Favorite pet hen has mysterious ailment, help?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mvktr2, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. mvktr2

    mvktr2 Out Of The Brooder

    Our favorite pet hen has come down ill at the end of last week.

    When I noticed our favorite and perhaps best egg laying was missing at close-up time for the coop I found her in the yard just laying there. I soon found out she was in fact ill (possibly injured).

    The problem is she can't stand up. She just wabbles and falls stumbling over on her side. She simply can't get her legs under her. Having checked her for injuries her legs are fine, and it wouldn't be a leg problem anyway as it's as if she has no balance, not an external injury. Thus I suspect after some time observing her it's either neurological or possibly an inner-ear problem, with an outside chance that a dog which has been hanging around got ahold of her not leaving marks but injuring her nervous system.

    Other symptoms were/are that she wouldn't bend her neck to the left, only hanging it down and to the right, even putting it back on her back the way chickens sleep when it's cold. Initially she would hardly keep her eyes open, but is doing better in that regard now.

    My friend the retired vet had me give her mineral oil to help evacuate her bowls incase she'd eaten something poisonous/spoiled. When that didn't work he gave her a shot of steroids. This was all Friday evening and she was quite near death.

    Now it's Tuesday afternoon and she has gotten better, but it's a marginal amount. She is sitting up straight and can stand, or rather squat just a little without flopping around everywhere. She also seems to have more control of her head/neck. Walking or true control of her movements is far out of the question at this point.

    Things I should check for?
    Similar experiences?

    Could an impacted egg or one that burst inside create a similar problem? I ask this as this is a 4lb or less hen who routinely lays 3 oz. eggs with thin shells.
    How would I check for such, just stick my finger in and feel around gently?


    Ps she's a little white leghorn named Spongebob and is our favorite friendly hen that'll follow you right into the house if you let her. She's one of the first 3 chickens we hatched and is very important to my son who teared up when I told her she was sick.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  3. froggiesheins

    froggiesheins Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 14, 2010
    Jurupa Valley, CA
    Is she skinny? Is she eating??? Give her electrolytes and/or vitamin water [like Save-a-chick] high energy foods, like eggs, mealworms etc....
    she could be suffereing from malnutrition / intolerance to the cold [how old is she?] / worms / lice-mites. Start simple and work your way from there.
    good luck..
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Marek's disease is another possibility.

    eta another is a vitamin deficiency. You can get vitamins at the feed store, or get infant vitamins at the drug store and give one or two drops on the side of the beak a day for a few days and see if it helps.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by