hen has hurt leg - 1st timer needs your advice


10 Years
Aug 26, 2009
California, Bay Area
Two days ago I found our 7 month old Dominique in the covered run unable to stand with curled toes on one leg. She could limp around, but she did not look comfortable. She was pretty immobile yesterday so we took her to our neighbor who is a small animal vet. He examined her and said her joint was swollen. He gave her the equivalent of a 7 day cortisone shot to relieve the pain. He looked for signs of bubmlefoot, but could not find any abrasions or lesions. Today both of her feet are curled. And her swollen joint looks bruised - sort of blue/green color. The other leg looks fine, other than the curled toes. We've given her epsom salt baths the last two days which seem to bring some temporary relief. She's currently separated from the rest of the flock during the day and in the coop at night. We've had to put her on the lower roosting pole and taken her off the roost for the last two days. Our run used to have gravel. We just replaced it with sand.

Any ideas what is ailing her?

Should she be separated from the rest of the flock at all times?

The vet recommended not eating her eggs for seven days.

I look forward to your advice.

1st time backyard chicken lover
3 dominiques, 2 ameracaunas, 3 easter eggers
Ask your neighbor would it be safe to give her msm. It's a supplement you can get at tractor and supply. I gave it to my horse when she had an abcess and heaves. It is antiinflammatory which might help but really nto sure what the problem is. Msm is also safe for humans for arthritis I'm just not sure how much to give?
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Any chance she had a bad landing? If there is bruising, it makes me think injury as opposed to anything else. I would keep up the baths, and not add anything medication-wise without talking to the vet. Sometimes people give aspirin for discomfort, but again, I would talk to a vet first.
I wondered if she had a bad landing which is one of the reasons we replaced the gravel with sand. Her feet are still curled and she still has the bruising so I'm not sure what's going on. I hope she's not in any pain. She looks great, has a good appetite and is laying. If it was a bad landing, time will tell.
I would put her in a crate with a heat lamp for a few days, at least. She might be better off confined so she can heal. Do you think she could have a broken leg?
Iris is doing better today. Her toes are still curled, but she's more mobile. Thanks for all of the advice. This was my first incident since starting our first flock in August. I love these gals!

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