Hen with feet sticking out & can't walk. Please help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AshleyStoia, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. AshleyStoia

    AshleyStoia Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a little California gray hen, she is 11 months old. For the past 6-7 days, she started getting "stiff" she couldn't walk well, and was sitting with her wings spread out. I ended up bringing her in, because she just got so much worse. She can't walk at all now. She would just sit, and now her feet go towards the front of her. I have her in the house now in a box with a comfy blanket. I have to feed and give her water while holding her, because she struggles to try to get up, and I am afraid she will drown herself. I tried soaking her feet and legs in warm water too thinking that the warm water would relax her legs. The next day (probably day 3) she had a bad day, she was tired out. I tried working her legs, and would hold her up and make her take some steps to stretch the legs. It really tired her out. The past 2 days, she is very alert, eating and drinking fine, she does try to get up, but she can't. I am trying to see that as a good sign, because before she never tried. I am also giving her liquid vitamins in her water in case she is lacking something, I also have another hen who is about 4 months old, who was showing the same symptoms. As soon as I noticed, I made her do a lot of walking around, and she snapped out of it. She is now 100% healthy. We have a lot of snow here, and lots of cold, so they stay pretty content to their coop. They have a large coop, and there is a total of 4 hens, and a large run that is enclosed so no wind or snow can get it. I also have a heat lamp. They have food and water at all times. I feed them a mixture chicken scratch of corn, sunflower seed and wheat grass. They just don't prefer to run around this time of year, and winter is so long here. She was still laying eggs until about 2 days ago as well. I tried feeling on her bottom, and legs for any swelling or if anything felt hot, but everything feels normal. She is her normal cheery self, she just can't walk [​IMG] I honestly do not think it is marek's disease, but, one can only hope. I do see that a chickens eyes change when they have marek's disease to a grey color. her eyes are very normal.

    I have high hopes for my little hen, she is a perfect chicken, and my 5 year old daughters best friend. The hen even waited for my daughter to get off the school bus. I really hate to see this get any worse. We don't want to lose her, she is apart of the family.

    Does anyone have an idea of what this could be? I really would just like to hear that she can snap out of it, being that she is acting so great and cheery.
     
  2. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    I'm so very sorry to say it sounds like mareks disease. Can you post a picture of her to help confirm this? Mareks can manafiest in different ways and it effects different parts of the body.she can still have mareks although the eyes are not turning. For the eyes to turn that would be ocular mareks. Mareks can manifest as subtle as a limp or as vigorous as full blown paralysis..mareks is a highly contagious air borne disease. Just because she has mareks does NOT mean your other birds will become symptomatic. But it DOES mean the other birds are now likely carriers of the virus and can infect other birds with the virus. Mareks can live on the land for years and it's advised to vaccinate any birds brought in and keep the new birds from exposure for at the very least 14 days while the antibodies and immunity builds up in their body. Exposure means outside and adult birds.the vaccine is not 100% but that and breeding for restistance is all we have as of now. The only way to confirm mareks with 100% certainty would be through testing. However what you are describing is classic mareks symptoms. On this forum is a great thread called not a emergency mareks in my flock. On that thread many folks are dealing with mareks and are very educated about this virus and can help you move forward in a positive direction. They Can answer questions you may have. I highly suggest you go their for support. With mareks knowledge is power so read and study as much as possible. Basically what happens is the virus causes tumors which press on the nerves causing the paralysis. They're is not much you can do. Some have made little splint chairs to keep their birds more comfortable. You Can find more ideas on that thread i told you about. i really hope this helps and I'm very sorry but it does sound like mareks.i do hope I'm wrong but if I'm not please go to that thread.it can be very helpful for you. Good luck.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm not sure the eye turns grey with the neural form of Marek's. I thought is was only with the ocular form.

    It really sounds like Marek's to me. Your 4 month old with the same symptoms briefly could have had a transient paralysis of Marek's so it's surely in your flock. (actually it's so common, it's everywhere).

    4 months is a more common age but they can still be overcome up to a year or so, especially if stressed.
    Staying in the coop because of the weather could be enough.

    http://www.thecuckoopoultrystudofaustralia.com/mareks-disease.html

    Did I read that correctly? Their diet is made up of scratch grains, sunflower and wheat grass? No chicken feed?
     
  4. AshleyStoia

    AshleyStoia Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 12, 2013
    They get all kinds of stuff to eat, what I mentioned above, chicken feed, and lots of table scraps. They do prefer the scratch grains with sunflower and wheat grass out of anything though.

    Their coop is open through out the day to run, but they do not prefer to get out.

    As of right now, she isn't sitting with her feet sticking out front, she is laying on them normal.

    Here is a picture of the coop. I know it is large enough for them. I'm also posting a picture of my girl, and how she is sitting now.[​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. AshleyStoia

    AshleyStoia Out Of The Brooder

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    She is sitting normal now. Feet are not out in front anymore.

    Here she is: [​IMG]
     
  6. AshleyStoia

    AshleyStoia Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 12, 2013
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Well, I have to agree. It can't hurt.

    Your original post made it sound like they weren't getting any chicken feed, which has balanced nutrition of vitamins, minerals and protein for basic chicken nutrition. Offsetting that with a lot of treats can cause a vitamin/mineral deficiency. When Marek's is in the flock, nutritional stress may be sufficient to set it in motion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  8. AshleyStoia

    AshleyStoia Out Of The Brooder

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    I'll try that, I have my mom and husband out looking for the herbal supplement right now. If anything, at least it will help relieve pain for her. Thank you so much for all the help. I really appreciate it. I'll update and let you know how she is doing after I start the herbal supplement.
     
  9. BigECarter

    BigECarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How is she holding her feet? One thing that I noticed with my Marek's birds was a tendency to curl their feet.

    Hopefully it's a vitamin deficiency, which seems likely since she is getting better.

    One thing I do recommend is to start thinking about what to do if she doesn't make it. Would you want to get a necropsy done? If so, start finding out how to go about it now. Find out who does it in your state, how much it costs, and how to ship. In my case, the necropsy cost $50 + $25 in lab fees (some states are free, a recent poster said $250 in her state). Transporting her was only $8 as I was able to use the state courier service through the health department. It was a nightmare figuring it out though. Make sure that if you go that route that you refrigerate, not freeze, the hen.

    Hopefully it won't come to that!
    E
     
  10. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's a vitamin deficency, try giving her Vit D3 for about two weeks. I didn't know this, but a Vit D deficiency will cause muscle weakness and lameness in chickens. It is winter and if your hen prefers scratch to chicken feed she could be deficient.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014

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