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Hen walking backwards after eating

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Manningjw, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Manningjw

    Manningjw Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    I noticed my hen has started to walk backwards particularly after eating. She walks, runs and flies great and is still just as coordinated as far as I can tell other than this odd behavior after/while eating. My first thought was some sort of crop issue because it starts after she eats but after reading another post on a different forum they suggested this behavior could be due to swelling such as after trauma. About 1.5 months ago I noticed a fair sized laceration on her scalp which I sutured closed and placed antibiotic ointment on and it has since healed well - I cannot find the thread however to remove the sutures. Could this me the underlying cause? I only have 2 hens who are exposed to wild birds to an extent while free ranging. The effected hen is currently broody sitting on 6 fertile eggs and is eating and drinking when she takes her daily short break from brooding.

    My hen's behavior looks very much like this:

    except that she doesn't go as far back or as fast when walking backwards, she also tucks her head to the left typically.

    Mostly I want to know if a viral cause is unlikely such as that of Marek's disease or Newcastle as I have new chicks i plan to be introducing to the flock.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, I hesitate to guess what it is, but genetic issues often cause backwards walking. Usually with a spasm of the head or neck as well. Generally this can continue on for generations with no other effects noted but if it were my bird I would be pretty disinclined to breed it unless I knew it was a trauma injury.
     
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is she molting,apparently this sometimes accompanies a molt. Try giving her extra protein. Is she near the bottom of the pecking order,could also be some display of submission.

    Did this just start with her being broody,if so it probably has something to do with her broodiness.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  4. Manningjw

    Manningjw Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Started with her being broody, never did it before. With being broody she has also pulled the feathers from her stomach because of being broody so she is basically in a forced molt.
     
  5. Manningjw

    Manningjw Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Thanks for your input!

    The laceration to her scalp happened several weeks before these symptoms, I only noticed the symptoms while she is broody. When she isn't broody she is a great egg layer and hands down the friendliest chicken we have ever had, I hope the behavior stops because I have every intention to breed her because of the great traits she has otherwise.
     
  6. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Increase her protein.
     
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    There could be some residual damage. I've had many broody hens, hundreds, and not one has exhibited a spasm due to broodyness, moulting, or anything except Marek's, lol.

    Good animals are always worth breeding, so I hope you get the offspring you hope for from her.
    Quote: They don't pull the feathers out, that's a hormonal function of brooding hormones. The feathers in those tracts simply fall out. They may fall out at the slightest touch while she's preening, as they're very loose and probably tickle or itch at that time, and more instinctive hens will preen them loose on the nest while some just walk around dumping them everywhere, but they don't pull them out. That's a fallacy children are taught from a young age, all this stuff about "doves pluck the feathers from their breasts" etc, lol.

    Even hens who never go broody will lose those feathers during breeding season, too. It's just hormones. I've seen a few hens lose the feathers so rapidly they were walking about with feathers flying off them in the slightest breeze. If you stroke a friendly hen's breast when she's in that hormonal state, feathers just come loose and fall.

    Best wishes.
     

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