Hen Appears To Have Dislocated Breast Bone? Not Walking or Eating

2GigglyGirls

Chirping
7 Years
Jan 12, 2013
35
5
84
I noticed that one of my hens stayed on her outdoor roost all day yesterday. When I went to put her inside, she made it clear she did not want to be moved - she is not walking at all. I put her inside the hen house and fed my girls and she made no move to eat. So I gave her food where I put her and got her water. I thought she may have had something wrong with her crop but but upon further inspection, it feels like her entire breastbone is off. You can feel a bone (assumed) when you hold her between her legs and it feels like her breastbone is coming up in front of her neck. My teen was the 4H kid and she said this is all bone - not a crop issue. Last week a bobcat tried to get my chickens and they all were in hiding in the hen house. I don't know if she could have gotten injured in her panic? The bobcat did not get in to them. She is young - we got her from the feed store in May I believe. Not the best photo but you can see the swelling up by her face - it is solid. Is there anything I can do?
 

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Melky

Spring has sprung!
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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Edgewood, KY
Keel bone injuries can often times be fractures from trauma often associated with low bone mass. When jumping down from high perches this can happen. I would isolate in crate with own food/water and seek vet care. Make sure perches are no higher than 30 inches and have good nutrition with sufficient protein for age. Oyster shell and poultry grit free choice.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,757
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
I have seen that in birds with Marek's disease. Not saying that's definitely what it is but she is the right age and it is a very common disease with a huge range of symptoms.
The neck becomes contorted and atrophied similar to wry neck but lower down the spine.
You can try vitamin E and foods rich in selenium like egg and tuna and a good quality general poultry vitamin supplement like Poultry cell or Nutri drench but I haven't had one recover from that condition. I think it makes the passage of food through their system difficult. Is she interested in food?
 

2GigglyGirls

Chirping
7 Years
Jan 12, 2013
35
5
84
I have seen that in birds with Marek's disease. Not saying that's definitely what it is but she is the right age and it is a very common disease with a huge range of symptoms.
The neck becomes contorted and atrophied similar to wry neck but lower down the spine.
You can try vitamin E and foods rich in selenium like egg and tuna and a good quality general poultry vitamin supplement like Poultry cell or Nutri drench but I haven't had one recover from that condition. I think it makes the passage of food through their system difficult. Is she interested in food?

No, she has ZERO interest in food. She will drink if I hold the water up to her (like she can't bend over to drink) but even if I offer her food (or treat) I can touch her beak and she glares at me. I am separating her this am and will try egg/tuna. We lost a chicken a year ago to a disease that made it so she suddenly could not walk and was twisted... I thought it was a fluke. :(
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,757
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
No interest in food is not good. I would try to tempt her with anything, but if she will not eat then don't leave it too long before ending her suffering. I would give her electrolytes in her water to support her but if she is still not eating in a couple of days, then it would be kinder to put her to sleep if not before.
We lost a chicken a year ago to a disease that made it so she suddenly could not walk and was twisted... I thought it was a fluke. :(
That is very telling! It is the nature of the disease that it crops up here and there and sometimes with different symptoms each time and people don't connect them or look into it more closely. Most infectious diseases, the victims all get sick around about the same time, but with Marek's it can lie dormant for months or even years and then rears it's ugly head just when you think you are in the clear. It is caused by a Herpes virus like the human cold sore virus and similarly, you cannot tell who has been infected with it and who hasn't until they have an outbreak, usually triggered by stress and that is when they are actively shedding the virus and infectious.

I'm sorry to be so pessimistic about her chances, but I think it is important for people to have the information so that they can make educated decisions for themselves. Would you consider having a necropsy done if/when she does pass? It is helpful to know for sure what you are dealing with so that you can manage your remaining flock accordingly. State veterinary or agricultural diagnostics labs are often subsidised because poultry are considered part of the food chain, even though individuals might be pets. The people at these facilities have much more knowledge of poultry as well as better testing facilities than your average vet and some even perform the service free or for a nominal fee. Others can be more pricey. You don't know until you enquire. Some will even euthanize the bird for you as part of the service. Worth enquiring in advance, so that you know how to proceed if the worst happens. Most labs need the bird to be refrigerated (not frozen) if I dies and shipped on ice packs.
 

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