Hen limping and favoring right leg

Wi_Pida

Songster
Mar 21, 2019
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Gresham, Wisconsin
My hen, Cuddles, has been favoring and limping for the past week and a half. Cuddles is 5 1/2 month old and she is a Plymouth Rock breed.

I first noticed was the change in her behavior when chickens were let out of the run and out in the field for their outings. She is usually a very active hen. But as of a week and a half ago, she would come out with the rest of the hens, make herself a nest and lay there near the other hens.

About 4 she days later I noticed that she was favoring her right leg. Tucking it up under her. About 5 days ago, she started limping. I checked her for bumblefoot, possible inflammation in the legs, made sure the others weren't picking on her, and looked for any wounds.

For the past 2 days, I've had her separated from the others. She doesn't act lethargic, eye are clear and alert. She eats and drinks very well.

I gave her an aspirin today, she's walking around a bit more but I noticed she's almost stiff legged.

I read to try and see if she has an egg blockage. She has not laid an egg since in quarantine. I do have one hen that has been laying an egg approximately every 3 days that a huge jumbo egg. They are double yolkers and sometimes triple. I have a feeling it's her.

Can someone explain to me how to check for an egg blockage and / or anything else that I should be doing to help my little girl. Appreciate any help I can get.

She is the only one showing any troubles and her diet consists of layer feed from the local feed mill. Each night my chickens get feed mill mash mixed with leftovers, fruits and veggies, etc.

Thanks for any help you can give me.
 

EggSighted4Life

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I gave her an aspirin today

Sorry Cuddles is unwell. :(

Although aspirin is the correct thing to give for pain when needed, it's important first to establish if there is pain and if so where it's coming from. It's true limping is often a good indicator of pain and chickens are masters of disguise until they can't.

Pain is actually a good thing, believe it or not. Pain lets us know there is a problem and slows us down so we don't injure ourselves further.

Are you able to post a pic of her or her droppings? Can you examine her again and feel for any hot areas or swelling? When feeling around does she react as if in pain or just general resistance to the handling? How are her legs positioned, are the toes curled? Is she quarantined in sight of the other birds? Were any vaccinated for Marek's? This is a real suspect so I will provide the best link...
Marek's

But PLEASE don't jump to conclusions!

Egg binding could happen but is not *likely* the issue here, according to behavior and how long it's been going on. Bound hens are often not eating or pooing, may stay in the lay box or when out tail pumping or penguin stance and lethargy. So your symptoms don't fit. Those huge multi yolkers are always a bummer to see in this aspect once you've faced it. :barnie To check for blockage most folks will glove up and lube a finger to insert in the vent and see if they can feel and egg... before giving an Epsom salt bath. (The magnesium absorbs through the skin to support muscles and help the bird relax)
https://the-chicken-chick.com/chicken-egg-binding-causes-symptoms/

I would probably supplement vitamins immediately if possible... (part of a crushed human B complex in water, or baby vitamins without iron (if on hand), or poultry Nutri Drench.. while researching possible vitamin deficits such as E, selenium, or riboflavin off the top of my head. Or maybe search "curly toe paralysis".

I would also likely cut out the left overs while confined and consider offering a cooked egg which is rich in many nutrients and has 34% protein (64% fat so not a daily treat). A little canned mackerel can also be used to boost protein and many of the needed nutrients. These things are often very palatable and easy to digest. Since layer usually has about 16% protein, it's important to not diminish too far as the amino acids (and other nutrients) are vitally important.

:fl
 

Eggcessive

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Sometimes it can really help to post a video of her walking and standing to YouTube with a link posted here. I would try some vitamins that include riboflavin for a week or two to see if there is improvement. She might have injured the leg, or have a vitamin deficiency, or Mareks might be possible.
 

Wi_Pida

Songster
Mar 21, 2019
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Gresham, Wisconsin
Although aspirin is the correct thing to give for pain when needed, it's important first to establish if there is pain and if so where it's coming from.

