Hen lightly mauled three days ago... can't walk?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JudithKerlin, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. JudithKerlin

    JudithKerlin In the Brooder

    Oct 8, 2013
    Our hen managed to dig her way under the fence and got cornered by neighbor's dog. We rescued her fast, before there was even any chance for dog to break skin anywhere, and I can'r detect anything broken, but she can't walk. Both her legs work, in the sense that she can push with them (she's been kicking herself out of the infirmary basket and managing to push herself along a few feet before I come running and calm her down) but she can't balance, or stand up without me helping hold her. The day after the little dog got her she pooped and laid an egg; since then two days of nothing and just pooped tonight for the first time in three days. She seems like she can hold up her head in normal position and reach out her beak a little to peck, but something is wrong with her ability to move her whole head and neck up and down; when tilted forward she can't seem to haul her head up. I've been giving her water and access to food hourly (every few hours at night) but she doesn't want to eat or drink; I get some water down her by dipping her beak in the water she she swallows it down, but she won't go for food or water herself even if it's right under her beak, and I haven't been able to get any food down her since she was willing to eat a cut-up grape the other day cut up tiny and placed in beak. I've tried soft foods, regular foods... maybe she can't even see them? she ignores food entirely.

    I'm keeping her warm and attending to her, but it's a matter of time if she can't or won't eat. I nursed her back to health from a bad raccoon bite last year (she had managed to hide so effectively no one could find her at dusk, and apparently the raccoon was able to bite her on the butt but not haul her out of her hiding spot!) but this is just a mystery-- she could have somehow fractured neck or back, or had a stroke from being so scared, or...? I cherished hopes it was something sprained that would heal...

    If anyone has any clues, or things I could test to figure out what's wrong and help her get better...? It's very strange, she was able to pull one foot up yesterday and scratch an itch on one cheek, her legs aren't paralyzed but she can't seem to coordinate enough to stand. Back to getting her a little water down. She's a dear hen, hatched right into my hands and had to be raised by me instead of mama hen when mama hen wouldn't believe chick was one of hers!


  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'm so sorry this happened.

    Dog attacks can easily result in serious internal injuries even when there is little sign of injury when looking at their skin. Honestly, it sounds to me like she might well have two broken or crushed hips, or perhaps upper thigh bones. They will often refuse to eat or drink right after a predator attack due to pure shock, as I imagine you know, but at this point I wonder if it is pain that is holding her back. Have you tried an aspirin? Dosage is approximately 25 mg per pound of chicken's body weight each day, if you can get it in her, of course (a standard baby Aspirin is 80 mg, and a standard adult Aspirin pill is 325 mg). It seems unlikely that aspirin would manage serious pain, but maybe you can at least get a clue about the amount of pain she might be in. If she was able to scratch herself with a foot, she's not paralysed, although of course there could still be a spinal injury of some sort. If you want to push the issue, you could tube feed her, though it would be important to get her well hydrated before starting that. Of course, if you do manage to get her eating and drinking again, you could very well be dealing with a "special needs" chicken for the rest of her life.

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