Hen broke her leg - any advice/experience with this?


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 8, 2011

My RIR hen broke her femur today. The vet has seen her and said surgery (metal plate and pins) is an option but it is cost prohibitive for me. They also said I could take her home, give her some pain meds, and see if she'll heal up on her own. She's here in my living room in a cage, safe and warm, and is eating and drinking, which is promising. Has anyone ever had this happen? What kind of luck did you have with the healing process? I understand the leg may not heal properly and she may limp, but it's better than putting her to sleep.

I also know chickens don't show pain - I'm concerned I'm being cruel to her by trying to save her.....I'd welcome any advice/shared experience if anyone has any.

Thank you in advance.....

- Meg
I have cast and healed lower legs but never a femur. Is the bone displaced or still straight? What did the Vet say? About all you can do is keep her in a small cage to limit moving and wait.....it takes 2-3 weeks for the leg to mend. She might or might not have a limp, depends on how mis-aligned the bone is. I hope that is helpful...lol
Hi, the vet (who is not chicken savvy) said it was a bad break and that they couldn't cast it because of its location. They estimated 8 weeks for healing but again, were basing this on a good faith guess. I like your estimate better. :)

She seems to be doing better today...hungry and thirsty and alert. Moves around a bit in the cage. I think I'm going to let her try to heal up and pray for the best. She's a sweet old thing - definitely deserves a chance.

Thank you so much for getting back to me and helping to relieve some of my worry. Sounds like you've had some success which gives me hope!
So glad to hear that! When the vet said it was a "bad" break did he elaborate? After paying to see him, you should know alittle more than that. Whether it be bird/dog/or cat any vet knows what a broken bone is. That tells you basiclly nothng...... Did the bone get displaced? A few more details please, it will help with her healing.
Because bird bones are very porous [to be light weight] they are harder to heal, but chickens are very very resiliant creatures and can over come a heck of alot.....

I am going to show you a picture of LIMPY my extended family rooster [he lived where I keep my horse] I befriended him as a youg'un because of his leg. He got stepped on as a chick and got a compound fracture of the leg at the joint, NO ONE interviened to help him and he healed on his own and lived for 3 years till his kidneys stopped working. Now THIS is a bad break and he lived a good life and was able to roost up high etc..... I watched over him because he was shunned by the others.....and we became friends......


Hugs to your birdie! :hugs

they said it was a break that went straight across to top of her femur. I did not see the x-ray unfortunately. It is also near an 'air sack'? I don't know what that is all about other than they said its location would make surgery difficult because of that air sack, the chicken's respiratory system, and the need for two types of anestesia. It was not a compound break.

She seems to be doing ok - hungry as ever and very alert. Moves around a little bit in the cage too. I put the cage outside so she could see her 'sisters' and she perked right up. They all gathered around and 'talked' a bit.

I loved the picture above! What a beautiful bird! So glad he had you to give him a safe and happy life. Gives me a lot of hope for Ginger.

Thanks so much.....nice to have someone to chat to when I'm worried. Not a lot of chicken keepers in my part of Massachusetts.
Thanks for all that info, yep, you will have to wait it out. There are alot of muscles/tendon and ligaments in that area so they will help keep the break from shifting as long as you keep her on the ground and confined. Good idea to place her where she can see her buddies, it really does help....Doe she have nice soft shavings to sleep on? :love
Keep us posted on her progress...It will be a long few weeks for you and henny being confined but in the long run it will be worth it....:fl

Lots of nice shavings, treats, water, etc. She will be spoiled rotten if she makes it through this. She seems better every day. Just need to be patient.

Thanks again! :)

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