HELP!!! Stumbly Chicken - eats but won't move

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Fuster Cluck, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Fuster Cluck

    Fuster Cluck Hatching

    Sep 4, 2014
    Hello everyone! I'm new here. This is my first post. I have 5 hens that make up the Fuster Cluck. One of my girls (she's 1.5 years old) was found yesterday laying in the coop by the feeder. I thought maybe she was dust bathing, but she didn't get up when I walked to the coop - which is really strange.

    I opened the coop door to let them out for the afternoon and got her on video stumbling out. She's very unsteady, using her wings to prop her up and will just flop down.


    Not knowing what to do, I went into sick-chicken mode. Here's what's happened since:

    1) I gave her a warm Epsom salt bath and checked her vent. Not a poopy butt, and vent looks fine. Poked around for an impacted egg, and she looks clear. She looked like she was enjoying it, so I drew her another warm bath to let her relax for another 10 minutes or so while I made her some food. She smells bad - like there's infection somewhere, but I can't see anything out of the ordinary. She's also breathing with open beak off and on, which I think is a bad sign.


    2) Cooked up some oatmeal, mixed it with some of the younger hen's medicated starter feed, coconut oil and olive oil to lube the tubes. I dropped in some vitamin D capsules in it and some Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) capsules. She ate as much as she could reach. I rotated the bowl and she polished most of it off.

    3) Placed her in a cozy pen in the garage for the night to isolate her from the rest of the girls. She stayed put in the same spot for the entire night and didn't get up when we went to check on her this morning.

    4) She had a healthy poop today and laid a soft shell-less egg. First one ever.


    We're cleaning the coop and dusting it with more DE (although we do this regularly). We're scrubbing the food and water feeders incase there was chicken poop in the water or moldy feed in the feeder. We've added ACV to the coops water. Going to keep her isolated another night and give her de-wormer in her water tomorrow with another bowl of warm oily food.

    Any ideas on what this could be? :(
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    If she were mine I would give her a human calcium or tums orally.

    Hypocalcemia, Sudden Death, Osteoporosis, or Cage Layer Fatigue
    Pullets or hens with insufficient dietary calcium, phosphorus, or vitamin D3 may die suddenly or be found paralyzed from hypocalcemia while shelling an egg. This may be associated with high production and withdrawal of calcium from bones for egg shell production, in which case the main lesion may be osteoporosis. At necropsy, there is an egg in the shell gland and the ova are not regressed. There are no other lesions, although medullary bone may be lacking. Paralyzed hens respond to calcium IV, and this response may be useful in diagnosis.
    Hens with osteoporosis may show similar signs at necropsy, or the ova may be regressing with no egg in the oviduct. The femur is always fragile, and medullary bone is always absent in osteoporosis. These hens may also respond to calcium IV if there are no fractures of the legs or vertebrae. Osteoporosis is a major cause of death in high-production flocks.
    The use of large particle size calcium (limestone, oystershell) in the diet may be beneficial.
    Sudden death in broiler breeders coming into production in Australia is associated with low dietary potassium and phosphorus.

  3. Fuster Cluck

    Fuster Cluck Hatching

    Sep 4, 2014
    Kathy, thank you so much for replying. I will give this a try today.

    Do you think she might have cocci? Her sister is limping today and I'm so worried we have something viral.

    Again, thank you so much for responding.

  4. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I agree with Casportpony. Try the tums/calcium and let us know how it goes. I would be really suspicious of a reproductive issue, especially with that soft egg. Is she a production breed hen? It is my great displeasure to say that at a year and a half, she is about at the age where they sometimes start to get problems. Get some calcium in her.

    If it does not seem to help her, or she gets worse... well:

    Please forgive the copy-paste, but this is a lot of information! These are things (other than Marek's disease) that can cause lameness/partial paralysis/etc. I know several of these do not really apply to your situation but I am putting them all here in case anything 'rings a bell' for you.

    That's from the Marek's disease FAQ linked in my signature if you want to read more. I don't really suspect Marek's paralysis given her age, but it's not impossible. Still, I would be looking at other things first.
    How is her sister doing?
  5. Fuster Cluck

    Fuster Cluck Hatching

    Sep 4, 2014
    So we isolated the chicken for 4 days and slung her in a chicken carriage and gave her tons of vitamins, mostly calcium. She got better and went back to normal life in the coop with the others. So to avoid that problem happening again we upped the oyster shells in the feed, have been giving more greens (they don't graze all day, just in the mornings), and have been giving supplements in their water. Now, 2 weeks later we are getting the same symptoms. The other 4 hens are just fine so far. We can't figure out why she would have a recurring calcium deficiency when we have been working to avoid just that. We noticed the other day that her eggs were starting to get very light brown in color. they are usually a deeper brown. But the shell is still strong. Any suggestions????

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