Hen has fractured leg. Surgery or let it heal?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MexiChicks, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. MexiChicks

    MexiChicks New Egg

    Jul 5, 2009
    Kirkland, Washington
    I took my 2 year old RIR to the vet today because she has been hoping on one leg for a few days. Turns out it's fractured and the vet referred me to a specialist who wants to do the surgery immediately for a potential cost of $1,000. The vet said that we can't be sure if it will heal or if it does heal she will probably walk with a limp. I have her inside the house, in a box with lots of shavings but I don't know what to do. I don't understand how vets can justify such a cost. Any ideas or experiences with this sort of thing would help immensely! I included a picture of the x-ray the fracture is just above the "hip" right in the middle. You can see a sliver sticking out. The vet said that the muscles contract with a fracture making the bones overlap and that could keep it from healing right on it's own. SIGH![​IMG]
  2. mboreham1

    mboreham1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 14, 2009
    Carmichael, CA
    holy smokes 1k for a hen, i am sure the specialist wants to do it immediately..........

    Our friends beagle came to stay and didnt know the house rules on chickens, long story short, our resident belgian d'uccle ended up hopping on one leg, the other was broken, i couldnt feel a fracture or a dislocation but when she couldnt put ANY weight on it i let my wife who is in nursing school practice her splinting skills - i suggest you save yourself $1000 and splint the leg yourself.

    Get a couple wooden kebob skewers

    Cut the to the length of the broken portion of leg, then attatch a piece of medical tape between the two skewers at the top and bottom so the skewers are held parallel.

    Then wrap the leg with some material, we have yellow sports wrap that i used on my ankles when playing soccer

    Then cradle the hurt part of the leg with the splint.

    Then re wrap the whole leg with more material, splint and all then wrap all of that with medical tape. Tight enough she cant peck it off, not too tight to prevent blood flow.

    She will have a fairly immoble leg - thats the point, she will continue to struggle to put weight on it for a good week and a half to 2 weeks, we changed the wrap once in 4 weeks because it was nasty dirty from her being outside in the coop. The leg healed, she still sometimes favors her left leg over her right but 7 months later, she is the best momma I have and is fighting fit.

    Apart from the first night, she was outside the whole time, days 2, 3 and 4 i had to manually place her on the low roost at night, when i woke up, she was down and hobbling around with the rest of the ladies, day 5 she got up there on her own.

    DONT pay $1000, i promise you can get the exact same result with a little TLC of your own
  3. MexiChicks

    MexiChicks New Egg

    Jul 5, 2009
    Kirkland, Washington
    Thanks! You've given my husband and I hope that we can go with the splint method and see how it goes. Wish us luck and I will try to post about how it's going.

    She's the top hen in the pecking order so I am thinking i will want to keep her inside the house, but for how long? I'm afraid with the cold weather and her status, she could get picked on and stressed more by being outside. The vet also said she was concerned about her weight, but that's the least of my worries. We will fatten her up by spoiling her with lots of treats and being sedentary while her legs heals. Fingers crossed!
  4. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Before I read the poster above I was going to mention splinting. I think I would use popsicle sticks, chop sticks, or something with rounds edges, it seems like skewers could poke her in the wrong spots...
  5. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    You can also buy casting material off ebay. It soaks in warm water for a few mins, you wrap it and it sets in seconds. Make sure to put some gauze etc.. between it and the leg to keep from chaffing. Neat to see an egg in the Xray.
  6. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    I'm not a vet, but boy at $1000 to fix a chickens leg I sure wish I was.

    A cast is going to be a problem in this case. Really for a cast or even splinting to work the joint both above and below needs to be isolated. Because the break is in the upper bone that means the hip and knee needs to be isolated so it cant move and apply pressure to the break and thats a problem.

    My inclination would be to cull, but if I did try to treat it I think I would be inclinded to get the chicken immobilized in some sort of sling and try to traction the bones back in place or at least try to prevent them being pulled past each other more, then let things heal for a good couple weeks before allowing the hen any movment.

    Sorry, No way on earth I would spend a grand on a chicken with a broken leg.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  7. MexiChicks

    MexiChicks New Egg

    Jul 5, 2009
    Kirkland, Washington
    Thanks everyone for your replies. It's been two weeks since we found a vet who performed the surgery. He put a pin in her leg and she is doing well now. She'll be inside in a large shipping box for four three more weeks until the pin comes out. We didnt end up
    Going to the $1k vet but another guy who was great and willing to save costs and return her to functionality. She's been
    On antibiotics and antiparasitic medication and seems
    To be doing ok still hoping on one leg. I'm just glad she's not suffering and on her way to hopefully a full recovery.
    Splint wouldn't have worked because it was an internal bone the femur or "drumstick".
  8. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    mexichicks--having been in veterinary medicine and behavior for many years it was not a bone that could be splinted easily and probably would fail if you tried. It seems you were able to to find a willing vet to help you and your hen. Their bones are different than ours so its not easy to do!
    You are such a wonderful chicken mom and have gone further than many would--well I would've but then again I am not normal by most standards [​IMG] .
    I wish your girl well and lots of Kudos to you! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  9. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    It pays to shop around too. Not everyone is doing it just to get rich.
  10. BlackBart

    BlackBart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    I fixed my chickens leg myself. It would have been nice to have another pair of hands to hold the leg straight while I wrapped and splinted it, but it healed. She limps a bit but otherwise she is fine.
    She lived in a box, in the house for 5 weeks. She even layed some eggs while she was recuperating.

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