Lame chick now developing other problems--treat or cull? :(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by FowlWthrFriend, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. FowlWthrFriend

    FowlWthrFriend In the Brooder

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    Phoenix
    First of all, thank you to all who post the great info I've found on this site. We're new to chickens but have loved all 12 days of it so far! We've got an Ameraucana, Australorp, Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Silver-laced Wyandotte, Black Sex Link (all growing faster than weeds) and a Barred Plymouth Rock chick who is not doing so well. On her third day late in the evening we noticed a slight limp on her left leg, but thought she had just suffered some minor injury as all the birds had been flapping around a bit earlier. The next day it was a little worse but she was still getting around though she tended to stay in one place.

    By the fifth day it was obviously not getting better and she sat most of the time, only getting up to peck a bit of feed or grab a drink or two of water. She seemed to make a lot of high-pitched "cheep-cheep-cheep" noises. Upon examination her left hock joint seemed slightly swollen (somewhat noticeable in pic below). I scoured this site for similar situations and found great information, though no other descriptions fit our problems exactly. No bumble foot, it didn't seem she had any sort of infection or disease, so we started her on some PolyViSol vitamins to see if that would help. About that time I noticed a slightly bare patch on her wing, but thought it just somewhere her feathers hadn't started growing in yet. I have not witnessed any pecking (and seen no signs) and she didn't move much anyway so we just left her in the brooder with her flockmates.

    So today is the third day of vitamin treatment with no visible improvement. If anything, she does get up a bit more but seems even more unstable when she walks. Now some new things showing up: that bald patch on her right wing was actually a joint which is now noticeably swollen (see pics below). Also, her right knee seems to protrude higher than the other when she sits, though that could be attributed to all her weight being shifted to her right leg when walking/hopping around. She's not growing well, some of her flockmates are now twice her size!

    Here's the questions list:

    1) What type of bird , age and weight. Barred Plymouth Rock chick, 12 days old,
    2) What is the behavior, exactly. On day 3 noticed a slight limp, day 4 it was more pronounced with increased sleeping, not active like other chicks.
    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? 9 days
    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? No, none!
    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. Nope
    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. She could have somehow hurt herself, or it's just a genetic abnormality.
    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. Purina Medicated Chick feed, tap water; will hobble to feed and drink.
    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. All seems pretty normal to me.
    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? ~4 drops of PolyViSol vitamins per day for the last 3 days.
    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? Home treatment only.
    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use. All 7 chicks currently reside in a clear 106 qt. storage tote in our family room. They were on layers of paper towels until day 10 and now are on ~2" of pine shavings.

    Just super worried now that this isn't just a sprain that is taking it's time healing. I wonder if it's a genetic defect? It could be gout, but I only see swelling in those specific joints. In any case, it's just weird and really heartbreaking. If she were in obvious pain I would definitely put her out of her misery, but I'd like to give her a fighting chance and would be fine having a bird with disability. How does one determine chicken pain?

    Many thanks in advance for help and advice.

    (images were here but removed due to stupid spammers :p) I'll see if there's any other way to get them to you...
     
  2. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    First I want to say [​IMG] and sorry it isn't under better circumstances. I don't really know what is wrong but if you email me the pics I would be willing to post them on this thread for you. One thing I am wondering, could it be a slipped tendon? If you search it, you should find good explainations for what it is and how to treat it. Keeping [​IMG] for your chick.
     
  3. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Songster

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    I would cull. I know how hard it is to put down a chick, especially one of your very first ones.

    I recently had a Serama with a similar leg issue, and despite it growing and being active, I put it down, as it was only using one leg, and not very well. As large fowl birds grow the leg issues will only become more pronounced, and the difficulty to the bird will be greater. If you are willing to nurse it for years to come, and potentially have a bird that never walks, you can try to keep it alive.

    As much as I love my birds for their pet qualities, I do eat chicken, and don't have a problem with a chicken being put down if it's quality of life is in question. I know this is more easily said than done.

    I think we have all been faced with this at one point or another, and you have just come to it early in your chicken career. I would recommend a quick and efficient culling, and then get another couple chicks. Nearly all feed stores this time of year will have barred rock chicks. In a couple of weeks, they will be big enough to run with the rest of your flock.

    Welcome to the world of chickens, and compliments on being an attentive chicken parent. There is no shame in putting down a lame bird.
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    this sounds like a birth defect.. sorry to say. [​IMG] could have been something that happened during incubation. I have no solution for you, and only hope the vitamins will work. I am sorry this is happening and will be thinking of you through out the day. [​IMG]
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Could be slipped tendon. Often it's a nutritional issue in the parent stock or could be genetic. One hen I have was throwing a large percentage of chicks with bad hocks plus some dwarfs as well--those poor little things have crooked toes and bad hock joints. From someone who has tried numerous times to fix a slipped tendon, I know that it rarely works. The joint is just either too weak or malformed.
     
  6. FowlWthrFriend

    FowlWthrFriend In the Brooder

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    Phoenix
    dsqard: Thanks for the welcome! It's just official now, I've been lurking for a good 3 weeks. [​IMG] I've included the links for the pics if you still want to put them up, although the symptoms are much more obvious when you're feeling them. I did research and check for the slipped tendon and as far as I can tell, it looks like it is where it's supposed to be. I feel I have exhausted all possible explanations. (BTW I have a sheltie too! I wonder how she'll do with a flock of chickens out in her yard [​IMG] )

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/82597_pic_6243.jpg
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/82597_pic_6242.jpg


    PhiladelphiaPhlock: Sadly, I think with these new disheartening developments, that culling is really the only option left. I suppose I just needed some input to know that's the right decision. We went into this venture with the understanding that once their laying days were over they'd end up on our table and start new chicks, but I was hoping to give them a full pampered life before then and not have to end it so soon out of pity.

    Well, tonight may be the time to explain to the kids the circle of life (5yr son, 3.5yr daughter, 2yr twin sons--not gonna be fun) and take care of her after bedtime. Just a method to decide on now. [​IMG]

    Thanks everyone for the info & support! I'll be around for a while I'm sure. [​IMG]

    edit: Whaddya know, the links showed up. Thought the pics were better than that, but Yay!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  7. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    Quote:I would watch the sheltie closely with the chickens. I lost one of my first pullets to one of my shelties and my cocker spaniel mutt. It wasn't the dog's fault, silly chicken went between the fence slats into the back yard where I keep the dogs. Unfortunately I wasn't home at the time and the dogs got her. I have seen my shelites "play" with a young wild bird in my backyard and not kill it but I don't know which of the two dogs killed my pullet or if it was a combination of both. Just be careful.
     
  8. FowlWthrFriend

    FowlWthrFriend In the Brooder

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    Phoenix
    Hmm... I had hoped they'd share the yard together, as my sheltie shows a strong herding instinct and is fairly quick to obey verbal commands. Guess we'll have to see and separate them if she won't listen. Thanks for the heads up!

    [​IMG] I'm on the fence again! Just watched the lame one trying to scratch up bedding with the other chicks--at time she seems pretty normal except for the hopping. Then I'll watch her standing and her legs are slightly trembling. I think I'll give her just a few more days at the vitamins and see if she improves or continues downhill. By then I'll be fairly certain about her future. Thanks again for all the help!
     
  9. CeeGee

    CeeGee Hatching

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    I have the exact same problem with my 10 day old black sexlink. Can you update me on what you did and the outcome??
     
  10. RussianChickens

    RussianChickens Songster

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