Help for Deformed Hen

helpforlilpeeps

Hatching
Aug 21, 2019
4
9
6
Hey guys I am posting on behalf of my friend who has a question if any of you guys could help. One of his hens in his flock was born with splay legs. He tried to correct it with splints but had no improvement. The flock was born in March so she is mature as of now but still can't walk. She eats and drinks perfectly normal but has been accustomed to using her wings as her way of mobility. As a result, her wings have lost feathers where she uses them to rub on the surface and get around. I am afraid that this is only going to get worse in time and the risk of infection is very real. Is there anything at all that I can do to sort of "pad" the areas that she uses a lot? I already suggested a harness to protect where she lays on the ground and rubs but most of the damage is on her wings. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
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Idaho

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
One of his hens in his flock was born with splay legs. He tried to correct it with splints but had no improvement. The flock was born in March so she is mature as of now but still can't walk.

has been accustomed to using her wings as her way of mobility. As a result, her wings have lost feathers where she uses them to rub on the surface and get around. I am afraid that this is only going to get worse in time and the risk of infection is very real.

Welcome To BYC!
Photos of the pullet, the wing damage, her belly, legs, etc. would be helpful.

The pullet is only 5 months old so she's not mature and will likely gain even more weight within the first year. Has she even started laying eggs yet?

This is a sad situation for her to be in. I will go ahead and state the unpopular thing and be that person - putting her down may be a kindness. A bird with very limited mobility can end of with infection like you mentioned and moving around like you describe is no way to live. Sorry, this is why I cull chicks in the first week if I can't correct any leg issues.

If your friend can't do that, then they will need to make a commitment of their time to her and get her set-up better. She will need to be tended to daily, cleaned if need be, monitored closely for lice/mites and sores/infections. Even in a sling or wheelchair they can develop sores and need to be monitored and taken in/out of the sling or wheelchair a few times a day. This will be for her lifetime - if that's something they are willing to do and stay on top of then make those suggestions.

A chicken sling can easily be made out of a tote + fabric. Wheelchairs can be purchased or if your friend is handy, they can make their own.
Google "chicken sling" and "chicken wheelchair" you will find images and some videos that will give you some ideas.

If the wings are raw, those need to be tended to. Flush/clean the wounds and apply triple antibiotic ointment (photos of the damage is helpful). A quick sling out the tote+fabric may be a good option for the time being until your friend can get things in order or make a decision on her future.

Keep us posted.
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,394
602
Idaho
Welcome To BYC!
Photos of the pullet, the wing damage, her belly, legs, etc. would be helpful.

The pullet is only 5 months old so she's not mature and will likely gain even more weight within the first year. Has she even started laying eggs yet?

This is a sad situation for her to be in. I will go ahead and state the unpopular thing and be that person - putting her down may be a kindness. A bird with very limited mobility can end of with infection like you mentioned and moving around like you describe is no way to live. Sorry, this is why I cull chicks in the first week if I can't correct any leg issues.

If your friend can't do that, then they will need to make a commitment of their time to her and get her set-up better. She will need to be tended to daily, cleaned if need be, monitored closely for lice/mites and sores/infections. Even in a sling or wheelchair they can develop sores and need to be monitored and taken in/out of the sling or wheelchair a few times a day. This will be for her lifetime - if that's something they are willing to do and stay on top of then make those suggestions.

A chicken sling can easily be made out of a tote + fabric. Wheelchairs can be purchased or if your friend is handy, they can make their own.
Google "chicken sling" and "chicken wheelchair" you will find images and some videos that will give you some ideas.

If the wings are raw, those need to be tended to. Flush/clean the wounds and apply triple antibiotic ointment (photos of the damage is helpful). A quick sling out the tote+fabric may be a good option for the time being until your friend can get things in order or make a decision on her future.

Keep us posted.
May be unpopular but sometimes it is the best for the bird, I noticed they said they tried splints and it didn't work, sometimes it's a fight but you have to keep it on, she didn't state either how long they tried the splinting, think hobbles is better than splinting for splay leg isn't it?
 

helpforlilpeeps

Hatching
Aug 21, 2019
4
9
6
I have recommended putting her down but I am afraid he is too attached to the hen and does not want to put her down unless a serious health issue were to arise. I don't think it can be corrected by this time, as one leg goes completely forward and the other one completely back the opposite way. I don't live in the area and only come to visit every month or so but I can try and get some pictures next time I am over. The areas where she rubs her wings does not seem to be open, just missing feathers. If she does put on weight though it will only get worse and I am afraid it will all go down hill by then. I will suggest a sling or a wheelchair but I really don't think my friend has the time for the type of care that she requires unfortunately. I was hoping of a way to just protect the wings from further damage as she seems to get around to her food and water and back into the coop on her own just fine.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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St. Louis, MO
I too recommend putting the bird down if the situation is as explained.
As described, that is a terrible quality of life and I view it as inhumane.
I occasionally have leg issues with hatchlings whether incubation related or genetic. I have tried fixing them but it rarely works and just isn't worth the time. I usually put them down then and put them out of their misery.
If he is so attached, perhaps he won't mind carrying the bird around and hand feeding her the rest of her life. That is the alternative. Sorry I'm not an expert at prosthetics because I believe in survival of the fittest. In nature, this bird would have died a long time ago. If he is so committed to this bird, he needs to put his thinking cap on and come up with an appropriate prosthetic.
This may sound harsh to some but I raise a lot of chickens and it takes a lot of time that I don't have to run a rehab facility for birds I will never use for breeding. I prefer to spend my time with the 99% of the birds that would survive in nature because of their fitness and vigor. My efforts are better spent making the breed more vigorous. Saving weak birds, makes the breed weaker. That moves things in the wrong direction.
There are those who have rescue operations and want to spend their time caring for animals like this - as misguided as that approach would be.
 
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