Help needed - our one hen can not walk

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LibraLen, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. LibraLen

    LibraLen New Egg

    Mar 13, 2013
    Hi all,

    This is my first post, and I apologise for not introducing myself in the proper portion of the forum and falling in the house with the door like this, but am very concerned about one of our hens.

    We moved into a new house recently and learned on the first day we had to look atfer the 4 chickens and 10 pekins ducks in the backyard.

    I don't know much about keeping chickens at all and require the help of the experienced members in here.

    3 of the chickens have sort of bare necks with feathers on the head, the other one is a normal chicken, fully feathered. They are all hens. The normal one and two fo the bareneck ones lay eggs, about 6 per week each. One bareneck hen does not lay at all.

    One of the laying bareneck hens started having trouble with her left leg two days ago. She would curl it up and sit the whole day, now and again getting up and stumbling/limping a few metres only to sit again. She has not eaten or pooped since then.

    Today she seems to have curled up both legs and also just sits down all the time. She has still not eaten and did not flinch when I picked her up and put her in a less exposed place. She prefers sleeping outside of the coop at night. (I live in South Africa and it is summer here now, we have no temps below about 18`C at night and up to about 30`C at day)

    She made an effort to ruffle her feathers and clean under her wings after moving her. See seems strong and calm and not in pain at all.

    We were hoping that she'd recover, but after seeing her get worse in a day, we want to take her to the vet tomorrow.

    I have seen about 4/5 threads here on one page (I guess in the last few days) related to these type of problems. I have seen the reference to Marek's disease etc.

    What could the possible problem be, and are the other hens and/or ducks also at risk.

    What can we do to make things better for her ?

    What preventative measures can we implement to keep our birds healthy ?

    We feed them yellow maize, 3 times a day and fruits and vegetables periodically. They get fresh water every day and their chicken coop and nests are lined with lucerne.

    Any comments, advice, guidance welcome.

    Thank You
  2. etammy

    etammy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2012
    Welcome. Try giving them some vitamin B12 if you can. They also need lots of protein, that list of food did not sound like it had any protein in it. Can you get them chicken feed?. You can get electrolyte solution for the water also, gives them a boost. The vitamins may help with the symptoms of Merke's disease, that's my guess, no evidence, other than a sick hen unable to walk, after two weeks of vit. B12 she was fine and lived another 3 years. Give your hens some protein too, meat, bugs...
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Vitamins are good as well as feed for hens that lay eggs. Or, since you have ducks, you can feed something made for all birds. I would say that Marek's is a possibility, especially if they came from somewhere other than a hatchery or incubator. If she's not eating or pooping, you should be thinking of her quality of life.

    "If" she has Marek's, your hens run the risk of dying and there's nothing you can do. Your ducks will probably be fine. I have some links in my signature that have some good information on Marek's. But try everything you can, it could be something else, like needing vitamins.
  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    yes id try the vitamins first to see if improvement if no improvement get her tested from vet. best of luck to you!
  5. LibraLen

    LibraLen New Egg

    Mar 13, 2013
    Thank you for the prompt response and good advice,

    We will try the vitamins, and some laying-feed.

    RE: the protien, they roam the yard and a multitude of bugs, grasshoppers, worms and other crunchy creatures forms a significant part of their diet, they spend most mornings and afternoons "hunting" for them (It's just too hot midday, and they go seek shelter then).

    They were not very happy when we moved in. Their coop was a mess, the yard was dirty and overgrown, they slept outside, almost lay no eggs and seemed to shy away from us.

    After cleaning up the coop, the yard etc, they (other than this one that's having troubles) moved back into the coop for roosting at night, they started laying eggs and started to become comfortable with us around, even allowing me to touch them. Their behavious have changed alot and they all seem soo happy now, until this occured to this one hen. The others seemed worried and comes and checks up on her now and again.

    Why would such signs appear out of the blue without signs of progressively getting worse.

    Does Marek's show up like this ? One day fine and the other day immobile ?

    Thanks again for the replies and guidance.


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