardly moves them at all. We have tried putting her in a tub of water several times (she needed a bath anyway-never thought I would bathe a chicken!) and she kicks her legs there. I thought that might be good therapy for her legs, and it is also necessary to clean her up since she is sort of messy when she uses the bathroom. After a bath she spends some time on a heating pad set to low so she doesn't get too cold.
    She is only having a b.m. every 36 hours or so and it is dark as would be expected based on her diet (from the blueberries-similar to what is in a baby's diaper after eating lots of them).
    While her legs seem to be getting more useless, her feathers look beautiful and have grown back in on her back where it was plucked bald from the roosters. Her eyes are clear and she is very alert.
    I plan to contact a vet on Monday, although we swore we wouldn't turn these guys in to pets...
    Trouble is our favorite of the flock-why oh why does it have to be her??
    I would appreciate any advice.

  2. tamelroy

    tamelroy Songster

    Jan 19, 2009
    I would give her some electrolytes and vitamans until someone w/more knowledge can answer for you. You can use gatorade or sugar water, pedialyte (sp?) for electrolytes and baby vitamans without iron.

    I am having some problems with mine this year too! I am going crazy [​IMG] trying to figure out what is wrong with mine.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  3. GinnySheller

    GinnySheller Hatching

    Aug 24, 2010
    Thanks for the advice! I just spent nearly fifty dollars at the drugstore on supplements for her!
  4. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Songster

    Jul 3, 2009
    When you brought her in did you bring in the oyster shell? I have a hen with the exact same symptoms. I thought she had been injured but the vet thought not. He diagnosed calcium deficiency as she is just coming into lay. We have oyster shell free choice but heat interferes with the hen's ability to process calcium (because it depletes vitamin D) and it has been hot here. We are getting a lot of soft shell eggs. I don't know if it is because they are just coming into lay or if there is a calcium problem.

    Anyway, back to the chickens! When I brought her in she could still stand but could not take more than 2 steps and limped very badly. After a few more days she wouldn't stand at all and it seemed to be both sides rather than just the right. At the vet he gave her an IV of calcium and I brought the oyster shell in to offer her free choice. She did eat a ton of it. The day before I took her to the vet she layed her very first egg. It was perfect. The morning I took her to the vet she layed a completely soft shelled one. Next she layed a mostly hard one with soft spots and today layed another hard one (but without the beautiful dark speckles of her first one---She is a welsummer)

    BUT she is still not walking. I don't know if the vet was right or not. She is doing a little better as she is trying to stand. (But can't) Before she wasn't even trying though.

    Hope it goes well. Chickens are kind of complicated! I would up her nutrition (hard boiled egg has vitamin D) polyvisol too. I don't know but I sure hope she gets better.

    ETA I think that vitamin B deficiency can cause neurological issues too. Not sure on this.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010

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