Are you able to post a pic of her or her droppings? Can you examine her again and feel for any hot areas or swelling? When feeling around does she react as if in pain or just general resistance to the handling? How are her legs positioned, are the toes curled? Is she quarantined in sight of the other birds? Were any vaccinated for Marek's? This is a real suspect so I will provide the best link...
Marek's

I would probably supplement vitamins immediately if possible...

I would also likely cut out the left overs while confined and consider offering a cooked egg

:fl

Thank you for your response. Cuddles is in quarantined away from the others but only because I am still building the new hen house and the run extension to it. The old hen house is just to small. In the new hen house, I have a brooder box that I can keep her in if it's a good idea to put a couple of the girls in by her so she don't feel lonely.

As for pain, yes. She is displaying pain when feeling the right leg but there is no heat, swelling or feeling of anything broken. When I gently press on the "knee" area of the leg she pulls it away and cuddles up making a crying sound. That's why I gave her 1/4th of a adult 325 mg aspirin.

As for table scraps, I give only a little to them but haven't given Cuddles any since separated from the others. Instead, I've been giving her water mixed with Sav-A-Chic electrolytes and vitamin supplement and her evening mash with fruit.

I've attached a couple pictures you asked for but the short video of Cuddles trying to walk it wouldn't let me.
20190905_170333.jpg
20190905_170617.jpg
 

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Eggcessive

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I would watch to see if she holds the leg up some, or if it seems “numb.” An xray from a vet would be ideal if possible to rule out a broken bone in the leg or hip. Those can be expensive, and for some of us, not available. I still think that Mareks might be a possibility, because of her age, and her delicate use of the right leg. Hopefully, it is only a sprain. Here is some reading about Mareks disease below to read if you are not familiar with it. It is best diagnosed after death with a necropsy, but some have had testing done through a commercial lab while alive.
https://extension.umd.edu/sites/ext...Preventing Mareks Disease in Small Flocks.pdf

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/
 

Wi_Pida

Songster
Mar 21, 2019
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Gresham, Wisconsin
Thanks for the link on mareks. After reading the article, i don't believe it's that. The only symptom she has is the weak leg. I'm thinking it's a sprain. The reason I'm thinking this is by the way she pulls her leg away when touched and if it's pushed on a bit to hard she tries flying away. And as I said before she lets out a little cry when her joint "knee" is touched.

She probably sprained her leg because of a very young rooster that is just figuring out what his job is. I caught his being a bit rough with a couple of the other hens after the post. He likes cornering the hens. My older rooster seems to be taking care of that problem. LOL

But to be sure it's not Marek's, I'll be keeping her separated from the flock and watch for any other symptoms. In the meantime, I think I should keep treating her with the aspirin, electrolytes and vitamins.

Thank you both for your help. I'll keep you posted on her progress.
 

Eggcessive

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I really hope that she gets better. Resting her leg for a week or two would be best. If she could be contained in a large wire dog crate next to the other chickens, so that she doesn’t have to be reintegrated later, would be best. I would stop the electrolytes since they can cause diarrhea if used more than a few days, and crush 1/4-1/2 of a human vitamin B complex tablet into some of her food or a little egg daily. Let us know how she is getting along soon.
 

Wi_Pida

Songster
Mar 21, 2019
140
194
137
Gresham, Wisconsin
I really hope that she gets better. Resting her leg for a week or two would be best. If she could be contained in a large wire dog crate next to the other chickens, so that she doesn’t have to be reintegrated later, would be best. I would stop the electrolytes since they can cause diarrhea if used more than a few days, and crush 1/4-1/2 of a human vitamin B complex tablet into some of her food or a little egg daily. Let us know how she is getting along soon.
I'll definitely do that. The hen house I just built is a 8' x 11' and I put in a 4' x 4' x 3' brooding/quarantine box in it. I just finished it. The pic I attached shows what it looks like before I put in the roosting tree and last wall up. I still have to finish the run that goes to it. This is going to sound strange but did I do the brooding / quarantine coop right or should it have been out of the room?
20190828_195714.jpg
 

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