Hen walks funny, seems weak?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AlletahG, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. AlletahG

    AlletahG Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello! I am concerned with one of my 5 hens. She's a 6 month old black sex link. For the past few days, she has been walking funny, almost like a limp. She doesn't run across the yard like crazy anymore when I come outside with treats, but will just walk in her new ungainly way. Today she didn't even finish the walk across the yard, but sat down in the grass. She looks normal, is eating well and laying an egg a day. I haven't seen any abnormal droppings. When I pick her up, it doesn't bother her any more than usual and if I examine her legs, they don't seem to cause her any pain. My other 4 hens are fine and not picking on her.

    She's now at the point where she walks around, but will stop and sit in the grass often. As she sits there, she pecks around for bugs, then will get up and move on if the rest of the flock moves away. I saw her jump down from the stone wall and seemed to take a lot out of her; she sat on the ground for a while before finally walking again.

    At night the hens are closed up in their coop, but during the day they free range around our large yard, plus the neighboring field. They share a feeder and waterer. All of them were vaccinated as chicks and we don't use any pesticides (nor do our neighbors). Should I separate her from the flock? What could be the problem?

    Thanks in advance for any advice or help! [​IMG]
     
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Sounds like she could have bumble foot. It’s caused by a cut or abrasion on a chicken’s foot which becomes infected. After it is infected, it will begin to swell. Kind of like a large splinter in someone’s foot. It then is covered by a bad bacteria that can be harmful to humans so watch what you do when treating a chicken with bumble foot. It’s possible to prevent bumble foot by keeping your flock safe from abrasion. Also keep your chickens’ roosts smooth and free from splinters. Another thing to do is frequently check your chickens’ coop and run for any nails, glass or other objects that might harm their feet.

    Look at her feet. Are there any places they look like they are swelling, have a splinter in lodged, etc. The key to treating this problem is finding it early. Then soak the foot with warm water and epsom salt to soften it. Next, squeeze the foot pad area and remove the splinter. (If there is white puss coming out, continue to squeeze as this is the infection.) Apply hydrogen peroxide to the wound and wrap it up with a bandage. Use chickweed and rosemary after the process as these are calming and pain reliving herbs.

    Good luck!
     
  3. MissSilkie

    MissSilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Look at her toes, and see if any of them are curved at an odd angle. She may have broken a toe, and it will heal eventually, but still keep it's odd angle, and may appear "lumpy". I've had a barred rock who broke 3 toes, and walked funny, and also did stop to rest often. They did heal, and after that she was fine other than still walking/running funny.
     
  4. AlletahG

    AlletahG Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I closely examined the hen's feet again and she shows no signs of any injury or bumblefoot. Her toes all look normal and straight and when I touch her feet and legs, she doesn't seem to be in pain.
     
  5. MissSilkie

    MissSilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Here is some stuff I found.
    Scald

    ~Scald is when the skin on the legs, and particularly the feet of your chickens, turns a very red raw colour and becomes painful for the chicken. This is a condition brought about purely through housing problems – wet bedding and flooring results in the ammonia in the droppings literally burning through the skin. If you have ever burnt your hand on the oven, scale this up to your whole foot and imagine walking on it – scald is excruciatingly painful and requires treatment! However, scald is also easily prevented by cleaning out the housing regularly, moving runs around, and providing plenty of space. Good ventilation is also essential because ammonia also gives off vapours that are toxic to the lungs, so can cause breathing difficulties.~


    Osteomyelitis

    ~The word ‘osteo’ means ‘bone’, and ‘itis’ means inflammation, so osteomyelitis is an inflammation of the bone. The most common place for this to occur is on the keel because there is only a very thin layer of skin covering this bone. Therefore, if your chicken is weak due to another disease process or has difficulty raising itself off the ground (which can be difficult to spot when brooding), the keel is always in contact with the floor. This causes abrasion to the overlying skin until sores develop. Once this happens, infection enters the wound and can very quickly take up residence in the damaged bone. Sometimes the skin can heal again over the keel, but the infection has already been trapped inside and might not become apparent for several days to weeks later. As with any bacterial infection that takes hold, your chicken will develop a fever, leading her to become lethargic, anorexic and not want to drink. She might have visible sores or scars over her keel area, or on her feet if the infection is secondary to scald. Although osteomyelitis is usually secondary to damage to another part of the body, it can also be contracted without any external damage. Bone infections are incredibly painful and can also be challenging to treat, so the earlier this is caught, the better the prognosis. Once again, this highlights the need to check your chickens on a regular basis to prevent infections being able to access the bones.~


    Here's the whole article:
    http://darwinvets.com/poultry/common-chicken-problems-diseases
     
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  6. MissSilkie

    MissSilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Can you post some pictures of her, and close ups of the bottoms of her feet and toes, toes, and full feet (both feet), and legs, that may help people to identify what it might be.
    Ty!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  7. AlletahG

    AlletahG Out Of The Brooder

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    I should be able to post photos tomorrow when I'll have someone here to help hold her. I'll even see if I can post a video on YouTube and link it here to show how she walks. Thanks for the suggestion!
     
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  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Examine her toes for curling into a claw on either foot, and check her leg joints for swelling, especially the hocks. Does she sit on her hocks (elbows?) When you say she was vaccinated, was it for Mareks? Until you figure out a cause, I would start her on poultry vitamins including riboflavin in the water in case of a vitamin deficiency. A sprain could also be a problem. Here is a link on vitamin deficiencies: http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou..._poultry/vitamin_deficiencies_in_poultry.html
     
  9. MissSilkie

    MissSilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    That would be great, TY!
     
  10. AlletahG

    AlletahG Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, they were vaccinated for Marek's. I will pick up some vitamins tomorrow to add to their water. I can't see any signs of swelling; it's really strange!

    Here's a video of how the hen is walking:

    And, here are some pictures of her feet and legs. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on what could be wrong with her. Thanks!!

    [​IMG]

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