Hen Falling to the Left Side


Aug 5, 2010
Olympia, Washington
I had a friend call me last night distraught that her favourite hen could barely stand up. She was cuddling Caramel, the hen, just the day before, but yesterday she kept tipping over to her left, walking splay-footed to support herself, but when examined showed no signs of lumps, broken bones, or wounds. Today she can only stand in brief bouts at best, otherwise she's laying on her left side, propping herself with her wing. She won't eat or drink.

Does anyone know what this might be? It sounds like a stroke to me. The only diseases I can remember off the top of my head are Merek's and New Castle's, but the one I'm thinking of causes the bird to twist its neck around, and Caramel is not doing that.
Update on Caramel: Her owner brought her to visit me the other day, and she's clearly not diseased. No respiratory disteress, no nasal discharge, eyes were bright and she was alert and energetic, albeit weak. Whenever she tried to peck at food ( which she's occasionally eating and drinking now, but it seems she's having difficulty swallowing and it tires her out quickly ), she'd miss, always overshooting in the same direction. She was able to stand and walk around, but stumbled and would lie on her left side, using her wing to prop herself up.

Since then, her owner has reported to me that she's been on a roller coaster of being "better and worse". It seems that she's often times worse in the morning, then comes around as the day progresses. She's gone through bouts of twisting her head around, even spinning it, but in the end seems to "even out", so to speak. She spent one day on a heating pad because she went hypothermic throughout the night.

All of these symptoms point towards a stroke from what I can tell. She remains alert and active ( to an extent - she tires easily ), and as I mentioned before, does not show any other signs of potential disease or unrest.

Has anyone had experience with a chicken stroke?

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