Help! Recent freeze has left 6 of my chickens Lame-Can't walk!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sequoiacyclist, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. sequoiacyclist

    sequoiacyclist Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Visalia, CA
    First and foremost thank you all for your help. The last two days we have experienced a cold snap with temps at night easily falling to 30 deg. This morning I woke up and found 6 of my chickens (large breeds, 2 roosters and 4 hens all around 8-10 months old) lying on the ground. When I went to pick them up and set them back down they act as if their legs don't work anymore and they flop down with their legs sprawled out. I have checked for signs of bumble foot and I did not notice anything out of the ordinary. I thought that it might be frostbite, but their combs and wattles are ok. What is wrong with them? Today I moved them out into the sun and placed a shallow dish of food and water in front of them and they ate and drank, but did not move otherwise the rest of the day. Tonight I have moved them all into a smaller area with a heat lamp on them, but I still have not seen any improvements. Any ideas? Thank you! Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  2. birdicus7

    birdicus7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2010
    Coatesville, PA
    A little more info might help. Were they inside on roosts? Outside on the ground? I don't think 30's is cold. They are feather insulated birds that cover their feet while roosting to sleep. It sounds like something else to me....bad food? Poison...Not sure on this one, but I don't think cold is your culprit.
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    It initially didn't sound like the cold to me either.. hopefully someone will come along soon with more insight! Hope your birdies are ok! [​IMG]
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Has any food gotten moldy from the weather? It can cause leg paralysis. Definitely check all food and under the feeders, and in the cracks and dark corners. Check the feed bag as well.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I agree, 30 degrees should not cause problems with the birds--30 below maybe but not +30--I suspect there is another problem, most likely something they ate. On the other hand, if they were sick before the temperatures fell that may have triggered it but there is not cause/effect thing going on. I suspect too that why the heat lamp is doing not good, the birds are sick, not cold.
  6. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Try some Vitamin D-3 and/or Vit. E.

    I had a 18 month old hen who was walking sideways and crouching and, in general, just wasn't getting around well and posted a question here about it. Someone suggested a Vit. D deficiency and I started to supplement her and the rest of them.

    Here in Colorado, until two nights ago, we've had an Indian Summer and the leaves would not leave the trees so my hens had little to no sunlight at all. It's possible that they just ran a bit short on the Vit. D.

    So I got some electrolytes for chickens; it has Vitamin D and I give them a half strength mixture of that in their water. In addition, once a week, I put two drops of 2000 unit Vit D and two drops of 400 unit Vit E in a small bowl of their crumbles and pour hot water from the kettle over it and mix it up good. After it cools I take it out and put clumps down for my six girls to eat.

    Within a week, my hen was walking straight again.

    Don't give too much Vit. D. I only did it once a week at a fairly small dosage. Now that the leaves are gone, the sun's back in the yard.

    If a chicken is well fed and watered and can stay dry and out of drafts, 30 degree temperatures shouldn't faze them. It's down to 14 degrees here right now. It's possible there's something else going on.

    Make sure that they have enough ventilation if they're inside.

    Good luck,
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The cold (and that isn't really cold at all for a chicken) didn't do this to your birds. Could be botulism or Marek's disease or something else entirely.
  8. sequoiacyclist

    sequoiacyclist Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Visalia, CA
    Well, its definitely not botulism because I buy food weekly and they go through a fresh bag every 2-3 days. I checked the bags that I just bought and they seem to be ok. They have also been vaccinated for Marek's, so that is not the culprit either. I will try the vitamin D supplements. They are still alive this morning, but still not able to walk. When I found them they were on the floor in the coop. Usually they roost inside the coop on their perch. They will eat food and drink water if I place it within reach. I have placed them on antibiotics for a couple of days in case it is some sort of infection. Thank you for your suggestions.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Botulism doesn't necessarily come from the feed. If they eat maggots off something dead, those can carry botulism or if they get mold from around the water. Feed can mold on damp ground as well. The Marek's vaccine doesn't prevent the disease, but prevents the associated tumors from forming, but if they were vaccinated, that probably isn't it. What I do know is that the weather did not cause this.
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Best of luck. Freezing weather wouldn't cause paralysis. Sounds like a mystery.

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